I have friends that clean goat stalls in exchange for fresh goat’s milk. I know someone who trades homemade whole grain bread for piano lessons. My sister-in-law once cleaned barns in exchange for rent. We once traded a computer for a beautiful wardrobe. I have a friend who trades his cleaning services for clothes, shoes, legal advice and more.

J.D. Roth linked to an article today about a boy who started with a phone over the next two years bartered on Craig’s List until he ended up with a Porsche! I am not suggesting that people devote huge amounts of time to trading their stuff online, but it is definitely something to think about.

My friend Ruthanne makes adorable aprons and camera straps. I’m sure she could barter for some great stuff with her talent!

It is easy to pay for something with cash, credit card, or check. It usually takes a time investment to barter. My friends that clean the goat stalls work hard for their fresh milk, but the trade off is worth it to them. How often do we pay money for something that might be acquired through a trade of goods or services? How much money could we save by bartering?

What hidden talents do you have that might be worth cultivating for the purpose of bartering? I often think about the lost art of homemaking and how some of those skills are very valuable in today’s society because so few people have them.

It might be worth the time investment to improve some skills that could be valuable in trade. I make bread for my family, but how easy would it be to make extra loaves in exchange for child care, piano lessons, or lawn care?

I have often said that the best way to save money is not to spend it. Bartering is a great way to acquire goods and services without making a dent in your budget.

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  1. Allyson says:

    Great advice! I used to to trade cleaning services for piano lessons! By the way, are those your bread pans in the picture?

  2. such great points you have made! I to saw the artical on Yahoo and it has my mind turning as to what i can offer!

  3. Great post. I barter for our meat, milk, and eggs. We also share our home school curriculum and extra garden produce! It’s so wonderful to have a group of like minded friends!

  4. Wow, I didn’t know that people actually still do barter. I do it to, using a lot. However, I feel that people need to be made aware of the advantages of it. As the economy will worsen people eventually will go back to those systems. Better get used now, people!

  5. I had a piano student for three years who traded sewing, ironing and baking for her lessons. Boy, was I sorry when she finished high school! I have also traded lessons for a seminary student to teach Latin to one of my sons in high school. That was a great trade as well.

  6. Sandra Kingston says:

    Nice, thank you! I love bartering, its so easy and fun! Im trading with my friends, neighbors and with people online, check out Barterquest,com

  7. My dad bartered for stuff all the time. Among other things he had a small machine shop and would make or fix tools for people in exchange for goods and services (everything from recovering some chairs and auto work to a massage for my mom). Bartering is also nice because the people you barter with often can become friends making it a great way to build community. I am planning on trading some sewing with a friend to get professional pictures taken of my daughter when she turns 1. Bartering for luxuries is a great way to make life better for all whether or not money is tight. After all, if you save money by bartering for what you can then you have that money for other luxuries or emergencies later. Thanks for the reminder that other people do this. The more people who know about bartering the easier it will be to find trades.

  8. I love bartering as well, I barter my “hair services” in exchange for babysitting for my kids so I can go to womens bible study when my hubby is at school. I trade with other mom’s on Etsy for cute things like cloth diapers and clothing that’s handmade for my babes, as well as items that I need to make things for my shop. I’ve also bartered for high quality meat and other things my family has needed. I don’t know, I think there’s something in me that loves hunting for a bargain or a trade {;o)

  9. Cherrill says:

    My SIL bartered mowing in exchange for graduation pictures for her daughters the good thing they done the mowing to.

  10. I agree with Daniel that barterable skills are probably going to become more valuable as the economy goes nuts. I think about other countries where inflation has gone through the roof overnight and I think it’s realistic to expect that kind of thing to happen even here in the USA where we think we’re so solid. I strongly believe that skills are worth far more than money.
    I have a little shop on etsy, but probably 1/4-1/3 of my transactions on there are trades. I LOVE that. Recently I traded $60 worth of goods (actual cost to me = $10 + some time) and got some things that I never would have been able to afford to pay cash for.
    And I just love trading for things because then there’s no sales tax, etsy fees, etc…in other words, I make a deal with the other person, and nobody else gets to take a cut. That’s nice. 🙂

  11. Where did you find your extra long bread pans?
    I can not find them anywhere…

  12. TheHappyHousewife says:

    Mommy Bee-
    I didn’t think about that aspect of it, the fact that when you barter there are no fees or taxes is definitely another benefit! Thanks for the reminder.

  13. Lindsay says:

    Wondering where you found your bread pans too??? 🙂

  14. Our largest barter was a roof for a truck. Now I’m trading guitar lessons for home-grown produce. For me, it’s a win-win, since my students are having a great time and I’m bringing home heirloom cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and more, every week.\\\

  15. I just bartered unsprayed apricots from my neighbors’ trees for fresh unsprayed garden produce from my garden.

    I’d love to find more opportunities to barter!

  16. I could be wrong here, but I think that the IRS requires you to report bartering on your tax returns, reporting it at the market value as if you paid cash. For example, my husband is a contractor and has a friend who repairs computers. My husband did some work on his friend’s house in exchange for computer maintenance at our office. According to the IRS, my husband would have to treat the computer repair like payment/income for the contracting, convert it into a dollar amount, and report it on the tax return. Same for his friend. In reality, most people don’t do this, especially if it’s done on a small scale. But even with bartering, the government always wants their cut.

    By the way, this is a great post. I just wish I had a skill that was worth anything.

  17. I agree I have a new barter site, where are member barter trade swap goods services and real estate. This is following market trends and community building.

    Check it out.

    Todd Rowe

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