Helping Others By Trading Skills

By Debe Lange
By Debe Lange

In these financially uncertain times, bartering is a wonderful way to have your needs fulfilled as well as being useful to help meet the needs of others. Decades ago, it wasn’t uncommon for neighbors and people of the community to barter instead of buying their supplies and goods. Today, many people are finding the same thing is true.

Let me re-introduce you to the definition of what bartering actually is. My household dictionary defines it as “the practice or system of exchanging goods and services”. Essentially its one person trading what he already has with someone else who has what he needs.

Well, the practice of bartering has returned. Actually, it never left. Who hasn’t traded flower bulbs with their neighbor for a perennial? Or swapped a recipe for the use of the cake pan?Country folks barter as a way of life simply because they usually live in rural areas and don’t have easy access to many of the things or services they need. They would need to drive a substantial distance and at an additional cost. So they barter. As time would have it, those in the city are now discovering the terrific benefits of bartering that those living in the country have known for many years.

For example, a widowed woman might need her garage painted but be physically unable to do it. Her neighbor may have the energy, time, and strength to do it for her, but he might need new seat covers sewn for his truck. They would barter where as she would sew his seat covers while he paints her garage. They make a trade for services where both receive what they need without ever having to pay a cent.

It might be something as simple as letting someone use a chainsaw to cut their winter wood in exchange for receiving a small portion of the wood. Can you offer childcare in exchange for having your clothes mended? How about canary sitting for your relative while they’re away on vacation? Then they can return the favor when you need someone to watch your dog.

Everyone has something that they’re especially talented or experienced at so use it to barter. Does your car need an oil change? Does your college son need his laundry done? Make a trade. He can change the oil and you can wash his clothes.

Ask your daughter to design your website and give her equal time spent cleaning her house. If you can cook, bake, garden, weld, mix cement, write, are good with numbers, or even cleaning, you have a service you can barter.

Now start making your two lists: the things you have to offer, and the things you need. Then find the people who have already made out their own lists of needs, and services or goods.

Debe Lange

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