Bartering is an age-old practice of trading skills, talents, or assets instead of buying things with money. It has been a part of many societies since ancient times. The less we rely on money the more self-sufficient we can be. That is why bartering is an essential skill for those of us who want to live simply.
I don’t know about you, but bartering is not a regular practice for me. In fact, it wasn’t even on my radar until recently someone asked me to barter services. She asked if I would be interested in bartering a haircut (I’m a hairstylist by day) for a Zyto scan. I had been wanting to do a Zyto Scan for a couple of years, so I jumped on the chance! We were both happy with our end of the bargain and both received a needed service without spending a dime!
Bartering is still a viable currency, and is becoming more popular as the economy declines.
How Does Bartering Work?
Bartering is the simple act of exchanging something you have for something you want. In 2005 blogger Kyle McDonald bartered his way from a red paperclip to owning a two-story house in a matter of 14 transactions! Do you have a skill? I am a hairstylist, so I can barter for haircuts, or even gel manicures. Even if you don’t have a specific skill, think of services like babysitting, cleaning, or even yard work. You can barter talents like writing, tutoring, or designing. One of the easiest things to barter are assets. Do you have chickens in your backyard that lay eggs? Maybe you are crafty and enjoy making a specific product. All these things can be used for bartering as long as someone else wants them.
Who Do I Barter With?
You can’t exactly walk into Target and ask to barter, so who CAN you barter with? Start by asking friends and family. Post on Facebook that you have haircuts/eggs/babysitting to barter and you will be surprised at how many responses you get. There is also a bartering page on Craigslist! A few web sites that I found in my research (but have not personally tried) are
There are even barter groups on Facebook for some areas, so search and see what’s available near you.
Things To Remember
A few tips to remember about bartering …
The good ol’ IRS still considers bartering as taxable commerce, just was though the item was sold for cash. If you are bartering through a business, or bartering a big amount as an individual, make sure you keep it legal.
When approaching a business, especially a self- employed person, be respectful. If I can barter my services for something I would buy anyway, that’s great! But my business is my income and how I feed my kids, so I am extremely selective in what I will barter for. Don’t be offended or pushy, and definitely don’t expect someone to give you a discount. The golden rule applies.
I strive to live a simpler life, which includes being financially responsible. Bartering can be a viable currency that not only saves money, but also saves items from heading to a landfill. Start small and try bartering with some of your friends. You might just find that other people are as eager to save money and trade services as you!