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Barter and Trade - The Coin of the Truly Frugal

By Edited Jul 11, 2015 3 2

Give and take is the ideal solution in hard times

We spend a lot of time at our jobs working for the almighty dollar in order to pay the bills and get ahead. We do tasks that are required of us by our employers and to compensate us for our time and effort they give us pieces of paper with pictures of long dead presidents on them. We willingly take these pieces of paper and trade them with other people for goods and services they have. Each year, the government decides that it needs some of the paper that you and I have earned throughout the past 12 months and we are obliged to pay them a percentage of our pieces of paper.

Have you ever really thought of money in the above manner? Isn't it interesting to find that we do much of the things we do for pieces of paper that really don't have any value in themselves. If an alien landed and watched us sweat and toil for another person and then saw them hand us little pieces of paper with special ink, words, numbers, and pictures on them, they might be inclined to think we were mad. What is the paper really worth? The answer…nothing, zip, zilch, and nada! For whatever reason, we have decided to go about our lives working hard, skimping, saving, and sometimes even scheming for little pieces of paper. Yes, we trade these pieces of paper for goods and services. The goods themselves have value, after a fashion. The services too are valuable. The thing we need to start doing is thinking of our time, goods, and services as an exchange for other peoples goods, services, and time to benefit us.

The whole idea of barter and trade is the basis of an economic system. It is still working today, it is just that we have all agreed that we will trade our time, services, and goods for little pieces of paper. One thing about the process of barter and trade is that the government cannot tax you when you barter your time. They cannot tax your trade with another private person, they cannot force tax you for time you spend working for another in exchange for a real physical item. They can only tax the little pieces of paper. I'm not advocating tax evasion, that is against the law. However, it is totally legal to barter and trade with another person and not have any 'cash' change hands.

If you really want to save in the purest form of the frugal mindset, then the next time you need your car repaired, take it to your local mechanic (not a chain store) and ask if there is anything you have, he might need and be willing to trade for the repair. You might be surprised to find that many people are more than willing to barter and trade instead of hand back and forth little pieces of paper. Maybe you have a skill the mechanic needs. Photography, artistic design, telephone skills, marketing services, janitorial skills, food, machinery, livestock, or something else might be just what the mechanic is looking for. If you don't have what he wants, then ask around to find those who do, see if they have something they are willing to trade it for. Once you have what the mechanic wants, then you have the means to barter with him and it doesn't cost you paper money.

To truly save in this form, might require a bit more work, but you soon realize that you are also building a great network of information concerning people, skills, needs, wants, and more. The more you know, the better off you will be. The whole system of barter and trade was what our current system was founded upon in the past. It has been the system that all economic systems were founded upon throughout history. The idea that you must succumb to this system and play by their rules only allows them to control your destiny and fate. Take control and responsibility of your own life and find a way to barter and trade with as many as you can as often as you can. You will be the richer for it.

You can learn about hedge funds and how gold and silver are the best form of hedge funds against inflation, from my article: Gold and Silver are inflation hedgers



Feb 16, 2012 3:59am
I was kind of hoping this was about trading tubs of butter, baskets of eggs, or beaver pelts for stuff, but...

Actually, this is a really good introduction to professional services exchange. I see people "trade" writing tasks or art, and things like that, on the Web every so often.

Thumb's up for putting a fresh spin on one of humanity's oldest systems of financial exchange (now if I could only get hot call girls to take food stamps or farm-fresh produce...)
Feb 16, 2012 4:43am
My favourite is to offer services in exchange for something I need. Next week I will be offering a 'pallet removal service' to a local business in exchange for free pallets (which I will be making into veggie gardens, furniture, storage etc).

Feels like creating real value in the world. If you have some technical skills like web design you can always offer to barter services with someone who can benefit from your skillset!
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