Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Let's Make a Trade

Are you tired of our money hungry society?

Sick of trips to the ATM?

Had it with spend, spend, spending?

Stop using cash and say hello to bartering for services!

No, no this isn't an infomercial. And I'm not going to tell you to round up your old gold (that one cracks me up every time I see it).

But did you know that bartering is making a big comeback? It goes along with my prediction that this big world is slowly reverting back to more simplistic ways. (If you want to hear more of my pontifications, let's have coffee. I don't want to bore everyone, just you.)

A recent article in Boulder's Daily Camera tells the tale of one realtor who barters for all she can from clothing to cars. A close friend of mine barters her gardening and yard work services for plumbing work and computer repairs. Intrigued I've been stalking the barter section of Craig's List. And yes in my usual hesitant chicken style I haven't put myself out there yet. But, I'm researching.

Here are some guides to bartering that I'm forming:

  • Know what you want. Be specific such as "I need a mid-century modern side table." I do, anybody have one?
  • Know how much it's worth. Don't expect to get things for cheap. Offer a fair trade.
  • Know what you have to offer. And know that you do have something to offer. Can you cook? Can you babysit? Can you fix things? Do you have a pickup to lend? Put a value to your services and be specific. Don't leave it open ended or you'll get wacky requests.
  • Be professional, but be prepared to haggle. Know your limits and what you are willing to do and be flexible.
  • Keep Records. Treat barters like financial transactions. The IRS does care about your bartering. And if you are bartering internationally you've got to know import/export laws.

So go ahead and try trading your services for what you need.

Note to a previous commenter who said, "I met a couple who was trying to furnish their entire house from free stuff on Craigslist." That is awesome! I'd like to see the pictures of their home.

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