DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
I have a forum attached to my blog where people from all over the world meet to discuss simple life. There are about 7000 forum members now so we have an enormous amount of good information about growing food, cooking from scratch, family, simple living, routines, budgeting, baking and much more. Please click on the image above to go there. Newcomers will have to register. It's free, friendly and we're waiting for you.

11 January 2012

Bartering 101

Earning money, then spending it, isn't the only way we can obtain the items and services we need in our every day lives. Bartering is trading items of similar value without exchanging money. It's a good way to obtain what you need without having to pay cash. The essential thing when you start bartering is to identify what you have to barter, and be realistic about it - it has to be something that has value to others, not just to you. Each of the two people with something to barter, must agree that what they have to offer is similar in value and the exchange takes place. Then the person who receives each item owns it. I love bartering, I use my blog to barter and because I've been doing a lot of it lately, two readers asked me to write about it.

Jam for eggs.

I guess there are two difficult parts to bartering - identifying what you have to barter with, and finding someone who wants what you have and can offer something you want. It doesn't have to be items, such as bartering a dozen eggs from your backyard for a jar full of honey from the man down the road. You can barter services too. If you're a hairdresser, you could cut someone's hair in exchange for something they have - it might be a similar service like mowing the lawn or it could be an item like a couple of knitted dishcloths or some home made soap. You might barter your cleaning services for sewing, or grow open pollinated seeds and barter the seedlings for sourdough starter, or a batch of homemade laundry liquid for a stack of chopped fire wood. It's really open to your imagination and matching what you have to someone close by. If you're downsizing or decluttering, I encourage you to look carefully at what you're getting rid of because it may have some value for someone else and therefore a useful barter item. If you do this, bartering can be a way of recycling rather than adding to land fill.

Cotton or wool can be traded.

There is a barter shop at the Down to Earth Forum where you can list items or services you wish to barter. If you're a member with 20 posts, you can use that service absolutely free of cost. It's a good way of finding people with whom to barter because the people at the forum have similar interests and values. The trick there is finding someone close to where you live, or have items that can be posted at a low cost. There is also a giveaways sub-forum which lists items people no longer need and want to give away. I've started a thread on bartering at the forum so if you have any questions or concerns, log in to the forum and we can discuss it.

Home made bread for changing the mower blades.

You may find it difficult to start bartering but it's one of those things that once started, confidence builds, relationships develop and often the bartering continues for a long time. It could be a simple exchange of backyard produce or something more complex like an exchange of services. The deals could be anything, all they take are a little imagination, the confidence to ask and then an honest transaction. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
The barter economy
LETS
Community Exchange

34 comments:

  1. what a great idea, I'd forgotten all about barter. Many years ago I had students who gave me fresh cows milk and vegetables for a discount on their piano lessons. This was an arrangement I loved!
    Have a wonderful day, Madeleine

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  2. I regularly barter with ladies from our small (5) craft group.
    I mostly swap eggs or empty jars and receive lemons , magazines, books, clothes and anyones fruit or veg glut. I also often get a woolies bag full of scraps for the chooks.
    This gives a bit more variety to our lives , lessens waste and keeps a few extra dollars in our purses.
    All good.

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  3. Bartering could be very interesting. It's something quite common in Italy among creative women; I mean they barter wool for fabric, buttons for patterns, etc...but it isn't so common in everyday life. I think it helps you avoid wasting money and items: something that you don't need anymore can be very useful for somebody else. There is a unconscious sense of honesty and pureness in bartering, because you must be able to understand the real value of one thing in itself. I cannot explain what I mean....... reading all your posts too give me a sense of peace and peaceful life. And bartering is part of it. Take care, Clara.

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  4. I'm real happy to find this article and wonderful blog. I see we have more in common than a love of bartering! I look forward to reading much more of your practical posts.

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  5. I am a Massage Therapist and I used to barter with our babysitter. She would watch the kids for up to 6 hours and get a one hour massage in exchange. It worked out perfectly and she loved getting a massage, which she used to get frequently before same place else, but then she couldn't pay for it anymore. It was a win win for both sides :o)

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  6. I recently made a lovely barter. A local girl posted on our local crafty facebook page a little project she had made. A small zippered pouch for her bag to house tissues, cough drops, panadol etc.
    She has shown an interest in some facewashers I had posted the week before so we worked out the monetary value of our products and swapped accordingly. She made me two pouches (wanted one for a present too) and I made three facewashers in her choice of colours.
    We met up at a local market and made our swap. Was lovely!

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  7. Love bartering. It works fabulously if both parties work together. I have bartered my handmade items for services. Perfecto! Thanks for a great post, hope to see more people bartering and creating, our kids see and learn from what their parents do and say, one step closer to simple living for the next generation - less waste and less landfill.

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  8. We began our farm through bartering. We bartered our efforts in mucking out several barns for two days to acquire 6 Navajo Churro sheep. It began a journey that has provided meat and wool which we barter for labor to help in fencing etc. We also barter for items. It is a simple way and although it puts you out there~so to speak~in a vulnerable way, it is very rewarding.

    Thanks again for a lovely post.

    Jennifer

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  9. I agree bartering is great in so many ways. Just this week we have had 2 unexpected barters, one of which saved a good deal of stuff going to land fill. I posted about it here.http://purplepearorganics.blogspot.com/2012/01/one-mans-trash.html. The other one was that we bartered one of our workshops for the repair of our fire pump.
    We are also members of LETS and find that very rewarding.

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  10. I used to live in a town with a lot of people who were doing and making for themselves, so we would organise a monthly barter session at a local park. Here we would have a great time, socialising, swapping, and playing music. It was an occasion that I always looked forward to.

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  11. I have been using my baked goods in payment of services or products for years- blueberry muffins for knitting lessons, cookies and muffins for transporting my son to his activity or for caulking our tub, or in payment for vegetables off a friend's allotment. Or homemade jams in payment of the fruit or jars given to make them. Or crocheted items made to requirement in payment of some craft items like wool or card making supplies.

    It doesn't have to be a regimented thing either. With certain people it can be a gentle understanding, an avenue going both ways of help and/or products. Just make sure you keep your word, that you supply what was promised, when it was promised, or it won't work. Bartering is an exercise of trust within a community. Don't abuse it.

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  12. A very interesting post, helpful & supportive, indeed! Recently I'd been searching for a barter exchange in my area, many years ago there was one, but had no luck in my search. I've located one this afternoon, through your resources listed,170 miles away. Ideas are popping in my head like popcorn for bartering, after reading your post! I'll have plants, flowers, raspberry canes, possibly loaves of bread, & knitting & crochet to try this year, & who knows what else. And, I believe asking for help when I need it might come easier with something to barter, after being a very independent individual. Thank you!
    NatalieAnn

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  13. A very interesting post, helpful & supportive, indeed! Recently I'd been searching for a barter exchange in my area, many years ago there was one, but had no luck in my search. I've located one this afternoon, through your resources listed,170 miles away. Ideas are popping in my head like popcorn for bartering, after reading your post! I'll have plants, flowers, raspberry canes, possibly loaves of bread, & knitting & crochet to try this year, & who knows what else. And, I believe asking for help when I need it might come easier with something to barter, after being a very independent individual. Thank you!
    NatalieAnn

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  14. We have done a little bit of bartering and swapping. I've bartered house-cleaning for massage therapy, Avon products (back when I was into that) for massage therapy, food products for other food products and other small trades.

    My husband once swapped a large welder for a flatbed trailer, then later swapped the flatbed trailer for a fixer-upper pickup truck. Another time he swapped our riding lawnmower that we no longer needed for a compound bow, then sold the compound bow for a bit more than we would have made selling the mower.

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  15. I have even bartered unequally. I wanted something of much less value than what I had to give them. They had what I wanted and they what I wanted and I was still happy. I got rid of something I paid a tiny bit for actually although worth a lot and they had the thing I wanted and they did not want it. Rather than just donate it to a thrift store or give it away I got something I did want. Naturally there are times you just give things away when another needs it as the 'warm fuzzes' it gives us all is well worth it too. Rhonda, I am glad you are bring up bartering for those who have not thought of it. We also donate things to a little store that resells things in return when we go to pay for things they have for sale the owner will tell us it is free to us. This too then would be an idea for a set up barter to give to an owner operated used store and ask for x amount or one certain item in return. Just an idea. Sarah

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  16. Bartering landed me a husband --- a lemon pie for electrical work. He married me to keep the pies coming....

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  17. We barter our land and downed trees in exchange for someone else cutting and splitting the wood--then we get 50% of the split wood. We also let others hunt and fish in exchange for a portion of the meat. We have also traded eggs in the past, but my hens are on their winter strike right now.....
    Your blog is inspiring!

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  18. What a curious idea. In my country, we do something similar to this, but in a natural way, I mean, it's not a planned exchange, nor when one gives, is he/she expecting to get something in return, it just happens naturally. For instance, we have a neighbour with a huge vegetable garden (we have one too, but much smaller). He regularly offers us his produce. I know he and his wife are not very good at making fuit jams or marmelade although they like them. On the other hand, this is something I love doing, so I always offer them a few jars of different kinds, other times I offer them cookies, whatever I'm doing or have at hand at the moment when I listen to their tractor passing in front of my house. This sort of "bartering" is very common around here but nobody really plans anything, and I think it is a really nice thing. Basically, if someone is nice to you, you feel happy and you like being nice to them too. In any case, I do like the more elaborated idea of trading services!

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  19. i can remember bartering being big when i was growing up...hopefully it does have a resurgence as it is a great system.
    Now all i need is something to barter a night of babysitting twins for..hehe

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  20. Ana, Australia neighbourhoods used to be exactly like that when I was growing up. I'm sure it still survives in pockets of Australia now but generally, we don't know our neighbours so handing something over the back fence doesn't happen as often as it used to. I'm pleased to hear your neighbourhood values sharing in this way.

    Matty, great deal - for both of you.

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  21. Off to explore the forum a bit better! We already barter within our family/friends/neighbours group but some outside influences would be a good thing to expand the opportunities :).
    Cheers,
    Robyn

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  22. For all of you who barter regularly, giving your professional services in exchange for something else--be absolutely sure that the tax code is not implicated. In the US at least, I believe the value you receive in exchange for your work is taxable as income. Just a heads-up for something that is rarely considered!

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  23. I love the barter system and cannot wait to do more of this when we move home soon to a little country town!
    Thanks for sharing!

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  24. Clara's comment was beautifully spoken, Lemon Pie for a husband sounds like a remarkable trade, too, and it sure made me smile! I would offer your a raft trip down the Rogue River, Rhonda,but you would have to fly here :-)! Thank you for all of the amazing people you gather together on your blog everyday! ~Kari

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  25. "Home made bread for changing the mower blades."
    Teeheehee.
    Perfect.

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  26. I like the idea of bartering and will think on this. It is sometimes hard to find others willing to barter around here unless I go to the local farmer's markets.

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  27. Rhonda,
    Quite a coincidence... today I am exchanging some of my bountiful sorrel crop for some shaddock grapefruit :)

    Vicki
    Trinidad & Tobago

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  28. This is truly inspiring! I'm a big fan of bartering too, but I use an online trading site in order to reach a bigger community. It's barterquest.com, in case you want to check it out.

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  29. I like Clara's comment about the honesty and pureness of bartering. My good friend and I barter quite often. Hazel owns a restaurant that needed curtains, which I happily made. She made pumpkin cheesecake, which I happily ate. Win, win for both of us.

    My husband barters a lot too. He's a good mechanic and his services seem to always be needed.

    It's a soothing feeling when both parties are satisfied and little or no money has to be spent.

    I hope bartering makes a big comeback. Thanks for the post.

    Diane in North Carolina

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  30. I love that you posted this! I've been thinking about starting a facebook bartering page for the town I live in. This inspires me to start it today! Thank you kindly :)

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  31. Our last barter was with our newly out of the nest daughter. A good size car repair bill traded for (baby) sitting hours for her younger brother that has Down syndrome. Hubby and I have lots of date nights now.

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  32. i barter often, just before Christmas a friend of my son who calls me mum came to me and said now that he has finished school he needs something to do. He asked me if he could do some jobs around the house for me. After asking him if he had anything he could to to help his mum he told me that he couldn't finish her garden as he needed a lawn mover. So we made a deal: he weeded my front garden in exchange for our mower and a jar of cherry jam. He was one happy boy. He has told my son that he will visit me again soon for more jobs to do.
    We also made an exchange this week and swapped some tomato relish and a serve of homemade soup for a big bag of lemons that i use to make cordial. I am also a member of our local produce swap in our town and swapped tomato relish and vege seeds for zucchinis and plums for jam last Sunday.

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  33. I haven't found any LETS group here in Darwin-Australia. Bartering seems to be low on people agenda's.

    Before I had my daughter I used to babysit in exchange for lovely take home meals and sewing.

    Here's a website that I would love to have Australian swaps: http://www.swapright.com/
    but so far only 1 entry from me last year.

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  34. And I forgot to mention I'm a Helpx host. travellers stay in my home and so odd jobs for me in exchange for a bed and meal.

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