July 19, 2011

Successful Tips for Bartering- A Guest Post By Kylie Ofiu

This is a guest post by Kylie at Kylie Ofiu, formerly Aspiring Millionaire. Kylie is on her way to making  $1,000,000 and is sharing her adventures and tips. She is doing a rock star inspirational guest post tour this month and I am excited to have her post here today.

Bartering is an excellent way to save money and help others out. Essentially all you do is offer goods or services in exchange for other goods and services instead of cash. It works for a variety of things and helps generate a community feel.

Years ago bartering was common practice, but now days it seems to have fallen by the wayside. Often those that do barter or are thinking about doing it base it on smaller things like babysitting each other’s children or do some ironing in exchange for mowing the lawn. It can be done on a larger scale though.

When I was a hairdressing apprentice I was surprised to see the different barter exchanges my boss had set up. For example she would do her dentists hair as well as his wife and children, cut and colours, and he would do her and her family’s teeth. They had had the arrangement for years and both were happy with it. She had a similar set up with other tradesmen, such as when she needed plumbing done.

Obviously a trade such as hairdressing, dentistry, mechanics and so on are easy to barter with but you don’t need to have qualifications in order to barter services.

If you can sew, cook, clean, baby sit, garden, tutor, do anything you can barter it. Even things like doing someone else’s groceries for them if they can’t get out and they give you a cooked meal or eggs/vegetables from their garden. Any service or product can be bartered
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At first it might feel awkward suggesting it, in which case start small if you like. If you have chickens laying eggs and a friend has a lemon tree, why not offer to exchange a dozen eggs for some lemons. As you do a few smaller exchanges like this your confidence will grow and you will feel more comfortable suggesting it for bigger items such as a service on your car or dental work.

To work out if it is a fair trade simply find out how much whatever you are looking at exchanging is worth. In some cases it will work well but not everyone likes to have something of equal value instead of money. People who enjoy bartering often throw in more than whatever you are trading is worth. You create great relationships and often get to share knowledge, not just goods or services.
Not sure what to barter? Here are some options
  •  Gardening, lawn mowing, landscaping
  •  Dog walking, baby sitting, cleaning
  •  Ironing, mending, washing (I know of someone who washed a tradesman’s clothes and in exchange he did repairs on the house.)
  • Food such as eggs, fruit or vegetables from your garden, cooked meals, cakes or biscuit
  • Administrative services
  • Transportation either driving others places or doing their errands for them

Even if you can’t do something yourself you might know someone who can and could create a chain barter. For example if you were renting and the property needed some plumbing work, if you know someone who could do it you could negotiate with the landlord to not pay rent that month in exchange for getting the work done. If your friend is willing they could do the work for you in exchange for you cleaning their house. I have seen this work with the chain ending up much longer than just 3 people and everyone was very happy. They all saved money and all it took was a little negotiating, time and a willing attitude.

I know for my husband and I we save thousands of dollars a year by bartering what we can do in exchange for services.

Kylie Ofiu is the author of 365 Ways to Make Money. Her blog www.kylieofiu.com is all about ways to make and save money.