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Frugalities – Bartering

30 May, 2008

Bartering is a time-honoured way to “pay” for items or services you and your family need and has been around much longer than money. Bartering your products or services in your skill area for other products or services that you aren’t skilled in or don’t have time for can be a great way to save money.

The bartering arrangement can be as formal and complex or as simple and informal as you’d like. LETS (which stands for local exchange trading systems) is a formal bartering scheme where members trade their time and skills for others’ time and skills. Babysitting clubs are another form of formalised bartering. Examples of informal bartering could be a babysitting swap where one week you look after your friends kids for the day to give her a “day off” and the following week she does the same for you or (my current situation) doing some work in exchange for my washing being done for me.

Bartering can be cost effective. If you swap home cooked meals for plumbing services (for example) you save the cost of the plumber and incur the negligible cost of cooking a little more and setting aside a portion to be frozen and given to the plumber, while he saves time and money by not grocery shopping as often and not having to cook for just himself (or buy take away) for on hour or so of his time and skills and maybe some inexpensive parts.

The skills and products you can barter with and for are limited only by your imagination and someone willing to barter with you!

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