Pay Down Debt Faster: Part Five – Bartering

Pay down debt faster - bartering

Bartering is something that’s been around for a long time. Before there were presidents on paper that contained monetary value, people would use tangible items in exchange for other stuff.

Basically, bartering is the method of exchange where goods or services or interchanged for other goods or services, without using money.

This is something I love taking using to full advantage, and in a big family, you learn to market your skills any way you can. I believe it’s a really innovative method to keeping expenses as low as possible.

Bartering is like leveraging your assets (Ha and not just your physical ones) since you’re using it as a means to exchange for something else you want. Below are the ways I barter to save time/money.

Bartering skills

Recently another fantastic blogger from the blog Planting Money Seeds, wrote about finding a marketable skill. Thankfully I followed her advice when I was young and I have multiple marketable skills.

In exchange for getting my apartment cleaned, an afternoon coffee or a home-cooked meal, I offer financial advice and bookkeeping.

For my friends and family during tax season, I will do tax consulting for a service or product that I need. It’s a win-win situation, and saves me from having to buy that service instead.

 Bartering stuff

Many of us have some valuable tools and stuff we can barter, that we don’t even think about. For instance, if you have a heavy duty truck, you can rent it out to people that are moving or hauling heavy items.

Many small towns or local churches will host clothing or food swaps. This is a great place to network with other people who enjoy bartering, and get some items you need in the process.

You can even rent your parking lot space if you live in a popular area of the city.

 Bartering time

Time is not something most of us have an excess of. In fact time is more valuable that money and must be spent very wisely.

But if you find yourself with extra time or an opportunity to barter along the way, you should definitely take advantage of it. Carpooling is a good example of this, since you will be going that direction anyways.

My previous neighborhood used to exchange homemade dinners once a month. We would rotate between all the couples and each get a free night of dinner! We were all going to cook dinner anyways, but this way we save money and get to have some social fun.

Benefits of bartering

These are all expenses I could have paid out of pocket, but found skills or assets to use instead of actual cash. Bartering benefits both parties involved (or at least it should).

One of my co-workers exchanges doing taxes for daycare services. She puts in a little bit of work and doesn’t have to worry about paying the expensive daycare for her daughter.

It’s all about being creative and “pimping yourself out” – in a good way!

Steps to pay down debt faster

My six part plan to pay my debt down faster includes:

In this series I want to really define and focus on each method, so I don’t blend them together and lose momentum.

With the combined efforts of part one, part two, part three and part four, I will be able to jump start my goal and become debt free even quicker than I originally calculated.

 Have you ever used bartering to save money and get something you want?

Photo Credit: Creative Business

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About Carrie

Carrie Smith is the owner and editor of Careful Cents. She helps serious solopreneurs and full-time freelancers earn more money in less time, through systems and financial organization. She's been featured in The Huffington Post, Glamour Magazine, Kiplinger Finance and several other business websites. In May 2013 she quit her full-time accounting job to pursue entrepreneurship and blogging. You can find her on Twitter or Instagram @carefulcents.


  1. Love this! Makes me think of my skills in new ways … 

  2. I definitely need to amp up my skills.  A lot of my friends don’t have anything that I’m wanting most of the time, so it ends up being charity work.  I’ve traded writing for data entry, though — that made it worthwhile.  Thank you for this post! 

    • I have to be careful about my skills just being charity work too. Most of my siblings have spouses and kids, so they don’t have much time to devote to me. I’m trying to get more creative with it too!

  3. I have definitely been known to exchange baked goods and editing skills for other things that I’m not so good at. 

  4. Bartering is definitely something that gives you double benefits. On you can also trade services, which means I got a new laptop in exchange for walking a dog. I love animals, I exercise (for free) and I got a laptop (which I needed) in return. What more can you ask for?

  5. Great post on bartering. I haven’t done a lot of it, but the little I have done has proved worth the effort. And thanks for including my post :)

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