How to Start Saving Money by Bartering
It's Easy to Begin Bartering
As many of us worry about tightening our belts even more in 2012 - another uncertain year economically - some of us are turning to alternate ways to save money and increase the value of our spending.
Some of us are beginning to grow our own food, make our own health products, dine at home, and trade rather than buy services.
Trading services is more commonly known as bartering. Everyone has a skill they can offer, so bartering is something anyone can do. People who enjoy bartering love best that it is a win-win situation for both parties, as well as easy on the wallet.
Tips to Start Bartering
Tip #1 - What are your Skills?
Start by thinking about the skills you use on the job every day. Are you a whiz at book keeping? There is probably a small business owner in your community who can use your help. Are you the staff newsletter writer? Without a doubt there are online business owners in your city (or anywhere in the world on the worldwide web) who hate to write copy. Do you have talent zapping computer viruses? Congratulations - your skills are evergreen!
Tip #2 - What Services Can You Offer Right Now?
Often the thing that holds us back from beginning to barter is the fear we truly have nothing to offer. We think we need more training, more expertise, more time to discover how we can add value to someone else's life. But there are many services anyone can offer that doesn’t require a college diploma.
Any responsible adult can become a house or pet sitter, dog walker, personal shopper, or meals-on-wheels service. If you have space in your home, you can offer storage in your garage or home, or offer a room or bed to a guest. If you know how to sew, make birdhouses, or draw well, you could teach; if you always did well in math, you could tutor a student in your home a few times a week.
Tip #3 - How to Find People to Barter With
Now get the word out! Talk to your family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors. Approach local business to see if they are interested in exchanging services. Social media is ideal for finding a network of people interested in sharing their skills rather than spend money.
Try posting an ad on Craigslist or backpage.com. Check out bartering networks online that help local, national, and international businesses trade services with each other.
Bartering is good for you and your community
Bartering in your community
Bartering is unique in contemporary society as it depends on good will and personal effort. Anyone can spend their money somewhere and walk away, but bartering requires thoughtfulness and cooperation.
Bartering invites you to live a life of connections rather than a life of "self-sufficiency", in which paying strangers to solve problems often leave us with a feeling of superficiality and anonymity.
Knowing that we can help someone else contributes to our sense of self-worth and belonging in our communities. Start bartering and see how it affects you - your sense of who you are, what you can do, and the people you help.
Perhaps with bartering, healthier, wealthier, and more caring communities are possible. I'd love to hear your bartering stories. Please leave a comment if you'd like to share!
I Can Make Life: Poems About Infertility and Miscarriage, Pregnancy and Birth
About Nicole Breit
Nicole Breit is a published author and poet. She is the former Food & Health editor for Thrifty and Green magazine and is the owner of Sparrow Writing + Editorial Services, based in Vancouver, BC. Her debut poetry collection, , was a finalist for the 2012 Mary Ballard Poetry Prize. Follow her writing journey on her blog, I Can Make LifeWriting for my Life, or on twitter @NicoleBreit.
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