:::: MENU ::::

Learning to Barter…


Over the weekend, my husband was reburying some electrical lines because they were dangerously close to the surface when he stumbled across a mysterious concrete pad in the middle of our backyard. Rather than recover the pad with dirt and walk away, he wanted to jackhammer it out.

Heaven forbid a concrete pad dare to exist two inches under the dirt in our yard.

‘Hey hon, I’d like to rent a jackhammer to take out that pad’ he said over dinner on Sunday. He went on to explain that it would be difficult to always try to remember where it was and it would instantly kill his mechanical gardening tools. All I count think was… we don’t have enough long term disability or life insurance.

‘Sweetheart, it’s not in our budget and it’s not a necessity. Could it wait until next year?’ I asked.

He dejectedly nodded yes as if I had taken his ‘man card’.

If there is one thing I’ve discovered since we made the choice to live without debt, it’s this… you will learn to get creative.

Last evening, my husband showed up with a free borrowed jackhammer. He has become a master at bartering. It seems like each time I say no, he seems to figure out a way to make things happen.

What was your best barter? And has your decision to rid yourself of debt made you barter more?


  • Reply Jaye |

    Before anybody discusses in a public forum the details of their greatest bartering transactions, remember that the IRS views bartering as a taxable transaction … both of the involved parties gaining tax reportable income equal to the fair market value of the goods and services that are exchanged. You can read the IRS details at http://www.irs.gov In the search block at the top of the page enter “bartering” and read the various references that appear.

    This is not to say that the IRS would consider it worthwhile to pursue minor barter transactions, but technically it’s a possibility and the bigger the transaction, the greater the interest it is likely to generate.

    Note the IRS is aware that there are bartering clubs and exchanges and these activities are required to provide participants with the tax forms that verify their “barter income.” The forms are to be filed at the end of the tax year by the individuals involved in bartering.

    Sorry to rain on everybody’s parade.

  • Reply John |

    I just bartered my Macbook Pro on BarterQuest to a web designer and got a very useful interior design service from someone else. It was actually a three party trade. These give you much more opportunities to get what you want.


  • Reply Inky |

    well it wasn’t outright bartering but we had a great experience this past monday at our local auto repair. We had made an appt. to take the car in for front brakes and some other work, to the tune of about $475. ouch. But we’d prepared in advance and were ready. When we get there (and we’ve been there many times before), they were having problems with their computer network. My husband is an IT manager so I say (because he is very shy) hey let him take a look and if he fixes it we can work something out. Sure they say. click click click and not 15 minutes later he has it all working again. Something they said would have cost them $100 an hour with their current computer guy. They reduced our price to $280 and threw in a free oil change. It was GREAT! you can bet we are going to take advantage of his computer abilities in the future when we need something.

  • Reply Nichole |

    I’m sad to say that bartering never crossed my mind. This probably explains a lot about a lot of things. 🙂

  • Reply Kimberly |

    It seems like each time I say no, he seems to figure out a way to make things happen.

    I wish I had someone to tell me NO, so then I’d HAVE to get creative.

    I’m non-mortgage debt free, and it is way too easy to spend money on things you want when you really don’t have to.

  • Reply Lizzie |

    A friend of mine is an AMAZING photographer who I love to get my family portraits from. Since there is no way I could afford her prices on my own, I sew things for her sets (ex. Father Christmas robes). For both of us, our labor is the most expensive part, so we just trade our cost for materials/supplies. She can’t sew and I can’t take awesome pictures of my family on my own, so it is a win-win for both of us!

    Bartering is the BEST!

  • Reply dcs |

    I hope he uncovers the whole thing before he starts hammering. If it’s not a pad but an old septic tank (bomb shelter?) it’s gonna take more than a borrowed jackhammer to fix it.

  • Reply Joseph |

    I’ve never been good at bartering or trading, but my younger brother was phenomenal at it when we were kids. He was always coming home with a new bike or Nintendo system.

  • Reply Brad |

    Waiting patiently for the post titled “We have an old septic tank leaking into our yard now!”. 😛

  • Reply WillyPower |

    I have to say….being computer savvy does have it’s bartering advantages. I have bartered a few things over the years. Including lunch at a diner. I walked in to have lunch and their computer ordering system was down. Instead of walking right back out I asked if I could take a look. The owner said that if I could fix it lunch was on him. So I fixed it and he was back up and able to serve guests again. I guess I’m motivated by food.

  • Reply Angie |

    @Brad – I wonder what you would have to barter to get someone out to replace that! Dinner for a year?

  • Reply AB |

    Ditto about the septic tank. Be careful! You may want to pop into city hall and get the original house plans. We once rented a house where the septic tank was IN the house, as they had turned what was an outdoor patio into a closed in laundry room, and then built an addition onto the house…the septic tank was now in the middle of the house. Yeah. Good times.

So, what do you think ?