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Make more money: Barter your skills and stuff

Bartering is one of the oldest forms of trade. We barter a lot in our daily life with friends and family, though without keeping count. If we take it to the next level, it can be a great avenue to expand our income streams and/or stretch our cash flow.

Barter your skills

You are great with cars and your neighbor doesn’t know a thing about them. He is a lawyer and you have legal needs – perfect situation for bartering. Bartering your skills is the easiest way among different types of bartering. Legally, it works the same as a cash transaction – if you entered into a contract to do something in exchange for another service, you are legally obligated to follow it through, just as you would if the other party paid cash for your services.

There are several sites that match peoples’ skills with their wants. My favorite is Barter Quest.

  • Barter Quest: This was the first bartering site I ever came across. It is very easy to use and it’s free. They have three sections  – Real estate, Goods and Services. It matches the haves and wants, lets you negotiate, make an offer, counter offer and accept an offer.
  • Skills Barter: Another free service to use while bartering your services and knowledge. They emphasize on bartering within your own community.
  • Babysitter Exchange: As the name suggests, it is a bartering site for the babysitting niche (though they also offer house sitting leads).
  • U-Exchange: Canadian based site. You can exchange any services, goods or even your home here.
  • Favorpals: FavorPals is a site where services like babysitting and housekeeping can be exchanged for other services or goods.

You can find a wide array of services in these sites from home maintenance to career counseling. You might be surprised what other people perceive as difficult and need help with.

Barter your stuff

Most of us have stuff that are necessary but ithat are not used every single day. We still buy them because, well, we do need to use them occasionally. Example: home maintenance tools. I bartered my extra space heater for a weekend in exchange for a carpet cleaning vacuum when I was moving out of one of my previous apartments. I wasn’t using the space heater, the other person needed it for her guest for the weekend, and it worked perfectly. I found her via Craigslist; it was super easy because she ended up living in the same apartment complex. Other than Craigslist, there are several other sites that let you “rent” your stuff for either money or barter your stuff for something you need.

  • Barter Quest: As I mentioned earlier, they have a section on goods that lists what other people have and what they want. Post your need and offer, they will match them for you.
  • Swap Style: Trading/bartering site specializing in clothing. If you are someone who keeps up with the latest in fashion and buys clothes frequently, this can be a great money saver.
  • ThredUp: I recently heard a parent say how buying clothes in the early years are pretty much a waste of money as the kids grow a lot during those years. Instead of buying the clothes outright, why not swap the smaller clothes for larger sizes? This is technically not bartering as you sell and buy separately, but as the concept is the same, I decided to include this.
  • Zilok: You can rent your stuff out or rent anything you need from this site. I know a friend who borrowed some power tools for a home maintenance project from this site.

Barter your home/land

I personally have never exchanged my home and I don’t think I will ever be comfortable doing this, but it looks very attractive. Esp. if you have a home in a touristy area, you can trade a week in your home with someone in Europe and stay the entire trip for free. That is quite a bit of savings. If you are interested in looking into this, here are some sites to get you started –

  • Home Exchange: They charge $9.95 per month to trade homes. The site has 43,000+ listings in 155 countries. You list the home you are offering and your preferred destination.
  • Shared Earth: This is an excellent idea if you have land you are not using or if you are a gardener without land. I looked this up when I was living in an apartment without any space to garden. If you have land (or even a small portion of your backyard) that you are not using, you can barter the use of that land to someone who plants a garden in that space in exchange for part of their produce.

Things to keep in mind while bartering to make more money

Before you start using any of these sites, make sure you understand what bartering entails, how the site works and evaluate what will be fair compensation for what you have to offer. Some things are important enough to list again-

  • Tax implications: Bartering is just like a cash transaction and that is how the IRS treats it. So you are obligated to report the value of the barter just as you would ith reporting your income.
  • Barter is still a contract: In most states barter is a legally binding contract, which means the other party can sue you if you don’t follow through with your part of the deal. It is always good idea to have the contract in writing if the value of your barter is high.

There are also other sites like Freecycle or Neighborgoods that let you post your stuff for free or rent it out for a small fee.

Have you ever bartered your services or skills? What was your experience like?

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