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Is Bartering Back...Has It Ever Left

Updated on December 13, 2011

What is Bartering

With the economy being what it is today, there's an old concept that has made a resurgence. It's called bartering. Is bartering really back? Did it ever leave? First let's define bartering; it is the exchange of goods or services without the exchange of money. I can imagine some young people today would call that stealing. Well, no it's not. You see, today with the advent of the credit card, getting what you want without ever paying for it, is almost unheard of, except to steal it, although some never pay for it even when they charge it, but that's a horse of a different color.

From the research, It's hard to tell when bartering began. Some say it began somewhere around 2000 B.C., in China. Others say it has been around since the beginning of time, I'm inclined to believe the latter. Maybe it wasn't called bartering, but the concept was there. However, somewhere along the line it took a backseat, with the advent of money, then along came credit, it was pushed even further back, then came the credit card, oh, who needs to barter. Well, nowadays money is in short supply, credit is hard to come by, and don't even mention credit cards, they've become the bane of most of our existence. But with bartering we have a chance to redeem ourselves.

Would Bartering Work

With the economy being what it is today, bartering has made a resurgence. Just take a look around the Internet, you'll see bartering sites popping up all over the place. Even with that, I don't think it it gets enough attention. I think it should begin within the family, extend to the neighborhood and so on. Of course if bartering were to come back full force, it would totally wreck the economy, so I'm not advocating all out bartering. However, I'm sure you would agree most of us have too much of a lot of things. For instance I have entirely too many clothes. When I had my home I had too many Televisions, actually I had too much of a lot of things, I found this out when I moved.

What if I had the foresight to barter away some of those things, I would have been better off. Well, as they say, hindsight is 20/20. So, I'm learning, because of my present circumstances.

The way bartering works is, say you need a babysitter, but no money to pay for one, well your potential baby sitter could need to do some shopping, but she doesn't have transportation, but you do. Wouldn't you agree that could be a mutual exchange. In this instance bartering works.

Barter What

Let's examine this bartering thing a little closer. Look around your home, what do you see that you don't really need, or could do without. Before we go any further, this is for those of us who, don't mind used items. I'm sure there are some who wouldn't be caught dead using something that someone else has used, at least "not yet," (I'm just saying). Back down to earth. So, you've found that, or those items, you can do without, now what do you do. As I said before, begin within the family, and work your way out from there, friends, neighbors, workmates, and so on.

Let's start with that old car, that may only need a little tender loving care, but you don't want to give it, and would like to move it off your property. Say, could you use another TV? I think that would be a suitable exchange. Make a few calls, personally I'd buy you a TV for that car. But remember this is bartering, "exchange goods, or services without the exchange of money." Still some would not feel money is exchanged even if they had to buy a Television. So go for it.

Here's another idea; you need your home cleaned, you don't have time, or just don't like housekeeping. Again make a few calls, see what a friends, or family member would exchange for a day of housecleaning. You just might find someone like me, who loves to clean, and would take anything useful for a day to indulge themselves, and maybe has been itching to get at your house anyway.

Do you need a night out on the town? Why not form a consortium, (a consortium is an association of two or more individuals with the objective of participating in a common activity or pooling their resources for achieving a common goal), of sorts, with the express purpose of giving each family a night on the town, or some other mutually agreed upon activity. Why not make a schedule, to avoid confusion.

Do you want a new wardrobe, but "your money is funny and your change is strange?" Why not do what a group of ladies in my area did, they put together a little clothing exchange. They made a party of it. Everyone who wanted to participate brought their really "nice" clothes they no longer wanted together, and simply exchanged for someone else discarded "nice" clothes. This is not the opportunity to get rid of those worn out, or outdated items, that neither you nor anyone else wants. Again this would not work for everyone. For each person there would obviously have to be someone of like size. For instance if you're a size 2 and there's no other size 2 in your area, then this would be a waste of time for you, or any size larger or smaller for that matter. Why not look into this great idea of bartering.

Where To Barter

We've already mentioned bartering within our familiar surroundings, family, friends neighbors, workmates, etc. There are more organized forms, and places of bartering. Here are a few:

  1. Craigslist, has a section for bartering, however upon closer examination, there are also items listed for money, but since you are bartering, you can skip those.
  2. The Internet it literally littered with ads for bartering, however during my Internet search, what I found were sites that lead to other sites, some of which were membership based. Since online bartering is in its infancy, the field might not be ripe for harvesting. However, you can do your own careful search.
  3. Bartering locally might be a better way to go. Most cities have now created bartering centers. I would assume calling your local Chamber of Commerce, would be your first stop. Then there's the Internet for your local area, for instance I looked up Bartering in Atlanta, Ga, and here's what I found, among others, u-exchange, barter Atlanta. Then I tried bartering in Washing, D.C., and I found this, u-exchange Washington D.C. It appears there's a common thread here, this bears looking into. So do your own research.

I'm sure there are other avenues to be explored, where upon you might find good bartering places. If so please share them with us here by way of your comments.

The New Age Of Bartering

Being that bartering has made somewhat of a comeback, there is also a new, and up to date, concept of the idea. This is where a bartering fee is involved, however, the fee seems to be small enough to entertain the idea still. Take a look at the video, and you'll see what I mean.


Whether you like the old idea of bartering, or the new, it is, nevertheless, an idea whose time has come. So, let's all jump on the bandwagon, and see where it takes us.


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    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      5 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks Thundermama for the validation of my hub, and again thanks for stopping.

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Another stellar hub. I am huge fan of bartering and live in a small Canadian village where people are quite open to bartering. I barter babysitting for my daughter's singing lessons and we have been able to drop down to one vehicle because I have a barter agreement that allows me the use of a 2nd vehicle when I need it. Wonderfully written, love the vocabulary. Fantastic hub!

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      6 years ago from Southern California

      Here you are again alifeofdesign, thank you so much for taking time to read my hubs and most of all leaving those wonderful comments. I look forward to returning the favor.

      As for the bartering, I actually am doing something similar to what you're doing, with my neighbor. I watch her cat and pick up her mail when she's away. She, in turn shops for me when she's doing her shopping, owning to the fact that I don't have a car at this time. So for me bartering comes in so handy at this point.

      I'll see you soon!

    • alifeofdesign profile image

      Graham Gifford 

      6 years ago from New Hamphire

      I not only love the idea of bartering, I love to barter. You are correct, fastfreta, it is making a strong comeback because of these terrible economy. I also think many more people are beginning to appreciate having less and enjoying what they do have more. I find that change necessary and welcoming. Bartering is also quite smart. I have a friend that is a very good seamstress. She also has a sweet tooth and I can bake a tasty treat or two. Our partnership is mutually gratifying.

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      6 years ago from Southern California

      You know mylindaelliott, you're right, it has come and gone several times, according to what I've read. This is one of those times it needs to stay around for awhile.

      Thank you so much for stopping.

    • mylindaelliott profile image


      6 years ago from Louisiana

      Bartering is such a good tactic to use during these economic times. It seems to move in and out of vogue over the years.

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      6 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks 3cardmonte, I'm in the same boat, that's one of the reason's I wrote the hub.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Love the hub! Being shy of pennies on a regular basis makes bartering a nessecity in this day and age! Tres useful! :D

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      6 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for the info Danny.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Bartering without cash is great, but there are websites out there like BarterQuest and U-Exchange that make users pay to join and post. I prefer trading without spending cash so I use because its free and a lot easier to use than any other bartering website I have found.

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      6 years ago from Southern California

      alexadry, the harder times become the more people are beginning to think like you. I don't think this would have a lot of effect on the economy, unfortunately, due to the fact that there are not a lot of people growing their own food anymore. Thanks so much for stopping and leaving that very encouraging bartering tip.

      peoplepower, what a great testimony to the idea of bartering. I wish more people would think like you, although I think maybe more are beginning to. Thanks for sharing this bartering success storey.

    • peoplepower73 profile image

      Mike Russo 

      6 years ago from Placentia California

      Great hub. I had about 1,000 dollars of work done on my car and I'm a woodcarver. My mechanic saw a replica of a formula 1 car that I carved and he said: "You give me the woodcarving and we will call it even." So I did and he keeps the car in his office at the garage he owns. I also do wooden name puzzles for children. I got a 39 dollar oil change and he said make a puzzle for my three year old daughter and we will call it even, so I did. Voting Up, Useful and sharing.

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      6 years ago from Southern California

      phdast7, I am also a fan of Goodwill, and Yard sales, and the like.

      handymanbill, I am learning how to barter better as time goes on.

      Thank you both for stopping, and taking the time to leave a comment.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      6 years ago from USA

      I was thinking about this a few weeks ago. What if all my neighbors would bring their veggies and exchange them for other goods? It seems like some of us have too many zucchini, while others have too many eggs. I know it may wreck the economy, but it would also promote local farming and teach us how to be self-sufficient should a major crisis ever erupt.

    • handymanbill profile image


      6 years ago from western pennsylvania

      Great hub and interesting me being a Handyman i barter for thing all the time my Car Mechanic and others. So I love to barter it is a great way to do things sometimes. Voted up and shared

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Great Hub! Bartering is making a comeback and that is a tremendous blessing and opportunity for so many of us. I also love the fact that bartering can foster good feelings and connections within both families and local communities.

      My other favorite avenues are Goodwill and Yard sales. If we are willing to buy used, then oil the table top, scrub off the scuff marks, repaint the cabinet, wash the curtains, etc., we can purchase all sorts of items for 10-30% of their original purchase price. What's not to love! :)

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      6 years ago from Southern California

      I agree loveofnight, it probably never left. I, too, plan to do a little bartering soon. Thanks so much for stopping, see you soon.

    • loveofnight profile image


      7 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      Some good information here.I truly don't believe that bartering ever left, it was just on the down-low.You have me thinking now about some things that I need to get rid of and I know just where to make the trade.....thx 4 share

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      7 years ago from Southern California

      You're so right Brett, I'm looking into bartering, because as you said it's a great way to save. Thanks Brett for sharing. I'll be over to your hubs again soon.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 

      7 years ago from Asia

      Trading and bartering is a great way to save money. In many parts of Asia, it is standard to barter .... even in major stores. I actually enjoy it, as the person can get a sale, you get a discount and everyone is happy.

      Voted up, awesome and SOCIALLY SHARED.

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      7 years ago from Southern California

      You sound like a man after my own heart, I do the same. Of course I don't really barter in the traditional way, but I intend to start. Thanks for stopping, please come back.

    • kevin.howell profile image


      7 years ago from Maysville KY

      Our economy started with the cottage industry concept. I being from the country have never lost sight of this. I love to trade. I also will try to get a cheaper price at most stores I go to. When I buy a tool at Lowes I can usually get the price down some. Thanks for Sharing! Voted up and shared.

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      7 years ago from Southern California

      Well barter411, I see your point, but the system is so broken, I don't see the possibility of the bartering system being able to fix it. There would always be those unscrupulous folks corrupting the system. But your point is well made, and in a perfect world it would, no doubt, work.

      Thanks for the comment it really added another angle to the article.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I only disagree on your one point that barter coming back full force would wreck the economy. When people in a free market are given access to more and better choices of things, it can only be beneficial, never harmful.

    • fastfreta profile imageAUTHOR

      Alfreta Sailor 

      7 years ago from Southern California

      I have to say a collective thank you to all for stopping. I've been away from my computer all day, and the comments got ahead of me.

      Angela, I wish I'd had the foresight to barter long ago, I might have had better success with my finances.

      Interesting observation Wesman Todd Shaw, I never looked at it that way.

      Smart lady alekhouse, I wish I'd been that smart years ago. Well, I guess as they say, you live and learn, and sometimes the hard way.

      You're right Tom that could present a problem in some circles. Oh, by the way, I can't wait to go over and peruse your website.

      Well, I'll just be Susie Writes, I never. I guess that was to be expected though. The current system appears to be designed for us not to get ahead.

      Pam, you're so right, it is getting worse. However, bartering the right way could possibly solve some of our financial problems.

      What a conundrum, but it probably exist that way in a lot of countries. Good to hear from Greece on this, thanks, One2get2no.

      Thanks Tracy Lynn, that ship has sailed without me as far as my children are concerned. But, I'll have to give myself a good talking to, on the concept. LOL!

      Again a big thanks to all, for stopping, I'm glad you enjoyed it, hope to see you all again.

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 

      7 years ago from Central Texas

      Excellent Hub, Freta -- I've been a fan of bartering for years. I do a lot of home decorating and design -- and usually barter for my services as money's so tight for folks right now. It's a great way for a win-win for everyone involved -- loved your ideas! Good Hub - voted up! Best, Sis

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      7 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Barter systems completely cut out the corruption of federal "middle men" and whatever war mongering and murder they've got going on against whichever Arab nation it happens to that the one percent can then control that nation's natural resources.

      I LOVE Barter.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      7 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Great job on this hub, Freta...very interesting. I barter all the time, with my massage therapist, housekeeper, gardener, other Innkeepers, whoever is interested

    • justom profile image


      7 years ago from 41042

      Good hub Freta, I always liked the barter system and while it can work I think people now have such ego's that they think what they have is worth more than it really is and would expect a one sided trade. I've experienced it and sometimes it creates more negative than positive. Finally finished the website, a relief now trying to figure out the rest of it. Check it out on my new hub when you get time. Hope all's well with you!! Peace!! Tom

    • Susie Writes profile image


      7 years ago from Northern California

      Hi FF. There is one caveat to this in the USA - the IRS. There was a local bartering club in my area that got shut down by the government, saying that it was helping people avoid paying taxes on goods and services. Can you believe it? I since discovered there is a line on the IRS forms that tell you to claim any barters/exchanges for goods and services. If you follow the law, you must claim and pay taxes on them. Ridiculous, in my opinion. Bartering is how my farmer-grandparents survived. The IRS wants their cut of literally everything - sometimes several times over. Makes my blood boil. (I'm sure they want that too - and will then waste it.)

    • pmccray profile image


      7 years ago from Utah

      Love the advice in this hub. The old ways had to return the world is in a bad way and its going to get worse. Voted up, marked useful and interesting.

    • one2get2no profile image

      Philip Cooper 

      7 years ago from Olney

      Nice hub...very topical. I live in Greece and yes there has been talk of a barter system although a particular piece of the puzzle is not quite barter as Germany owes Greece 360 billion for war damage and ironically that is just about what Greece owes to the IMF and Germany. Now that would be a good barter.

    • Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

      Tracy Lynn Conway 

      7 years ago from Virginia, USA

      I heard the news story a few days ago about Greece returning to a bartering system, it is interesting but also sad since it is a sign of a bad economy. I will consider discussing the topic with my children after reading this, it is a good topic to explore from an educational standpoint.

      Great hub!


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