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Have You Tried Bartering to Save Money?

Have You Tried Bartering to Save Money?

My interest was piqued today when I saw a front page article on Yahoo about saving money by bartering.  Not only did I see that article, but this weekend was talking with a local business owner that uses it to pay for so many things locally.  It’s not just a great way to save money, but also a way to help out others in your community.

If you haven’t thought about bartering, you may want to consider learning more about it and maybe participating in it yourself.  Let’s start at looking at what bartering is.

What is Bartering and How Does it Work?

Bartering is a way of acquiring items or services through trade.  Using money to buy goods is actually a form of bartering, but a form where you are using dollars to barter.  Traditional bartering took place before money was even invented.  People would take any food or crafts to a local marketplace and try to trade them for other things that they needed.  Back then bartering was important because it let people focus on what they were good at and allowed society to be more productive.

Trading posts were bartering houses

Today, bartering has become popular for two reasons.  First, because you can do it with used good and it is a frugal (popular) thing to do.  And second, because it is great for the community.  Basically, any goods or services that are bartered are going to other local people or business, and not being taken out of the local community.

In our location, there is a company that facilitates bartering.  A company or individual can agree to a barter transaction with another party.  When the transaction is complete, the party that performed the service is given barter bucks by the facilitator, and the barter account for the person that recieved the service or goods has the credits subtracted from their account.  Once you have the barter bucks, they are good at many participating businesses and service companies.  For example, my friend provides IT services to people and recieves barter bucks.  He can then use these to barter for cleaning services, at restaurants and many other local businesses.

You’re probably wondering why someone would go through the bother of using barter when they could use money much more easily.  Well, first of all, the barter transactions are not always considered cash and often are not considered taxable.  This can save you 30-40% in taxes alone.  And second, by joining the barter network you are more likely to find new customers, because others in the network will look to other barter members first when they are seeking goods or services.

The type of barter I just discussed is a more advanced barter system.  If you are just an ordinary person looking to save money, there are more simple ways to barter.

For starters, websites like craigslist specialize in barter transactions.  There are many other similar websites that focus on bartering.  In my opinion, it doesn’t make as much sense as the business bartering.  That’s because the odds of having something to trade for a specific item you need seems like a hard match to make.  I think I’ll stick with using craigslist to sell my stuff and then use the cash from the sale to buy what I’m looking for again on craigslist (or other local site like freecycle).

I hadn’t really thought much else about bartering until I watched the video on Yahoo this morning.  Not only did she recommend using craigslist, but she also suggested having a barter party where your friends all bring things and then you trade.  I guess this could work if it was something specific.  Like, if you did it for your kids toys, or for video games or something that is easy to trade.  Clothing, like she recommended, unless for children, would be difficult to find clothes that fit.

Anyway, the video was by Farnoosh Torabi at Yahoo News.  Here is an excerpt from what she had to say:

Torabi says there are some online services that bring prospective barterers together. She also suggests would-be traders can host a swap party where each attendee brings a few goods to pitch. But successful bartering comes down to creativity, Torabi says. So if you don’t have things to trade, you can also barter professional skills or knowledge in exchange for babysitting or tutoring for the kids.

Done correctly, bartering is a win-win for the participants. And it can bring your community and neighbors closer together.

You can watch the entire video about bartering at bartering – an age old way to save money.

I have never personally bartered as an adult.  I used to trade stuff with the neighbors when I was a kid and was pretty good at it.  I wouldn’t mind selling services for barter bucks in my location, but not quite sure what I could sell.

Have you ever bartered or do you have an opinon on this?  Let us know with a comment.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • andrew320 May 29, 2012, 4:28 pm

    I have contemplated it for quite some time, but the problem is that many of the individuals who want to barter don’t have anything I want or need and vice versa. If I am looking for a general point-and-shoot camera, they want a laptop in return.

    With our fiat system crumbling, I do support a barter system, but it’s hard to participate in, especially if you’re not a materialistic person and want tangible things that are the basics of life and not gadgets.

  • sundcarrie May 29, 2012, 11:09 pm

    I have tried bartering at times usually I end up using an item I make or sell to purchase something someone else makes or sells but it is pretty limited. Last month I wanted some 15 dollar nail shields but I didn’t really have the money for them in my budget and the woman wanted some of my protein bars that are about the same price so we made a deal. The only other bartering I have done is offer cash for a discount and that actually works pretty well at some places.

  • Dana May 30, 2012, 7:30 am

    I read the same article on Yahoo and I loved it. Just like you I used to barter as a kid but gave up on it as I grew older. Now that I’m in college and on a very tight budget, I started to take up the old habit again. It’s fun, it’s easy and it saves you tons of money. However I don’t barter face-to-face anymore because I think the opportunities in the virtual world are so much better. Personally I really like barterquest.com because you can also trade services or real estate, so it’s very simple to find a good trade.

  • Tyson June 19, 2012, 9:30 am

    I couldn’t agree more, barterquest.com is the best trading site out there. They have a wide variety of things and you can even trade services and real estate. Bartering definitely saves you thousands of $. I’ve been doing it for a couple of years now and I’ve always been fully satisfied.

  • Jevon Hayter August 28, 2012, 3:52 pm

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