Problem solving and creative solutions are sometimes the very things that keep a budget in line. I believe that bartering is one way we humans found to problem solve and get creative centuries ago.
For example, the fairytale of “Jack and the Beanstalk”, which originated in the year 1734, is a classic story that begins with bartering. In the story, Jack trades the family’s old cow for magic beans instead of selling it, as he was told to do by his mother.
In a fit of anger, his mother tosses the beans to the ground and sends Jack to bed without supper. The rest of the tale is one that, I am sure, you are already familiar with so I will skip retelling it. Suffice it to say that Jack and his mother end up with riches beyond imagining from the trade.
While we may not end up with riches, this childhood story does have a lesson: It is possible to use bartering to save money. But there may be pros and cons of bartering to lower your budget.
Determine Your Goal
Before you can barter as a means to lower your budget and begin breaking the paycheck to paycheck cycle for good you need to know what you are bartering for. A personal example of mine is from a summer several years ago when my husband and I needed a new roof on our house due to hail damage.
Two sets of friends also needed to replace their roofs, so we traded labor with them. In the end, all three families got new roofs for less money because we helped each other do the work instead of hiring it done.
Pros of Bartering to Lower Your Budget
Bartering to lower your budget can save you more than only money. In addition, it can help you to eliminate waste and save time.
Trading something you have and don’t use for something someone else has but also doesn’t use saves money for each of you. If you both value and desire the item the other has you may be able to come to an agreement with little to no money changing hands. Compare the values and conditions of the items or services to be traded and start haggling.
Having stuff sitting around your house not being used is not only annoying but a waste of space. Eventually you will probably tire of it and either toss it in the trash or give it away. Either option is a waste of your resources.
Bartering allows you to eliminate what you no longer need and receive something you do need while avoiding waste. In addition, if you are a successful negotiator, you can do it without shelling out extra money which helps your budget.
These days, the expression that time is money hits the mark more than ever. We are all busy people, so saving time where you can is important to keep your budget in line. Bartering can save time by preventing you from spending hours, days, or even weeks searching for an item you need.
Let’s say your neighbor has an anvil covered in dust in their basement store room that is just the right size for your needs. Have you ever tried to search the internet for the right size anvil? They can be expensive and they aren’t easy to find. Try bartering with your neighbor instead. Perhaps you could mow his grass for summer if his lawn mower is broken.
Cons of Bartering to Lower Your Budget
There are some possible disadvantages to bartering to lower your budget. Sometimes there is an inability to agree, lack of needed items on one person’s part, or a failure to meet future obligations. When this happens, the bartering transaction could fail or leave one party in debt to the other. As a result, nobody wins and it is possible neither person will save money in their budget.
Inability to Agree
What if you are trying to barter with someone who wants more than you are able to trade? It may not be possible for you to barter for what you need in that instance. Unfortunately, not every bartering situation will be successful. Sometimes you will end up wasting time and having to buy what you need anyway rather than saving money through bartering.
Lack of Needed Items
Another drawback to bartering as a means to lower your budget is having a lack of needed items. Maybe the person you are bartering with needs to have their lawn both mowed and trimmed. If you don’t have a trimmer, though, the entire deal could fall apart and save each of you nothing.
Failure to Meet Future Obligations
Be cautious about making promises to fulfill future needs for someone. As an example, what if your mower breaks down after you receive the anvil? Your neighbor might ask for it back if you are not able to hold up your end of the deal.
Most bartering situations don’t turn into fairytales where one or the other party ends up in riches. But there are pros and cons of bartering to lower your budget and save you money.
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Have you ever bartered? What pros and cons of bartering to lower your budget have you found?
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