In tough economies such as we are currently experiencing, a good way to save some money is to barter for services. Many years ago, people bartered for services far more than we do. Remember when watching TV shows, like “Little House On the Prairie” where the town doctor was overrun with chickens because that is how people would pay him!
There are so many ways to barter. Maybe you don’t have what you consider to be a special skill. But we all have some abilities that others may want. Perhaps it is handyman work, cleaning houses, detailing cars, babysitting, bookkeeping, lawn care, etc. Or maybe you have a green thumb and love to garden. Many people end up with more veggies than their family can use. Others would be thrilled to have home-grown produce!
Another idea is group bartering. Instead of trading child care with the same person each time, a group of moms got together and set up “barter bucks.” They each can start off with a certain number of “barter bucks” and determined a set value for childcare. When they needed childcare they would find someone else in the group that they could “pay” to watch their kids. But, if you ran out of barter bucks, that meant you weren’t doing your share and now couldn’t ask one of them to do childcare for you until you had earned barter bucks by watching someone else’s children. This type of system could easily be set up among a group of people with varying talents/skills.
There are many options for bartering. It’s all about thinking creatively, and being bold enough to ask someone if they would be willing to trade services. In some cases, you may be able to barter for the labor, but have to pay for materials. But keep in mind that labor often is the most expensive part of any bill.