Gosh, I feel like I haven’t written a frugal living post in ages. I’ve been geeking out so much lately with social media and blog tech posts that I haven’t spent anytime focusing on what I love most: frugal living.
Today I want to talk a little about bartering and how amazing this technique is when it comes to getting goods and services you need for free or at relatively no cost. The added bonus is you get the opportunity to meet fabulous people and expand your network of frugal minded people. Recently, Mer and I started landscaping the front of our house to amp up our homes curb appeal. This house was very much neglected by its previous owner when it came to outside finishes like gardens and grass. We knew it was something we’d eventually want to tackle and so we started to set aside a little cash to make this project a reality.
We had a general idea of what we wanted to accomplish. We wanted to create a flower bed that runs along the front facade of our house, a vegetable garden in our backyard and a small planter that circles a large tree that sits on the upper edge of our front lawn. We had pretty big plans and a very small budget so we knew we had to get creative and so we jumped right into bartering. We managed to barter for tons of black soil, edging, cement blocks and plants! We essentially built our gardens through barter! It is possible folks, barter is not dead.
Bartering is awesome isn’t it? It allows you to use your own marketable skills and/or trade goods that you no longer have use for for things that you need without spending money. In addition to our garden bed barter we’ve also managed to barter to get our basement finished. Yup, you heard right! We bartered a hot tub which came with the purchase of our home last June. We knew we wouldn’t use it and didn’t want to pay the extra electric costs involved in keeping it running so we found a contractor friend who was willing to take the hot tub in exchange for building and finishing our basement – we provided the materials and he provided the labor. Pretty cool hunh?
So, how does one set themselves up to barter?
It’s really not all that difficult really. The thing I’ve noticed is that most people/businesses are actually pretty open to the idea. When you know you need to buy something try heading to a mom and pop shop and offering up an exchange – you’d be shocked how many times you get a yes instead of a no.
Alternatively, you can always turn to some online sites devoted entirely to bartering. Here are a list of my absolute favorites:
What to barter when you don’t have anything valuable
One of the biggest misconceptions about bartering is that you have to barter something super valuable which is just not the case. Apart from goods you have sitting in your home you can absolutely offer up services like tutoring, computer repair, website design, cleaning, lawn care, pool care, window washing, car detailing etc. The possibilities are truly endless. I have a teacher friend who scored an awesome gym membership in exchange for weekly tutoring. It’s really quite amazing isn’t it?
Value is truly in the eye of the beholder. Things that are no longer of use to you might be of great value to someone. Give it I try, I promise you wont be disappointed.
A word of caution though. Barter like anything else comes with risks and in an effort not to give bartering a bad name always be transparent in your transactions. In addition, always make sure that your expectations are clear and concise so that there is no disappointed from either parties. If the trade involves a service for an item or vice versa it’s always important to fulfill your end of the bargain. In addition, nobody likes to get duped so if you’re trading an item make sure it’s in functioning order and if not that the condition of the item is known and clearly stipulated in the exchange.
Happy bartering folks!
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Have you ever bartered? If so tell me about your exchange! If not, are you open to giving it a try?