This article first appeared at The Preproom.
Historically, the act of bartering has flourished in times of monetary crisis, such as when the currency in a country has become unstable (e.g. Hyperinflation or a deflationary spiral) or currency is simply unavailable for conducting normal purchasing transactions.
It should come as no surprise then, that the number of people using bartering websites has exploded as of late. With more people struggling financially, families are avoiding the department stores and shopping malls and doing their shopping right from their home computers. Of course, in most cases, you can’t really call it shopping, because there is no money changing hands.
The benefits of bartering are many and the internet has made it quite simple to find just about anything that you might want, as well as find someone else who is willing to take what you have.
I’m not just talking about books and DVDs. People are willing to barter just about anything. Clothes, vacation homes, laptops and more. I recently saw someone who had a craving for some fresh, homemade cookies and posted an ad, looking for someone local to make and deliver them to her.
You don’t have to just barter items. In fact, bartering with your skills can be even more valuable. With the real unemployment numbers hovering above 20%, there are a lot of people who have a lot more time on their hands, than they do money. An out-of-work mechanic can work out a deal to fix someone’s brakes in return for haircuts for his entire family. Someone who is trying to get a new business off the ground, and has very little time to clean their house, or maintain their landscaping, can barter their professional services for maid service and lawn care. It’s really a beautiful thing when you think about it.
I’ve scoured the web and have listed some of the many sites that I thought were worthy to check out.
Most people have now heard of this site, which means there are tons of listings for all sorts of things. Buy and sell pretty much anything, including professional services.
Freecycle allows you to donate items, as well as get stuff for free in your town.
Trade away the stuff that you don;t use anymore for some stuff that you will use. Earn credits when someone wants something you have and then use your credits to buy something else that someone else has listed.
NeighborGoods allows you to share stuff with your neighbors. From Tools to musical instruments, you can borrow what you need and lend others what they need.
A network of sites all around the country where you can find people nearby who want to give stuff away, instead of throwing it away.
Still in its BETA phase, this site lets you lend and borrow stuff with your Facebook friends.
Swap, sell, trade of buy. You can find everything from products to car pooling offers.
A great online Swap meet.
A free online swap meet where you can even create a wish list of the things you are looking for and then get notified when any of those items become available for swapping.
Works on a point system, where you give away what you don;t need and use your points to buy the stuff you do need.
Another free site where you can barter, swap, trade, buy, and sell your unwanted goods.
A very good site where you can list what you have to offer as well as what you’d like in return. You can localize your search and find people willing to barter services such as haircuts, etc.
In addition to all of these websites, there are also plenty of sites dedicated to the bartering of specific categories. (e.g. media, clothing, travel, services and more)
Right now, while much of the junk in your home still has some value, I encourage you to start playing around on these barter sites to see what great deals you can walk away with. I promise you, it will give you all the satisfaction of finding a great deal at a garage sale, and possibly more.