Have you ever wondered what folks did before dollars, pounds, cedis, yen, shillings, pesos, and such made us bound to money? Likely they bartered, that is, they traded things they had for things they needed. The invention of money, which can be much more efficient, caused bartering to die down substantially. But there are still many good reasons to barter:
> You can conserve your cash for when you really need it.
> You may not have to pay sales taxes on the goods and services you receive.
> You will support the local economy.
> You can get rid of surplus inventory (read: junk. Remember, one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure.)
> You will prevent waste and encourage recycling.
Here are some resources that will provide information you can use to successfully use bartering in your business and personal life:
* The International Reciprocal Trade Association “is a non-profit organization of companies committed to promoting just and equitable standards of reciprocal trade and raising the value of reciprocal trade to businesses and communities world wide by educating, self-regulating and leading by example.”
* Barter News “is the official journal of the reciprocal trade industry.”
* Barter Consultants International is a for-profit organization that can help your business reduce cash spending.
* In 2000, Inc. Magazine reviewed and ranked several barter websites including bartertrust.com, isolve.com, and targetbarter.com.
Ready to get started? Here are two easy ways to begin:
* Organize a clothes swap. I had such a good time at my first clothes swap. My friends and I enjoyed snacks, wine and good conversation, and I got some great new outfits in the process. It was a ball!
“What’s a clothes swap?” you ask. Participants are asked to survey their wardrobe for clothes that are in good condition but were no longer being worn. Perhaps the clothes no longer fit, or maybe the person is just tired of wearing them, or maybe they’re just getting rid of excess clutter. The hostess/organizer provides a place to try on and view the clothes, along with snacks and good background tunes. The guests take turns showing and describing the pieces they brought, and when another guest sees something she likes, she grabs it! Any clothes that are not claimed by the end of the swap are donated to a local community service organization.
It’s a great way to hang out with your friends (and maybe make some new ones), shop for “new” clothes, and do some good at the same time. If clothes aren’t your thing, try a tool swap, plant/seed swap, etc.
* Join the worldwide Freecycle Network. Freecycle is a grassroots movement of people who give and get things for free in their home towns. Individuals and nonprofits join a local e-mail list and post descriptions of things they’re giving away or seeking. Everything posted must be free. After contact is made, the freecyclers arrange a convenient time and place for pickup.
This is a free and easy way to get things you need, get rid of things you don’t, and keep usable items out of landfills. At the time of this post, there are over 1,500 cities represented with over 500,000 people who freecycle. That’s lots of good stuff that’s up for grabs! Check out Freecycle.org to join and get started!
Once you start bartering, you’ll have more cash on hand to send to your favorite non-profit organizations! It’s win-win for everyone!
“All government — indeed, every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue and every prudent act — is founded on compromise and barter.” – Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797)