Bartering is common in other parts of the world.
In today’s hustle and bustle society, with big box stores on every corner, when we need (or want) something, our first instinct is usually to run into the store and buy it (hopefully, with cash).
But how much money do we waste by doing that? In my quest to be frugal, I like to think outside the box. In days gone by, before there was any national currency, it was common to barter for things a person needed. A farmer might offer some of his eventual corn crop to someone in exchange for help with the planting or harvesting.
I like the idea of bartering. The sharing of resources. You have something I need, and I have something you need, so lets make a trade.
In the past my husband and I have bartered for several things. My most frequent barter is the exchange of babysitting services. But we’ve also made some unconventional barters. My husband has traded guitar lessons for car repairs. A woman I knew from church bartered her cleaning services for private school tuition. The possibilities are endless.
Last night on Twitter I asked if anyone bartered and wanted to share their stories. I only got a few responses (which makes me think bartering isn’t that common nowadays), but they were good.
Mercedes from Common Sense with Money pointed me to a great example of bartering. This woman happened to find a great barter on Freecycle, but an even better place to look for barters is Craigslist.org. I don’t know about the Craigslists in your areas, but I know my local Craigslist has a whole section devoted to bartering.
Beth from Green Stew says she barters all the time. She does the shopping for her I.T. guy, and he takes care of her computers for her. Now that’s smart thinking!
I think that as finances get tighter, bartering will begin to catch on in the United States. In fact, some people have seen the money in bartering and have started bartering businesses. Just be careful when you deal with bartering businesses, though. I don’t know the ins and outs, but there are tax implications, and you don’t want to be caught unaware. Thank you to Jessica from Jessica Knows for bringing that to my attention.
On an informal basis, though, bartering can be a great way to get the services you need without spending any money. If you have something to offer, let people know about it. You never know what you might get in exchange!
Have you ever bartered? What did you trade? Did it work out well for you?
Photo by Kai Hendry.
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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