The Lost Art Of Bartering
So many people now days hardly know what the term “bartering” means, and yet it was the MAIN trade resource of our not-so-distant ancestors.
Bartering means to exchange goods or services for other goods or services without using money.
Only in the last 50 years or so has cash become the main medium for purchasing items or labor. Men used to trade or barter their woodwork, furs, or their labor for seed, tools, and lumber. Women bartered with canned goods, eggs, and homemade butter!
Even many commercial businesses were operated on “shares”, where they received goods in return for their services. A carding mill would take your wool, card it, and keep a percentage of the wool as payment.
Now, we are so used to handing out cash (or credit) for items, that we completely overlook the beautiful, but lost, art of bartering.
Thankfully, in most areas, bartering is beginning to be re-kindled, and is an amazing resource for people, but especially for homesteaders.
I would venture to say that MOST of us aren’t farming or homesteading on a large enough scale to support ourselves by selling our products to the general public. I know we aren’t, and we don’t ever intend to be a production farm. However, we DO occasionally find ourselves with excesses in some areas. The chickens ramp up egg production during the warm months, and some vegetable crops may go haywire occasionally.
We also can’t always produce EVERYTHING ourselves. I mean, as much as I would LOVE to be completely self sufficient, there are some things we still have to acquire from off the homestead.
Instead of always using our hard earned money to purchase an item, I usually try to find a way to barter for it instead.
Here are some examples:
Over the last couple of years, I have bartered fresh eggs and a loaf of homemade bread for mason jars, more eggs and jelly for kefir grains, herb seeds for a kombucha scoby and baby pajamas, and a bunch of homemade food for a couple young cherry trees and grape vine cuttings.
These are just a few of the awesome trades we have made!
You can definitely trade services for goods or vice versa instead of just goods for goods.
How do you find people willing to barter?
This can be a bit tricky, but if you know where to look, you can find large groups of people who love to barter. You can also probably get all your friends hooked on the concept as well!
Craigslist has an bartering section, and most homesteading groups are very open to bartering. My complete favorite place to find bartering opportunities is Facebook. In my area, we have a local Facebook group for bartering. So, do a few searches on FB to find a group near you, or if there is no bartering group established yet, set one up yourself! A facebook group is super easy to create and run. 🙂
So, the next time you need to buy something, see if you can barter for it first!
This post has been shared at Tuesdays With a Twist, The Home Acre Hop, From the Farm Hop, Old Fashioned Fridays, Simple Saturdays, Simply Natural Saturdays, Wildcrafting Wednesday, and The Art of Homemaking.