Bartering Goods and Services Can Save You Money

bartering to save moneyMy wife’s motorcycle has been sitting in our garage for the last two years. Her motorcycle no longer runs and we have no intention of ever using it again.

The motorcycle is in good shape other than the fact that it doesn’t run, so rather than just sell it in its current state, we wanted to fix the motorcycle in order to sell it for the most we can get for it.

The problem is, we have no clue how to fix her motorcycle and we didn’t want to be swindled by mechanics.

Luckily, we’ve finally found a way to get her motorcycle fixed and it will only cost us the cost of the parts to get the motorcycle running.

How did we manage that? We bartered services to get her motorcycle fixed.

How We Bartered Services To Save Money

Tori, my wife, has been working on a photography side hustle to earn some extra money while doing something she loves.

Luckily, she happened to know a family that wanted some family photos taken and at the same time someone in that family knew how to fix motorcycles.

Rather than have them pay Tori for a family photo session, we decided to swap services. We agreed that if Tori took pictures for the family that they would fix her motorcycle.

Now, we will have to pay for any parts to fix the motorcycle, but they will provide all of the labor for free. Similarly, if they want to purchase any prints of the photos Tori took, they’ll have to pay for those themselves.

Overall, I think we both got a great deal. Both groups got what we wanted and we were both able to save money by bartering services in the process.

You Can Barter With Your Own Goods And Services

You, too, can barter with services that you can perform and goods you can make or no longer want. Think of all of the different types of services you are good at that other people would need.

Maybe you can prepare tax returns, take professional quality pictures, clean houses like a pro or tutor students in difficult topics from school. Whatever you’re good at, chances are someone else is looking for the service you can provide.

Next, try to find people who need your service. While finding these people, keep in mind that they’ll need to provide a service that you need in order to barter. Once you find a good match, exchange services so that both people benefit without exchanging money. How awesome is that?

Of course, you can do the same thing with goods rather than services if that’s what you have to offer. If you have a garden, you could easily barter vegetables from your garden. If you make jewelry for an Etsy shop, you can barter those goods, too.

Trading goods can sometimes work out better than services due to the fact that they’re easier to value.

The Downsides Of Bartering

Bartering has its downsides, too. When bartering for anything, you need to trust the other party to hold up their end of the deal. This is especially true for services if both services aren’t performed at the same time. If one person gets their end of the deal first, the other person could technically end up empty handed.

Another common problem of bartering is determining a fair value for all of the services and goods in the transaction. If you have a car to trade and you want 2 motorcycles, the values may not be equal. One side would have to add goods or services until the values were equal if a true bartering situation were to take place.

Luckily, money has been invented so that we can make transactions easier. Instead of true bartering, you can trade services or goods and use money to come up with difference.

Bartering can work out awesome for everyone in most cases. We’re happy that we’re getting our motorcycle fixed and eventually sold and Tori’s friends are happy they’re getting family photos. I can’t imagine a better situation in this case.

What do you think about bartering? Have you ever done it before? Let me know about your history with bartering in the comments below.

Photo by: North Charleston Text added by: Lance Cothern

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

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