Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bartering 101

I don’t have to tell you that the economy is in the tank right now. Even the price of a pizza has risen dramatically because the cost of flour to make the dough has tripled over the past year. Of course there are ways to save money, and the option of doing without, but if there is something you really want and money is tight, consider bartering.Although bartering has been going on since forever, it has, over the past few decades, become less and less of a necessity as most people earned the money to just go out and buy what they needed and wanted without having to develop the skill or the social connections to get things without the exchange of funds. Here’s a few ways to get you onto the path to successful bartering:
  • Read ‘One Red Paperclip’. This book about how a man started with a paperclip and traded it until he ended up with a HOUSE will make you inspired.
  • Make a list of your assets, skills and resources. Include everything from the flowers in your garden and your power auger to your ability to bake bread and your friend who installs windows. All of these items may come in handy in the future when you put your bartering plan together.
  • Start small. If you see that the neighbor has a kiddie pool which never gets used, offer to mow their yard in exchange for the pool that your children will enjoy. Starting small, with people you know, will build your confidence to move on to bigger challenges.
  • Make sure every exchange is equitable, fair and enjoyable for all. Bartering means everyone is pleased with the exchange and a network is developed for future exchanges. Feelings of being taken advantage of, one-uped, or making a bad deal will kill your barter network faster than anything else.
  • Look to expand your bartering network by checking out the barter section of the local newspaper or Craigslist.
  • When making a trade, base the value of the item traded not on the retail cost you would pay at Macys but on the true value of the item to you and your trading partner, the amount of service the item would provide you, or the hourly wage it would take to earn the item at its true value. The very fact of bartering means you don’t have to take into account overhead costs, advertising costs, and other expenses that inflate the cost of an item.
  • After you get your bartering feet wet, consider more complicated trades. Need concrete work done but your friend only does windows? Consider trading your plumbing skill to the window guy who then does the window installation for the concrete layer who then provides his concrete services to you. Get the idea?
Bartering is fun, valuable, and a lost art that really needs a resurgence, especially in our current economy.


  1. Great post. This is one of my favorite topics.

  2. Good post. If you barter as you would run a respectable business you are likely to have a line of people willing to barter with you - a very valuable asset in a SHTF situation.

  3. After reading your post about earthquakes , you put me to work.

    I went to my closet pick up more clothes that I normally use ( many of them brand new) fill up two plastic bags and place them in my trailer and van. The gas tanks in tha van and motor scooter have been filled and the spares gas cans too.
    have place 4 air matresses and air chair, folding tables and seats out there in the the plastic cabinet next to the shed ( the shed wont collapse) Food supplies are in the trailes and extra camping stove and lamps in there also. Couple of tents have been there for at least ten years in there and we only use then about every 3 or 4 years apart, they seem to be o.k.....

    Thjanks for the reminder. I just upgraded my prep's.

    My wife does not believe in prepping. My other daughters does and on her property I got my secret trailer, I got on a trade for some of my tools when I retired from the trade.....Also has been taking care of.....