Have you ever sought out an item while shopping, only to realize you didn’t have the money at the time to buy it? Maybe you’ve been searching for a better deal on a product or service, or on some expertise on how to improve some aspect of your life, but can’t pay full price for it? Are you looking to save cash or maybe find ways to receive school supplies and things for your classroom, without having to pay for them? Here is some good news!
In the past few years, there has been a re-emergence of an ancient means for obtaining goods and service’s, it’s the bartering system. Bartering has moved well beyond the history book examples of pilgrims in the New World, trading possession’s for food, but in actuality, it’s only the goods and services that have changed and in some cases, the scale and scope.
Big Companies, Big Trades
Maybe you’re imagining yourself bartering, as if you’re in an open marketplace, trying to sell 10 chickens for two pigs, while someone has six rabbits and a butter churn. Let’s put bartering in the modern context, where it has been thriving. Some big, everyday companies, are now known to make 30 percent of their business through bartering systems, according to this article from The Guardian. Ok, maybe you aren’t like Mercedes-Benz, bartering buses for bananas in a $65 million deal, or Pepsico, satisfying their thirst for vodka, in exchange for soda. Can you learn to barter on a small-scale, for some school supplies maybe?
Bartering For Direct Goods, On a Smaller Scale
Remember the A&E series “Barter Kings” from 2013? Although much of the show was done up to attract viewers, Antonio Palazzola and Steve McHugh claim to have achieved success by starting small and working their way up to barter larger and larger items, such as cars, and boats. So essentially, the chickens lead to the pigs that lead to the horses that lead to the entire farm. Catch the progression? They shared these tips with their viewers. They urge folks to tread with caution and to beware of scams. They also suggested scanning deals on Craigslist and other well-known barter and trade sites. Are you in need of a medical procedure or treatment plan, but can’t afford it? Some physicians and therapists might be willing to barter with you. Read about it here.
So how would one begin to barter? For one thing, you should start looking to just test the waters to see what you could get, and then start focusing on a goal. Remember, successful bartering and trading takes practice and more practice. Know the competition and weed out the scammers. Give the process time, don’t be too hasty to settle, but also learn to recognize when to make a leap. Become a person who is willing to negotiate, even if you don’t enjoy it. Follow some advice on working a deal from Dr. Phil McGraw.
On a Personal Note
There are many more groups on Facebook these days that are looking for exchanges, swaps or sales of all sorts of items, from gently used, excess surplus, mismatched items, to even perfectly new ones. I generally follow a few groups, just to see what they have to offer. Sometimes the requests for services just don’t match my needs, and occasionally, there is drama or questionable scenarios. Thankfully, other group members usually are willing to warn others about problematic dealers and shady situations to spare newcomers undo trouble. So don’t be discouraged, but be careful and consider taking a shot at bartering and trade.
I did try this with exercise equipment, in exchange for a different workout item. After waiting for a long time to hear back from a desperate and seemingly potential dealmaker, who approached me first, the deal never went through. I am still driving around with a mini-elliptical in my trunk, that I can’t wait to get rid of after winter! I gave up trying to trade it for now, hoping my frustrations will cease when a better deal comes along.
However, I did find a lot of success with the craft industry, where many crafters are looking to teach others in exchange for goods or services. Here, barters or sales seem to go on without drama. Many crafters, just really want to share and promote their artwork in a manner of kindness with others. This usually feels like a rewarding experience, as opposed to my exercise equipment failure. If you want to get an idea for what is out there in the craft-barter-world, check out this page from Etsy.
Pencils, Papers and A+ Stickers For Teachers?
What are the bartering and trade options for teachers? Luckily, teachers are pretty skillful and knowledgeable about a lot of things. Maybe you have an expertise in a subject? Perhaps you are great at editing, managing finances, helping people get organized, or you know, can teach someone a new skill? Try Our Goods, for in-person exchanges of knowledge and ideas, or Trade Away and search for your next potential item. Make sure you check the IRS website for rules on claiming bartering income, so you are ready for Tax time.
Teachers, have you ever bartered for services or even school supplies? Did you find the process rewarding, when you didn’t have to shell-out direct cash, or was it time-consuming and frustrating? Tell us at TeacherCents.
Melissa Heule, Freelance Writer