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Money Saving Tips: How To Barter for Services

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Bartering, or exchanging services rather than money, is certainly not a new concept. Bartering is what we did before we had money. In these difficult economic times, it’s making a comeback. Bartering allows us to trade our talents and receive the benefit of someone else's skills in return.

My husband and I have been bartering our skills with neighbors, relatives, and friends for years. It has saved us thousands of dollars and in return we have helped others save money.

How To Barter for Services

1.) Decide What You Can Offer

Take stock of your skills and talents. Do you know a trade? Have a skill or a hobby? In other words, what do you have to offer others?

2.) Determine What You Need

Make a list of friends, relatives, and business associates who might have what you want and want what you have. Have an idea of the services you’ll be needing in the near future.

3.) Make the Approach

If you have a need, approach the person whose services you need and suggest a trade. If interested, you’ll both have to decide if the trade is fair and if you want a formal agreement drawn up or if a hand shake will do. Realize that when trading with people you know, problems and issues can pop up just like they can when working with someone you’re paying cash. You’ll both have to decide a fair way to handle the problem should one arise.

4.) Join an Organization

If you would like to venture outside the circle of people you know, there are a lot of bartering organizations you can join that will formalize the process. Most bartering organizations will allow you to “bank” the value of your trade in your account. You can then use that “value” to “buy” services from others in the organization. Warning: Sometimes there is a fee to join and a fee to pay when you trade your services.

  • Join a local bartering club: You might want to check around and see if there is a local club you can join. This makes the most sense as in most cases you’ll want to be connected with those in your immediate area.
  • Join a time bank: They are usually free to join and you get started by listing your skills. When someone in the network requires help in your field, you will be contacted. The person who requested the help will be “debited” the time and it will be credited to your account. Do a search for a Time Bank in your area or check out timebanks.org.

As for my husband and I, we’ve always kept our bartering simple. We’re blessed with many skilled friends who happen to be both professional and easy to work with. We’ve been very successful with trading skills in an informal way. If we need help, we ask for it and that person always knows we will return the favor.

Have you ever bartered? What are your bartering tips and tricks?

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Rita is a wife and a stay-at-home mom to an amazing 8-year-old daughter. She enjoys stretching her family’s budget and sharing with others how to do the same. She shares tips for living frugally on her blog, Chi-Town Cheapskate. She believes that living well while spending less is possible!  You may follow her on her blog but on Facebook and Twitter as well.

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