Thursday, January 26, 2012

Need Something? Consider Bartering For It!

Update - It is now 2020, and bartering is more relevant than ever! With so many jobs lost, we are looking for new ways to get the things we need. Why not consider one of the oldest forms of trade?

For many of us who are on a limited budget (willingly or otherwise) there are just some items or services that we don't feel justified paying for.  

For us, bartering has been very helpful at times.  I am committed to bartering more often in 2012 as I believe it could help save us even more money. 

What is Bartering?

Bartering is very simply defined as trading goods or services without the exchange of money.  Bartering has been used by humans since the beginning of time and is likely used on some level by most of us today.   When I offer to cook dinner for my adult kids in exchange for lawn care, that is bartering! 

Excluding trades with my family, some of the items or services I've bartered for in the past are as follows -
  • Evening babysitting for a haircut and color
  • Garden produce in exchange for eggs
  • Garden produce in exchange for plums and apples
  • Babysitting in exchange for babysitting
  • Homemade bread in return for eggs
  • Homemade grape jam in exchange for grapes
I really haven't pursued bartering as much as I plan to this year.  I've noticed that Craigslist has a barter section with a variety of services and items.   

When I looked earlier today, I found land, prom dresses, tools, computers, homes and assorted other items.  I've seen all sorts of services put up for trade, too.   I'd venture to say that for virtually any skills or goods you have, you'd be able to find someone to trade with! 

But What Can You Offer?

Use your imagination when thinking of things or services to barter.  What do you have to offer?  This list might help stimulate your imagination - 
  • babysitting services
  • wallpaper hanging services
  • crafty type skills
  • setting up a web page
  • tax preparation
  • sewing services
  • floral arranging
  • laundry services
  • housecleaning services
  • garden produce
  • excess fruit from your trees
  • homemade bread or noodles
  • jams, jellies or other preserves
  • cake decorating
  • home or office organizing
  • typing services
  • catering services
  • entertainment services (do you sing or perform in some way?)
  • items no longer in use in your home
  • any special skill that you might have from previous job experience OR
  • consider offering your current job/business services on the side for trade
As you can see, there are multiple opportunities to barter.   You can make arrangements amongst your friends and acquaintances or advertise. 

Beware Uncle Sam!
One word of caution, the I.R.S. considers bartering as income so be sure to know the guidelines.  You can check them out at the following link -

Bartering Income - IRS

As you can see, bartering is taxable.  However, to the best of my knowledge, giving a gift to a friend on the same day that they give you a gift in return, isn't taxable.  That is a fine line that can be walked carefully.  

Once more word of caution, a bartering service is under much more scrutiny by the government so before you get all enthused about organizing something for all your friends, make sure you don't appear to be a bartering service or broker.

I'd love to hear about your bartering experiences! 

Have a great day!


  1. Poppy, back in the day....we exchanged babysitting and called it a coop. I think you have a great idea. Bonnie

    1. Thanks Bonnie! Yes, I've heard it called a coop! I think if we'd go back to bartering for more things we'd be more connected as a community. Paying for goods and services allows us to be impersonal if we wish but bartering seems to have an element of closeness.

      Thanks for visiting! Hope to see you again soon!

      Have a great day!

  2. Love the idea and have used it myself. I've traded fresh garden produce for use of equipment, help on projects and cookies. And one neighbor that I've been giving excess produce to has started taking me "birding"--so what a great deal!

    1. It does my heart good to hear of other folks doing the same thing! Thanks for taking the time to visit!

      Have a wonderful day!

  3. Great post. It seems to me that the less Uncle Sam is able to manage our money, the greedier he gets!

    1. I agree, Leigh. Our local city ordinance allows for them to tax us for each chicken we have. As crazy as it sounds, it wouldn't surprise me if they started taxing us for having a garden! Thanks for stopping in again.

      Have a fantastic weekend!

  4. Good advice ~ I truly never knew that bartering was taxable :(....Ignorance is bliss doesn't count with Uncle Sam so thanks for enlightening!

    1. You'd think it shouldn't be but Uncle Sam needs to make sure he gets his piece of the pie I suppose. I understand the need for taxation but it gets a little excessive at times, I think.

      Thanks so much for stopping by! Hope to see you again soon!

  5. Hi, I couldn't find your email address. I just wanted you to know that you've just been featured on my weekly Welcome Wagon Friday post. A hearty welcome to our blogging community! You should be receiving visitors shortly.
    Brenda@Cozy Little House

    1. Brenda,

      Thanks so much! I left you a little note of thanks on your blog. What a champion of other bloggers you are! Have a great day dear lady!


  6. Visting from Cozy Little House Welcome Wagon Friday. Good information and I've only read two of your posts. Will be reading more. Have put a link back to your blog on my blog list and I am following your blog as well. Looking forward to reading more.

    1. Thank you Joy! I really appreciate you taking the time to say hello today! I am looking forward to visiting your blog as well. Have a wonderful day!

  7. Hi Poppy. I just stopped over from Cozy Little House. You have a great blog that I think people can really relate to. Good luck to you! Hey, I saw that you are from Wichita. I am up about 45 minutes southwest of Topeka :)

    1. Jemm,

      Thank you so much for stopping in! I'm really enjoying blogging and hope to continue to offer useful information. We are practically neighbors! Nice to meet another Kansas girl! Have a great weekend!

  8. Great post! I've bartered my services as a doula for grass fed beef and knitted, boiled wool mittens. Bartering is a great way to get what you need while providing something someone else needs. You have a lot of wonderful ideas!

    1. Thanks Patty,

      I love hearing about others bartering experiences! Makes me happy to know these concepts are working for other folks, whether in a small or large scale. Thanks for visiting!

      Have a wonderful day!

  9. Hi Poppy!
    I just linked to this post on my blog, in which I link up to Monday's Barn Hop. Thanks for the encouragement...I only wish more folks were barter friendly.

    1. Thanks tribalmama! I don't know why but this comment was in my "moderation" inbox which is interesting because I don't have my blog set for moderation! I sure appreciate you linking my posting. That is an honor coming from you! Have a beautiful day!

  10. I am getting so tired of the government sticking their noses into places they don't belong. I do not understand the need and don't appreciate them trying to control all aspects of our lives.

    Thanks for the heads up and the links though. Very good post. Much appreciated.

    1. Linda,

      I'm so glad you found this post helpful! I'd love to hear how your bartering goes! Thanks for stopping by!


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