Earning money, then spending it, isn't the only way we can obtain the items and services we need in our every day lives. Bartering is trading items of similar value without exchanging money. It's a good way to obtain what you need without having to pay cash. The essential thing when you start bartering is to identify what you have to barter, and be realistic about it - it has to be something that has value to others, not just to you. Each of the two people with something to barter, must agree that what they have to offer is similar in value and the exchange takes place. Then the person who receives each item owns it. I love bartering, I use my blog to barter and because I've been doing a lot of it lately, two readers asked me to write about it.
Jam for eggs.
I guess there are two difficult parts to bartering - identifying what you have to barter with, and finding someone who wants what you have and can offer something you want. It doesn't have to be items, such as bartering a dozen eggs from your backyard for a jar full of honey from the man down the road. You can barter services too. If you're a hairdresser, you could cut someone's hair in exchange for something they have - it might be a similar service like mowing the lawn or it could be an item like a couple of knitted dishcloths or some home made soap. You might barter your cleaning services for sewing, or grow open pollinated seeds and barter the seedlings for sourdough starter, or a batch of homemade laundry liquid for a stack of chopped fire wood. It's really open to your imagination and matching what you have to someone close by. If you're downsizing or decluttering, I encourage you to look carefully at what you're getting rid of because it may have some value for someone else and therefore a useful barter item. If you do this, bartering can be a way of recycling rather than adding to land fill.
There is a barter shop at the Down to Earth Forum where you can list items or services you wish to barter. If you're a member with 20 posts, you can use that service absolutely free of cost. It's a good way of finding people with whom to barter because the people at the forum have similar interests and values. The trick there is finding someone close to where you live, or have items that can be posted at a low cost. There is also a giveaways sub-forum which lists items people no longer need and want to give away. I've started a thread on bartering at the forum so if you have any questions or concerns, log in to the forum and we can discuss it.
You may find it difficult to start bartering but it's one of those things that once started, confidence builds, relationships develop and often the bartering continues for a long time. It could be a simple exchange of backyard produce or something more complex like an exchange of services. The deals could be anything, all they take are a little imagination, the confidence to ask and then an honest transaction.
Home made bread for changing the mower blades.
The barter economy