Short on Funds? Just Barter It!

Short on Funds? Just Barter It!
  • Opening Intro -

    There is a separate, but legal economy at work in America today.

    It is known as bartering where goods and services are traded with no cash exchanged.


It is a perfectly legal option as long as you pay taxes on your non-cash transactions, and what may prove to be an excellent way to help your family thrive during tough economic times.

Service for Service

Bartering may begin where one service provider offers a service in exchange for receiving another service from a different provider. For instance, if you know how to build websites, but are lousy at marketing, then you might offer your website skills to an individual that is good at marketing, but in need of an updated website.

Equipment Swapping

Another area for bartering can involve electronics and power equipment. Let’s say that you upgraded from earlier version of iPad and still have your previous, but now unused device. You also need a leaf blower and you know that your neighbor just bought a new one. Trade that iPad for the leaf blower and you’ll both come away happy.

Caring Services

You don’t mind watching children, but your cat or dog will need minding while you are away over Christmas. Perhaps what you can do is ask a neighbor to care for your pet while you are gone in exchange for letting them go out on New Year’s Eve. You’ll watch their children on a night where sitting costs are expensive; they’ll care for your pet when boarding costs will also come in at a premium.

Community Gardening

One of the most popular bartering ideas takes place during the warmer months. Often, the participants do not know that they are bartering. Visit any community garden and you’ll find people trading their tomatoes for radishes, their cucumbers for squash, and so on. You don’t need to be a community gardener to make an exchange, so if you have your own garden prepare to exhibit your harvest in exchange for what a neighbor might grow.

Tenants and Landlords

If you are a tenant, your landlord may be interested in your bartering proposal especially if you are handy and can make improvements to your apartment. For instance, your landlord may agree to let you reface the kitchen cabinets and replace the countertop in exchange for a reduction in rent. Your landlord pays for the supplies and you supply the labor, worth about $1,500. In exchange for your hard work, your landlord reduces your rent by $300 over the next five months.

Ride Sharing

One important way to barter has been used for decades. And that would be ride sharing or car pooling. The way that this works is that you would find an individual that lives near you and works near you as well. One week you drive your car and pick him up, the next week he reciprocates. You both save on gasoline, maintenance and repairs, a cost that can benefit your bottom line.

Bartering Considerations

If you have trouble finding someone to barter with, consider joining a bartering group. Some barter exchange groups are geared exclusively for small businesses, providing ways for business owners to network, trade services and reduce their cash expenditures.

Further Reading

How to Succeed With Bartering

How to Start a Business With $20 or Less


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Categories: Consumer Tips

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".