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Learning how to barter is a fantastic way to save money. It lets you trade goods or services for whatever you need. Use these tips to learn how to barter without getting ripped off!
Bartering has always been one of my favorite ways to save myself money. I love the very idea of trading something I no longer need or want for an item that I do need or want.
But knowing how to barter is a frugal living skill that seems to have been forgotten by the wayside. Where it used to be one of the first skills people turned to, now the majority will look at your like you’re insane if you suggest it.
What Does Barter Mean?
Since bartering has become an uncommon practice, you might be wondering what it means to barter. The simple answer is that to barter is to trade. Each barter will have different rules set by the people involved in the trade but there are a few things you can do to make bartering go smoother and easier for you and your bartering partner.
Before you attempt to barter anyone, you may want to take a look at these trading tips to help you answer someone’s online ad or before you list your own items for trade. They will help you ensure that you get the best deal for your trade.
Don’t Attempt to Barter Junk
You would think that I wouldn’t feel the need to say this, but we’ve all seen crazy ads on Facebook trying to sell something. Plainly put, if your item is junk, don’t bother.
You don’t want to receive junk and the people you’re trying to barter with don’t either.
Make Sure Your Items Are Clean
Again, another thing I probably shouldn’t have to say but need to. Don’t try to barter an item that is dirty, ripped, stained or in any other way but in great condition. The only exception to this is with vintage or antique items. Removing patina and age from those items can actually lower their value.
Use the Correct Platform
Not every buy sell platform will be a good fit for a bartering ad. Apps such as Offer Up are great for selling things you no longer need or want but they don’t do too well for trading. Instead, post a “Wanted to Trade” ad on Facebook Marketplace, in Facebook Groups or even on Craigslist.
Just be sure to follow all safety protocols; especially if you use Craigslist.
Know What Your Item Is Valued At
No one wants to be taken advantage of and this is especially true when you’re trying to buy or sell something. This is why it’s so important for you to know what how much your trade is worth. Doing so will keep you from getting scammed or from losing value on your trade and it will ensure that the other person gets a fair shake as well.
But Don’t Lowball Your Offers
But, even knowing the value of your item, be sure you don’t try to lowball the other person in your trade. Doing so will only cause you to lose the trade in the end.
Instead, try to offer a fair trade based on the value of your item. This will be especially important when you’re first learning how to barter. Since it will be so new to you, you will be tempted to want to offer as low as possible.
Don’t Be Too Rigid
Bartering is based on offers which means the person you’re bartering with will counter your initial offer with their own. If their offer is good enough, you may accept it right off the bat, but if not, you will need to begin the negotiating process.
When you do so, try not to be too rigid in your counter offers. The whole point of bartering is to get what you need without paying any cash and for the other person to do the same. If you’re too rigid, you will lose the entire deal.
Be Clear In Your Ads
When you post your items for trade, make sure you’re perfectly clear. If there is anything wrong with the item, be clear about it. Also be sure to document everything with great photos. Take a photo of each side of the item and any imperfections it may have.
If your ads are unclear, others will be less likely to contact you about the potential trade.
Finally, start small. The idea of trading a car for a boat is a great one, but if you’re new to learning how to barter, you should take the time to learn how to do a proper trade before moving up to bigger things. Building the skills you need before jumping into the deep end is never a bad thing.
Bartering, once you learn how to, is a skill that you will be able to rely on your entire life. Even if you think you’ll only use it once in a while, it’s well worth taking the time to learn. Your wallet will thank you.