By Donna Westfall – December 17, 2020

When times are tough and you don’t have enough money to cover basics, learn to barter. Barter is nothing new. Do a little research and you’ll learn that barter started about 6,000 BC by Mesopotamian tribes. It worked so well, that next Phoenicians adopted it and soon they traded for food, weapons and spices.

In our country, during the 1930’s barter became popular during the Great Depression. With all the businesses closing, people out of work and bills mounting up, the simple solution is to learn to start bartering. That’s as true today as it was back in the 1930’s.

A few examples:

When apple trees are heavy with ripe fruit, people drop off enough apples for me to bake pies. I’ve traded pies for 5 gallon buckets in which I grow potatoes. On another occasion I traded weeding services for a 55 gallon drum in which we made a rain barrel.

Need honey? What if you raise chickens that lay delicious eggs. This can become a simple transaction by doing a straight trade.

What if you need your lawn mowed or lawn mower repaired? And you think you have nothing to trade? That’s when bartering corporations come into play. But that’s an article for another day. However, on the down side, the IRS got involved and figured they should get what they’re due by trying to make barter transactions taxable. That too, is a subject for another day and in my opinion goes under the heading of government overreach.

When times are tough, get creative. Make a list of things you want to get rid of as starters. That old phrase, one mans trash is another’s treasure is certainly true. Then add to your list some of the things you are able to do. Are you any good at math? Would you care to tutor a child? Take that list out again and again. Continue adding to it often.

Do you have a bread maker machine sitting and doing nothing? I bet you could find someone who would love that fresh bread. Maybe someone you know has cows or goats and are willing to trade their butter or milk for loaves of bread.

Since I tend to stick to basics like food, water, clothing, and shelter that’s where my mind goes in dealing with barter.

Do you have a backyard filled with grass or weeds or trash? Do you have an RV sitting in your yard? Or a spare bedroom? Do you want to have access to freshly grown fruits and vegetables? Put the word out for someone willing to create your garden in exchange for having a roof over their head. Just remember though. If it’s someone you don’t know, best that you check their references. Have you ever heard of WWOOFER’s? It’s a world-wide organization whose members volunteer in exchange for room and board. WWOOFER stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. They work 4-6 hours a day. I’ve met several of them at a local farm and they come from all over the world. This allows them to learn first hand about our culture.

Barter is simply exchanging goods or services without using money. Good luck, happy bartering and Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.

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