- The hubby and I are getting free room and board and car from the SIL by trading our services as a babysitter and cook (BTW, hubby is the cook, otherwise we would all starve). Hubby cooks all of the meals for everyone (dinner at night and lots of leftovers for lunches) and we both take care of her two grandchildren on the days that she works (which is actually pretty easy because all we need to do is get them ready and drive them to daycare, pick them up from daycare and take them to karate, then bring them home in the evening). So we still have lots of free time but are providing a valuable service for the SIL who would otherwise have a lot more work to do (now that I have been reminded how much work--and patience--are required to take care of two little girls, I feel like I want to give an award to each harried mother I pass each day!). I've also helped her out by writing a couple of policies for her for her job (something I used to do quite often so it was really simple) and teaching her boyfriend how to sell things on CraigsList.
- When I took the kids to the karate school, I noticed that the school didn't have a website. I offered to design a site for the school's owner in exchange for two months of karate lessons (we will be here until early June and I could definitely use some more exercise!). He agreed.
- When I went to a local salon to get my hair cut, the lady that was cutting my hair was talking about how she is looking for a job in another industry (she cuts hair on the side and was recently laid off from her finance job). She said that her resume needed to be updated so I told her I would make a trade with her--my next haircut free in exchange for looking at her resume and making some changes to make it look more up to date.
- I have also traded some work (mostly website design and grant writing) for software, Starbucks cards, and some cash over the past couple of months.
Of course I always like earning actual money but bartering is fun! You never know what you will end up with and it is a good way to help people out who may not have cash but certainly have something of value to trade.