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 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

I Can Make Life addresses the impact of fertility treatments, pregnancy, miscarriage and birth as it re-traces the poet's long journey to her son -- and finally, to peace.
I Can Make Life addresses the impact of fertility treatments, pregnancy, miscarriage and birth as it re-traces the poet's long journey to her son -- and finally, to peace. | Source

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, I Can Make Life, was a finalist for the 2012 Mary Ballard Poetry Prize. Follow her writing journey on her blog, Writing for my Life, or on twitter @NicoleBreit.

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Comments 6 comments

Heather Says profile image

Heather Says 4 years ago from Buckeye, Arizona

Love it. I'm reminded of the Ingall's in Little House bringing eggs to Mrs. Olsen. Bartering should make a comeback.

RichardPac profile image

RichardPac 4 years ago from Sunny Florida!

Bartering works well if you have a specialized skill set, but for general labor sometimes it can be difficult. Unfortunately there is no way to barter with your mortgage company. Good hub though, I have been wanting to pal t my own garden for some time, and might just plant a few more rows for trading!

Thundermama profile image

Thundermama 4 years ago from Canada

Loved this hub. Bartering and swapping are something I have recently embraced and I am really enjoying. Just last week I helped my eldest daughter barter babysitting services for classical sininging lessons.

Nicole Breit profile image

Nicole Breit 4 years ago from The Pacific Northwest Author

Thanks for your comments! Thundermama, bartering babysitting for singing lessons is brilliant - I love it.


Silverlily555 4 years ago

A few months ago as a vendor at a flea market, I attempted to trade merchandise with other vendors. Everyone said they did not need more stuff. They wanted cash. But, a few weeks ago I was able to trade a lovely piece of jewelery for a beautiful doll, also at a flea market. So go figure?

Nicole Breit profile image

Nicole Breit 4 years ago from The Pacific Northwest Author

Interesting, Silverlily555 - maybe the resistance to trade reflects the economic times (when people do need cash to get by). Glad you were able to make a trade at another market. That's awesome!

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