Never underestimate the power of bartering
|September 6, 2011||Posted by under Freebies & Gift Cards, General Content & Rants, Gifts, Green Living, Groceries, Home Decorating|
I have written about bartering before but I have been doing a lot of it again since we’re moving and getting rid of most things in our house. I have mentioned bartering with artists in previous posts (I would work with artists in exchange for free art!) but there are so many ways one can barter.
My bartering stories are abundant because I try to barter a lot. The less money I have to give out, the better. I prefer doing this instead of handing cash over or even receiving cash in some cases. Some of you who have been reading this blog a year or two might already know some of this information, sorry for the few repeats in there!
Here are a few ways I’ve saved money while bartering:
My neighbour stores his vintage car in our shed in the winter and in exchange he does us favours. He is a carpenter by trade but has many trades people working under him who can also render services on his behalf. He built our front steps, installed windows and fixed a few things. When our electricity upstairs started getting wonky we were afraid to call an electrician because of the cost involved. So I told my neighbour about it and he sent over one of his guys to fix it for free. Seriously. That barter is worth more than if he were to pay me in cash for storing his car all winter. We probably saved a few hundred dollars, if not a few thousand if it had been a really bad issue. We did have to wait awhile for him to come but we managed without it being fixed for awhile and it was fine.
I’ve been bartering bi-weekly with people for some items in exchange for fresh local produce since it is harvest time around here right now. Since we are moving and getting rid of things, I figured that bartering some items for food would be perfect. I’ve also received some homemade wine! I love to barter for consumables. Harvest time is definitely the best time to barter for good food!
As I mentioned before, I have done a lot of bartering for art because I love real art. I don’t like posters or prints of things. And I can’t really afford art so this way I get expensive art for free. I have a collection of various photographs and paintings that I received in exchange for helping the artist. I mean, how much would that have cost me if I would ahve had to purchase that art? Way more than the services I offered, at least in my eyes.
*Free House Sitting
My partner and I travel to Europe yearly to see his family and we are normally gone almost 3 weeks. I don’t like putting my cats in cages and prefer to have someone come here to be with them. I use HouseCarers.com to find someone to come stay with them and take care of the house while we are gone. We have had nothing but amazing experiences! Usually retired people like to travel and house sit in exchange for accommodations. There is also a contract people can sign to protect themselves And it’s all FREE! How much would this have cost me if I had to board my cats or hire someone to stay here with them? A lot, trust me.
Although I don’t know if this is considered bartering, it kind of is. Couchsurfing.org is totally free. Travelling and broke? Sign up and find a local person who you think sounds cool and has space to host you, email them and ask if you can crash there for a couple of days. It’s awesome. Usually couchsurfers who stay with me are quite communal and barter on their own terms. Some have taken me out for a drink, some have brought me local goodies from where they are from, others wash their sheets and the room and leave the place spotless so the next person can enjoy the space….it’s up to you to decide what works. Sometimes even just cooking dinner for people is appreciated too. I even had a girl give me an awesome hand drawn henna tattoo one year. Some just offer time and great conversation. How much money can you save by doing that? A lot!
*Other free stuff
I wanted to sell a table to someone but realized when I took it out that I can’t sell it. I mean, I could have, she would have handed me the money but I didn’t feel right about it. It was a vintage table but a bit wonky and needed a good clean. I said to her upon delivering: “I can’t sell this to you, just take it.” So she told me she works at a local brewery and would be more than happy to give me 3 large quarts of beer. Now, I don’t drink beer but I know people who do. And it’s LOCAL! I was so psyched after that exchange, this chick really got it. Awesomeness.
If you’re a bit confused about how to begin bartering, start by asking yourself what you need or want. Do you need a room painted? Some fresh flowers? Then ask yourself what you have to offer people to get those things for free. It’s that easy. Maybe you are an IT person who needs some plumbing done! Are you great at writing resumes? Baking cookies? We’re all good at something, just find out what you can do or what you can offer and you’re good to go. Someone will take you up on your offer.
Post on Craigstlist, Kijiji or other local classified ads. Those two sites have never failed me. Or if you are on any particular interest groups’ mailing lists (like yahoo groups) and what you need or have to offer applies to that group, then try that method. I’ve also done that with great results.
In the meantime, I need to find someone who will paint a room in exchange for some hummus and vegan pate. haha. *wishful thinking*