Even when your income drops, you’re not without resources. Take stock of all non-money resources you have as a family. Among these assets are time, knowledge, possessions, property and creativity.

Swapping resources with others is a time-tested way to stay in control when money is tight. Be creative. List your skills, talents, and interests. (Use our Bartering Ideas worksheet to help you identify these.) Next, try to match your skills and talents to community needs. Try making your first swap with a friend, neighbor or relative to build your confidence.

Why Barter?

Bartering helps us stretch our dollars. Family members, including those who don’t have a paid job, can contribute to the family’s resources by bartering.

Think about what you’d like help with as well as what you do well. Do you have a bountiful summer garden? Perhaps you can trade fresh flowers and vegetables for help with car maintenance? Are you handy with home repairs, but hate doing taxes. Here’s an opportunity to barter.

The challenge of bartering is finding someone who needs your services, and then setting the value of your service. Some communities have a clearinghouse, civic groups or publications to help. You may be able to advertise your services through your church or social organizations.

Determine your expectations in advance to avoid misunderstandings.

Guide to Successful Bartering

When You Provide a Service

If You Receive a Service