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For those of us that are somewhat new to the frugal lifestyle, bartering may seem like a great idea, almost too good to be true. But, I have to admit, it’s pretty great.
I’ve recently seen a few frugal sites and articles mention the art of bartering, and I’m so glad that during these times, there is wonderful attention being given to it. It’s almost like it’s the “new black” of the frugal world.
Bartering isn’t too hard to get started, but there are a few things to consider:
Do a little bit of research. Take a peek at sites like Freecycle.org and Craigslist.com. See what people are offering as trades or what people are desperately needing. If you know that you have those items in abundance, you’re good to go. You’d be surprised with the correlation of items people are asking for and what you may have in your stockpile closet. Glucose monitors, anyone?
Make a list. This is great for those of us that do stockpile. Keep a running list of the items that you have in great amount. Also, list items that you may have stockpiled, but you know that you won’t personally use(anyone remember the bald guyz promotion at Walgreens?). These are great bartering items, since you won’t miss the item if it’s gone, and getting something you need in return is an ultimate plus.
I tend to barter canned goods, processed items, and certain shampoos and conditioners that I got for free or a money maker. They are items that I know we can do without, and I love receiving fresh fruits and veggies in return. Which brings me to the next point…
Know what you want in return. I know that fruits and vegetables are great barter for me, and since I am near farmlands, I tend to receive these items. I also look for coupons for free things we need done, like oil changes at our local auto places, or free car washes. Another great bartering item are gift cards. You’d be surprised at the amount of people actually willing to trade their gift cards for items they need or aren’t willing to splurge on.
Pay attention to the seasons. Depending on the time of year, you will obviously have offers that reflect the season around you. January and February will bring gift cards and gifts that won’t be used by the recipient. Spring time may bring household items that couples might have gotten doubles of during their wedding. You may also see offers for an overflow of winter fruits and veggies that grew in someone’s garden. Fall harvests will also bring more fruits and veggies, and even some summer items, like sun block, kid’s beach toys, etc.
Don’t get discouraged. Unlike Ebay, you won’t find what you are looking for right away. Even though places like Craigslist is basically an online flea market, you do have to “visit” this market everyday to find the gems to barter. But beware: once you get started, you won’t want to stop.
What about you? Have you tried bartering in their area? Does anyone have any questions for me about bartering?