Bartering is not a new concept – it’s been around for centuries. In the past, it was common to find neighbors bartering, to see ads in the paper offering skills in exchange for goods, or vice versa, but today, people are more wary of this beneficial way of living.
Bartering is an excellent means of obtaining the goods and services you need without exchanging money, and is also a great way to meet the needs of your family in a time where money is tight, times are lean and people are frugal. Exchanging goods and services also helps you and your family develop a sense of community and togetherness as you barter with your neighbors.
What? You don’t think you have any barter-able skills? Sure you do – let’s brainstorm!
Real-Life Examples of Bartering
I know someone who needed carpentry work, but who couldn’t afford to hire anyone. She worked out a deal with the grandfather of a child that she babysits – Grandpa is a carpenter, who agreed to complete her project in exchange for a reduced babysitting rate!
I know someone else who is computer savvy – – she exchanges a few hours of website design/work in exchange for products and services with local businesses.
I raise chickens, so I have eggs. My neighbor raises pigs, so he has sausage. We exchange our goods, and we’re all happy at breakfast time!
How can this work for you? What if you have a day of errands coming up but you need a sitter. Maybe you have a friend who needs a few things from town, but with gas prices as they are, she’s holding off. Why not offer to run her errands if she’ll keep your children? You get the grocery store without kids (kind of like a vacation, right?!?) and your kids get a play date – not only that, but your friend saves on gas and gets to stay home. Thinking outside the box is the key to successful bartering!
Barter With Your Skills And Hobbies
The simple skills (and hobbies) you have can be turned into ways of providing for your family. So many old skills have been lost. More people are searching for more personal, handmade items. Others desperately need projects or repairs completed but can’t afford them. Offering a bartering exchange will allow you to help out a neighbor who might normally refuse your offer because of pride and also provide you with goods that you may need or want. Here’s a few more ideas to get you seriously considering bartering:
- Barter hand-made goods, such as hand-sewn, knitted, crocheted, embroidered, scrapbooked, painted projects.
- Barter auto maintenance services, such as an oil change, car cleaning, tire rotation and others.
- Barter carpentry services, such as building or repair of homes, painting, repairs, plumbing/electrical work (keep in mind liability issues), and seasonal maintenance.
- Barter in-home care for kids or elderly.
- Barter computer services, such as equipment setup, software updates, and troubleshooting.
- Barter your baked goods, such as cakes, cookies, and pies.
- Barter your food by exchanging hunting or fishing bounty, harvested fruit and vegetables and preserved food.
- Barter housework skills, such as kitchen and bathroom cleaning.
- Barter electrical skills such as small appliance repair.
- Barter special knowledge by offering lessons and tutoring in music and other skill areas.
- Barter a strong back and a big truck by offering snow plowing, wood cutting, or moving and hauling services.
- Barter office skills by offering filing, typing and data entry work.
- Barter your time and love of pets by offering pet sitting and care.
- Barter your camera skills by providing photography for special events.
- Barter your gardening skills with lawn care, pruning, tilling, weeding, and harvesting.
- Barter your time by house sitting for absent friends and neighbors.
The Art of Bartering
My husband and I have learned the art of bartering in the past 4 years when money has been terribly tight. We’ve bartered lawn services, firewood, eggs, tractor work, babysitting and even haircuts! A lot of people frown on bartering because it seems cheap, and others think that they have no barter-able stills – in fact, we are all good at something. Take a step back and look at the things you are good at and then keep your eyes open.
Today I want to challenge you to think of 3 goods or services that you could offer in a bartering relationship. List them in the comments below. Then start keeping an eye open for opportunities around you!
What skills could you put to use through bartering that will benefit your family?