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Bartering is a cash-free method of commerce that has existed since before history and is still in use across the country and around the world. Simply put, it is the exchange of your excess goods and/or services for the goods and/or services of others that you are lacking. This is usually a binding agreement between two parties, but can exist between as many parties as are in agreement with the terms set up for your bartering community.

Bartering Examples

I have a long-term bartering agreement with a friend from my church family. Betty and her family raise chickens, rabbits and cows. They usually have an abundance of eggs and milk. They also have more manure in their pasture than their garden can use. I have a garden in which I grow much more produce than my rabbits and I can eat and more than my pantry will hold for the season. So I exchange my abundance of corn, broccoli, squash, etc. for a gallon of milk and 1-2 dozen eggs weekly, along with all the manure I can use.

This year Betty and I have added another dimension to our bartering agreement; we are educating each other, too. Betty is trying to improve her gardening skills and I need help in building a web presence for my home-based business. We are currently meeting one morning a month to teach each other the lessons we are in need of and, later this spring, it will be increased to a full day each month.

My mother and a friend of hers also have a bartering agreement. My mom belongs to a member’s only warehouse store and can purchase many bulk items cheaper than you can get them, even if you buy them from a discount chain such as Wal-Mart. Devon works cleaning my mom’s house and, in exchange, mom buys food for Devon’s animals at the warehouse for the lower price. Both are getting exactly what they need and are happy with their arrangement.

I also know of woman who sits with an older lady to keep her company when her family is working or running errands. In return she is allowed to use the family’s Internet service for several hours to pay her for her services.

Again there is a young family that provides butchering services for others who are in need of some small animals killed and cleaned for the table, but are not skilled in this area. In return they keep a portion of the meat or the hides in exchange for the butchering.

Getting Started

My church family is small and we just talk to each other during our fellowship dinners each week to make our bartering arrangements. You will have to set you your bartering exchange differently. Look for others in your community who are interested in a system of bartering.

There are as many ways to set up your bartering system as there are members in those communities; I will mention a couple here.

  • One way is to put up a bulletin board [or “Barter Board”] in your church or community center.  Divide the board in half with a string and a couple of tacks. On one side interested persons can place their notices showing what goods and/or services they are in need of with their contact info on it. On the other side interested persons can place notices showing what goods and/or services they have to offer with their contact info [3x5 cards work well for this].  Interested parties can browse the board for what they require and contact anyone who may have what they are in need of.
  • Another way to get connected is to begin a “forum” or “group” online where interested persons can post their info electronically and other members of that group or forum can peruse the list at their leisure and make contact within that e-community too. Setting up a group is relatively easy through such sites as Yahoo.

In Closing

As you can see, bartering can be done in any way that all parties feel is equitable. Even if it wouldn’t be an equal value with dollars, it is still a blessing to each party as they are getting what they need and supplying others with something that would be excess and may go to waste. Bartering can be both fun and profitable.

Begin bartering today and enjoy a cashless, free enterprise system with the added benefit of making new friends, or becoming closer friends with some you already know.

Happy Bartering!

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