3 Easy Steps to Bartering to Save Money

By Melissa Batai

One hundred years or more ago, bartering used to be commonplace. However, in recent decades, it was considered somehow shameful or embarrassing. However, thanks to the extended downturn in the economy, more people are taking a chance and trying to barter, sometimes with very good results.

How to Barter 

1. Don't be afraid to ask. The worse that can happen is that the other person will say no. Best case scenario, they'll agree, and you'll be able to keep your hard earned cash in your pocket.

2. Determine what you have that the other person wants and vice versa. Maybe your lawn mower broke, and you want to set up an arrangement for the neighbor to mow your lawn. What could you do in return? If the neighbor has children, perhaps you could offer to watch the kids a few hours a week in return. Think of what things you could offer the other person that they would normally have to pay for.

3. Make sure the agreement is desirable to both parties. No one likes to feel like they are being taken advantage of. Feel free to negotiate during the bartering process so both parties feel like they are getting something good in return.

Real Life Examples of Bartering 

My son took tap dance a few years ago, and the second year he was in class, our money was very tight. Rather than pull him out of class, I asked the teacher if she had any freelance writing or newsletter needs. She didn't, but she agreed to give him his lessons for free if the two of us cleaned the studio for two hours once a month. Considering his lessons were $40 a month, that was like earning $20 an hour to do the cleaning. Yes, please!

There are plenty of opportunities to barter. Bartering is best if you have more time than money and want to keep your hard earned cash. For many people, the biggest hurdle is just getting up the courage to ask. Be prepared that people will say no, but you'll also have a few who will be glad to barter. You'll never know until you ask.

Melissa, a mom to three little ones (ages 7, 3 and 1) blogs at Mom's Plans where she writes about living a fulfilling life on less and focuses on cutting expenses, budgeting, paying down debt, saving money and once a month cooking.