originally on http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8281075/learn_how_to_barter_before_you_need.html?cat=25 by Cheri Majors
Make Bartering a Game
The potential for bartering is available wherever you live, between neighbors, friends, and businesses. By starting small and turning it into a challenge for your family, see how long you can go without using any money, only bartering for necessities.
In my years of teaching young children I discovered that any curriculum turned into a game, or challenge, makes learning (and teaching) much more fun. Because bartering may quickly become a necessary means of exchange, it would be best to begin learning now, before you have to.
Practice Makes Perfect
Practice barter trading with your family members as a game. If you need pointers watch how your kids do this between siblings, and friends, with their toys, clothes, and games.
Challenge yourself by using bartering skills, going as long as you can without using money. Expect to fore-go fast-food stops, movies, and other forms of entertainment, unless you have inside contacts with coupons, freebies, or promotional items to share or trade.
You may be able to barter/exchange with them for goods and services at your disposal, so ask. Bartering clubs have been forming and would be a great place to register and get started (see the listings on the last page).
Figure out what your family needs on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, listing these items along with local contacts to explore. Examples might be a local dairy farm to secure milk products, or discussing trades for veterinary services, if you have your own livestock.
Local markets and corner businesses are usually more responsive to trades than are the larger corporate, owned and operated grocery store chains, or discount emporiums. Get to know the small business owners in your town, along with the road-side produce-stand operators.
Obtain a local area Chamber of Commerce business members’ roster for small, independently owned and operated businesses. Your church directory may also list the businesses within their membership, or advertise in their weekly or monthly program brochure.
Family Skills and Services
Create another list of all your family’s skills with which you will be using to barter. List hobbies, crafts, and skills your family already has, as they will become your bartering currency.
These skills can include anything from quilt-making and carpentry, to dog grooming and raising chickens. Also include service skills such as teaching, baking, gardening, or health care.
Many skills can be taught to others while producing “sale-able” products, such as baking, gardening, metal work or carpentry. Your family’s skills, hobbies, and crafts will become your currency/spending account.
Check out these online bartering club sites and directories to find availability in your area, or start your own. The one I am most familiar with is “BarterQuest.com”, where their motto is “Post and Trade for Free!” For a directory listing of bartering clubs and resources, for commercial or individual use, try “Barter Site Directory” online.
Most bartering clubs will offer free memberships for the first month. But you could end up paying monthly fees, straight from your bank account, so read the fine print first. Keep in mind the monthly fees may total more than the services are worth, so practice free bartering now.