Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bartering for goods and services

I have been thinking about the advantages of a barter system, especially right now. We have had to cut back on some lifestyle/educational choices lately because of unexpected expenses, and I have been trying to figure out ways to bring those choices back to life.

My solution? The barter system. Between my husband and I, we have some skills that we could trade for some privileges. To be honest, I'm far more aware of the advantages that some of my husband's skills could bring. I'm sure he'll be thrilled with giving up his already non-existent spare time because some of those are worth more money than mine.

My skills? The only one that is probably worth a bit more in trade is tutoring. I'm just not sure I want to teach someone else's children though. That is scary! Funny, most people think teaching their own children is terrifying. I figure that if I'm screwing up, I've already done it because I'm their mom. If I have damaged their psyche, it's done. Probably by age 3. Hopefully they'll turn out fine anyway. That's my daily prayer.

My husband? He's an experienced IT guy AND a photographer. A dang good one too if I do say so myself. Look and see for yourself at

Back to the concept of bartering: it seems like many things are either over- or under-valued anymore, and money doesn't seem to be doing the job as it once did. I don't know that our economy could ever use a 100 percent bartering system, but it seems that there is room for some. For examle, if I grow tomatoes, and you grow corn, maybe we could swap so we could both have tomatoes and corn. It seems like it work on a local basis only---a tough sell on the internet, and I don't think home mortgage companies would like to receive 100 loaves of bread in lieu of a house payment, no matter how good they are! That would even mean that for every one customer that paid in kind, a business (even locally owned) would need several more to pay in cash so they could pay their employees, their rent, etc.

Another benefit of the barter system is that kids could get involved. Right now, in the state of Missouri, kids cannot hold a job until they are 14 and only then if they have the superintendent of school's okay it and it is for a limited number of hours. On the other hand, many folks will stop for a glass of lemonade at a child's lemonade stand just to encourage their entrepreneurial efforts.

I think we might investigate the possibilities of this in a very small way, and see what we can teach the kids about the value of work and recognizing the value of their talents and abilities.


Jen said...

I've been thinking about this too--simply because I've noticed that with the economy tightening up, people automatically turn toward bartering for what they need! More of my friends are swapping hand me down clothes or other household items or services.

3 for school said...

With the dollar dropping, and predictions of what is going to happen to us tax wise, going cashless may be the wisest thing to do. I'm worried about how we will make the tax bill next year.