Bartering: The Alternative to Buying

Remember the saying, “One person’s trash, is another person’s treasure?” Well, here’s a new one, “One person’s ineptness is another person’s expertise.” These concepts are more relevant today than ever before given the state of our economy. With daily news of corporations downsizing, restructuring and dismissing staff, many people have had to get creative in their thinking to obtain necessary goods and services without the exchange of money. That’s the definition of bartering which has increased considerably this year.

If used wisely, bartering can be a great form of commerce. You can swap an item that you don’t use, for another item that you want or need. Recently, two websites have reported a major surge of interest with bartering. BarterQuest , www.barterquest.com , has reported a 570 percent increase in first time users. They also drew more than 100,000 visitors in just two months after the website launched! Craigslist, www.craigslist.com , has increased by 12 percent in search queries and has over 50 million visitors!

How good of a deal can you negotiate? The possibilities with bartering are endless! I recall having a client that bartered with her hair salon to clean the floors at night so her entire family could receive free haircuts. Also, a person posted an ad on Craigslist to giveaway a couch in exchange for using the buyer’s truck to dispose of a damaged loveseat. Another person bartered with her neighbor to paint the outside of her house (since he was painting his) in exchange for her to do alterations on the curtains in three of his rooms. See the kind of goods and services one can obtain without spending any money?

Now is a great time to seize a professional service or product that otherwise might not be available. But remember…. with each bartering opportunity, take an extra step by confirming that your source is legitimate. Also, check www.irs.gov for tax requirements. Otherwise, barter away!

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