Monday, June 4, 2012

The Beauty of Bartering

A tight budget teaches you a lot of things.  With the jeep still being repaired and the lingering chance that we will be responsible for at least some of the cost, money has been tight at our home.  We also expect to purchase a truck for Chet soon, and it's now my goal to be able to take some unpaid time off work by next summer to spend with Reagan.  So that means we are watching our pennies.  Well, I'm watching our pennies anyway (Chet... not so much).  Coupons, check.  No crazy shopping, check.  Cooking at home and packing lunch, check.  Living within our (limited) means, check.  Off brand diapers and formula, check. 
But it wasn't enough and that's when I really started to focus on the idea of bartering.

I am lucky enough to have a skill that most people want, photography.  And offering a portrait session (for which I normally charge $150) in exchange for something I need has helped me take care of a few things on my list without costing me the normal price.  This actually started almost a year ago when we realized we needed a few electrical sockets in both one wall in the kitchen and nursery.  Thankfully, we have a friend who works as an electrician.  We made a deal; he put in the sockets for us before baby Reagan arrived and I agreed to take family portraits for him in the spring.  The nursery now has a separate switch for the night light and two more outlets and the kitchen has two more outlets which we use for our lit hutch.  I recently took a bunch of fabulous pictures of his family in return and burned them a CD.  It was a great deal, and saved me quite a bit on a project that we needed to be completed.

Turns out my neighbor also does hair so I traded highlights and a trim (saving me my normal $100 trip to the hair dresser) for photographing their upcoming daughters first birthday.  Yes sir, that's a great deal.  Especially since I hadn't had color in more than 6 months because I just couldn't justify that type of "extra" spending on something that wasn't necessary.

I had also arranged for my babysitter's husband to make me a new bigger chicken coop, but since the guineas are dropping like flies that one is on the back burner.
Now I am really thinking... what else can I do?  We need new siding - maybe someone out there can trade me for wedding pictures?  We need some carpet replaced - anybody want to make a deal?  How about a pool deck - anyone able to barter with me on that one?

Bottom line is my skills can save my family money when you know how to ask and who to ask.  I'd love to have a bigger budget but sometimes you have to work with what you have.  What I have is a very expensive camera and flash, degree in photography and a knack for great ideas.  Have something to trade?  Lets talk!

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