In a higher priced economy, learning the skill of bartering or trading would be useful. In the case where money may not be worth as much or you have little left to go around, being able0 to know how to barter an item or a skill for something you need will be very helpful.
Learning to Barter (Successfully)
The idea is simple – maybe you have a leaky sink that needs to be fixed and you don’t really have the money to shell out on a plumber, however, your neighbor happens to be a plumber and could fix it for you. Of course, you don’t have the money to pay him but he has some jeans that are in good shape but could use a little love from a seamstress and you happen to love to sew…..See how this works?
As long as both parties agree that this is a fair trade it’s a great way to get things done without having an exchange of money, there is only an exchange of skills.
Even if you think you don’t have any skills, you may still have something to trade. Maybe your friend would enjoy having a few loaves of freshly baked bread to fix your computer or maybe your brother-in-law is dying for someone to babysit the kids so he can have a night out with his wife and would be glad to trade babysitting for a little car tune up.
This could also work as an exchange of skills for goods. For instance, maybe you’d like your house cleaned and the person that cleans your house is ok with being paid in farm fresh eggs or meat instead of cash. You get your house cleaned and they get food for their table. As I said above, as long as both parties agree it’s a fair trade, anything goes!
I really enjoy bartering and I do it all the time even now. My mom and I almost always barter for things we need between each other. Maybe I need a few cans of home canned tomatoes and she needs facial tissue. We decide on what’s a fair trade between us and then exchange the goods! We both spend no money but still get what we need.
Haggling To Stretch Your Dollars Even Further
Haggling….sounds like someone trying to get a deal with a street vendor back in the day. But I think that haggling (bartering, trading, whatever you call it!) can be extremely beneficial to your budget in this day and age.
Several years ago I went to the local Farmer’s Market. I needed to get some tomatoes for canning. All of the tomatoes I saw were priced $2 – $3 a pound, too much for canning tomatoes. I found a stand where the tomatoes were unmarked. I asked the farmer how much his tomatoes were. He told me $2.50 a pound or $2 a pound if I buy 10 pounds. I asked if I could get a deal if I bought more than 10 pounds because I needed them for canning. He went to his van and got a huge box of tomatoes out of the back and put it on the scale. Then he said, that’s 45 pounds, I can sell the whole box to you for $0.75 a pound! It was a lot of tomatoes all at once but I needed them for canning tomatoes and that was an excellent price.
(Side note: that story was from almost 8 years ago and that farmer and I have become friends. Our family has visited his farm many, many times and he’s always treated me right when I’ve bought produce. It pays to get to know your local farmers!)
Something else… when I go to rummage sales I never consider the tag the final price(unless it says firm). Like my hubby likes to tell me, it doesn’t hurt just to ask, the worst thing they can do is tell you no!
Here are many tips on how to make the most of rummage sales.
Another note…please be respectful when you are haggling or negotiating a price. If the answer is no or the person comes back with a price that is more than you hoped, you either take it or leave it. Do not disrespect others just for the sake of a deal.
The Keys to Good Negotiation
Ever had a bill that didn’t seem quite right? Get some extra charges that you don’t believe you should be paying for? There is a chance that you can work your way out of unnecessary charges and payments if you know the right tricks. Now I will warn you, I’m not very good at this yet. But what I’ve learned I’ve learned from my hubby who is excellent at knowing what is a valid charge and what’s not. Here are some tips to help you avoid paying extra on those things and to help keep or get that money back in your pocket.
1. Know what you are talking about. if you were going to make a dispute on say, a rent charge, you need to know what you signed up for and what your rights are. If a landlord is being unfair about lease terms but it clearly states in your contract what your lease would be, don’t let them argue with you. The proof, in this case, would be in the paper.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask. Did you pay your credit card payment one day late and they assessed a late fee? They might be able to take the fee off, you just have to be willing to ask! Just remember that the worst thing they can say is no.
3. Be persistent. If you are trying to work out a deal on a bill and the company is ignoring you or not taking your calls, keep on calling. This is the one time when being a little bit annoying might pay off! Don’t let the issue go until you’ve at least talked to someone that could do something about it. Which brings me to my next point….
4. Talk to someone that can do something about it. If you talk to just a customer service rep, chances are they may not have the power to do what you are asking. Ask for a manager or someone in charge and if they tell you that person isn’t available be sure that you either leave them a message or find out when they will be back so you can contact them.
Need more tips on frugal living? Find them on my Frugal Tips page.
Do you know how to barter? What do you trade for? What do you think of haggling? Let us know in the comments!
This article on learning how to barter was originally published on Little House Living in October 2011. It has been updated as of December 2018.