The idea of bartering or trading is almost as old as time. However, you may not think it has much relevance to you now.
That’s where you may be wrong. Bartering has seen a resurgence recently, as more and more people see that it’s a way to save money. It’s even spawned a television show on A&E called Barter Kings.
By taking advantage of a few trades, you can free up some space in your budget. That way you can start saving and avoid using loans for bad credit if you run into an emergency bill.
Leverage Your Garden
Many financial blogs preach that starting a backyard garden can be an easy way to save on your grocery bills. However, your family can only use so many cucumbers and tomatoes each week, so you might feel like you’re growing too many for you to eat. This is where you can use your green thumb to save some green each week.
Talk to your neighbors and see if they are interested in having some fresh vegetables from your garden. If they are, offer to give them some each week. In return, they can pick up something else for you that you can’t grow – such as milk, cereal or meat – when they go to the store. Both of you can end up saving.
Spread your vegetable exchange throughout the neighborhood and you may be able to significantly cut down your grocery bills each week.
Have a useful skill you want to trade for other services or products? Then go online to see what you may be able to find.
There are many different websites that cater to barter arrangements that can help you find bartering partners. Some of them are focused on just the simple swapping of items, while others are focused on people looking to provide services or other assistance.
However, some of them do have a membership fee. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, make sure you that you will save enough through your efforts to make up for that. Otherwise you won’t end up in better financial shape.
Tips For Bartering
1. Keep cash out of it – The temptation to carry cash to a barter deal can be strong. However, if you don’t bring cash, you can’t be persuaded to spend it on something you hadn’t planned on.
2. Be knowledgeable – You need to go into a barter knowing roughly how much the item or service each person is offering is worth to avoid coming out on the short end of the deal. Some quick online searching should at least give you a rough idea.
3. Expand your horizons – Too many times, people can focus on the idea that they need to trade services for concrete items and ignore other possibilities. For example, assisting a small hotel with its brochures or advertising material may get you a free stay and help you afford a vacation.
In the end, finding items or skills you have for other things you want can help you trim your expenses and free up your income for other purposes, much like a part-time job. That kind of budget flexibility may be worth the extra effort you need to spend making trades.