The Lost Art of Bartering

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Bartering has become a lost art in our society! Find out more about why you should barter and how to get started

The Lost Art of BarteringThe Lost Art of Bartering

The 2 photos above are of a recent barter I did. I scored 2 pair of jeans (basically brand new, worn only one time each) and a shirt that I purchased for myself today. Now you might be asking why I said I purchased them when this is a post about bartering.

Touche’. You ask a good question.

Let me tell you just HOW I purchased them. I “paid” for them with a brand new make up kit I had no use for and $2.00 in cash. You read that right. I gave just $2.00 for 2 new pairs of jeans and a cute shirt. To make the deal even sweeter? The make up kit cost me 0.00 out of pocket because I got it from a rewards site. So all in all, I have exactly $2.00 out of pocket invested in these items.

According to, to barter means:

to trade by exchange of commodities rather than by the use of money.


This can be a huge money saving tool for you to learn to use in saving money for your family!

I love to barter. It’s a GREAT way to get the items that you need in exchange for items you don’t. In the past, I have bartered for clothes, food, shelter, toys, a laptop, my daughter’s crib when she was small (was brand new, no mama drama about used cribs please, it was less than a year old.), and a ton more. I am ALWAYS on the look for things that I need and things (or services) that I can offer as a trade. The art of bartering has been lost over the years and I find that incredibly sad!

In days gone by? Bartering was a skill that was necessary to make it in life. If you wanted eggs but didn’t have a chicken, you’d barter with Mr. Jones who needed the milk that your cow gave. If you needed lumber to re-do the roof of your home, you bartered with Mr Smith for those supplies.

With the cost of everything in today’s world, I don’t understand why more people do NOT barter! Seriously! It’s a great way to save money in your budget!  Because of the deal I brokered today, I now have, at the very least, $38.00 more in my pocket and that’s assuming I could find “fluffy girl” jeans for $20.00 each. That $38.00 can now be applied to another area in my finances if needed or simply saved away for a rainy day.

I know…now you’re sitting there thinking, “Great. I’d love to try that, but I have nothing to offer in trade!” Yes, you do. Can you clean someone’s home in trade? Do laundry as a trade? Become someone’s personal shopper as a trade? Teach someone to coupon in trade? Bartering and trading does not always apply to tangible items only and in all truthfulness, most of the items I have traded for have been in exchange for services like I just listed. Am I willing to clean someone’s home and garage three or four times in exchange for a years worth of fresh beef? Why yes I am!  Do their laundry, even folding their underwear for clothes that will fit my child a year? Yup…there is NO shame in this Mama’s

One last thing, I’ve seen a lot of ppl say that they’re embarrassed to barter or offer up a trade. Don’t be. Are you embarrassed to use a .20¢ coupon 15 times in one transaction? No, you’re not. So why be embarrassed about trying to save money this way as well. There have been many a time in the lives of the true barterer where their trading skills have fed their families, clothed their children and more. Take advantage of this. Learn to barter and start saving today!

For more info on bartering, please see the links below:

Listia (bartering site for TONS of different items)

Paperback Swap (Barter books)

SwapaDVD (Barter DVD’s)

SwapaCD (Barter Cd’s)

Learn to Barter

A Guide to Bartering While Traveling

Be the Ultimate Cheapskate: Learn to Barter

How Bartering Works from How Stuff Works


Now tell me, what have YOU bartered for in your life? What was your biggest bartering score?

Stacy Barr
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Stacy Barr

Stacy Barr is the face and brain behind the frugal living and lifestyle blog Six Dollar Family. A true gypsy soul, her newest blog, Unsettled Hearts, chronicles the journey of her family to become full-time travelers. By the age of 30, Stacy had overcome an alcohol addiction, a drug addiction, divorce, survived domestic violence and had built a life for herself and her daughter after spending 10 months in a homeless shelter. Stacy is passionate about homeless advocacy and addiction education.  Her first book, also called Six Dollar Family is available on Amazon.

Click here to learn how I made over $100,000 blogging in 2016!
Stacy Barr
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  1. Sandi Hall says:

    I was a hair stylist years ago, and have traded my services for my kids clothing- but the best deal I ever did was trade haircuts for piano lessons for my oldest daughter, who now is married with 4 children and teaches piano herself, and performs for weddings, etc!

  2. I was selling my goods at a craft fair last year. It was a very cold, windy day, and we weren’t getting a lot of traffic. So I started bartering with fellow crafters. Soon, almost all of the crafters were trading their goods. I only made about $10 cash, but left with about $60 worth of merchandise that I acquired through trade. All in all, it was a good day. 🙂

  3. Nicole Cataldo says:

    I think bartering is wonderful. There are even websites for video games,books etc.

  4. my boss gives me coupons and i give them free stuff lol

  5. I traded two decorated cakes for a summer’s worth of mowed lawns – score for me!

  6. Great article.

  7. Maureen Carlson says:

    I found a band saw at a garage sale Orig $1800 for $300 it was exactly what my husband wanted but we only had $250 to spend. we showed the lady what my husband was going to be using the saw to make . He makes hand turned pens from reclaimed wood she fell in love with the pens and saw 2 of the ones he sells for $25 a piece and said she would take off the $50 for 2 pens great deal since the pens cost my husband about $ 4 and 3 hours work to make and he now had a super band saw we would not have even been able to come close to buying at the store best yet when we got it home we noticed it had never even been turned on let alone used

  8. Rochelle Pearce says:

    I trade home grown vegggies from my garden for eggs from a family down the street!

  9. What a great article! I have no issue with using A LOT of coupons (in a moral way, of course!) in a grocery transaction yet I seem to have a problem with having the confidence to even ask someone for a lower price or a trade. On the couple of occasions I’ve tried, they look at me like I have grown another head…lol. I suppose I just need to practice and if they say no, there’s probably someone else that’ll say yes. You don’t know til you ask, huh? Again, thanks for a fantastic write up and for pointing out that bartering doesn’t always have to be a tangible object…I didn’t think about offering a service.

  10. Rebecca | says:

    My husband bartered his building skills for tools and pellets for the stove this past year. Every time I go to a thrift store, donate my old clothes, and then buy someone else’s, I think about how great a trading group would be for toys, clothes, books and magazines.

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