Bartering is a great way to get what you need without emptying your wallet. Barter for what your need or find cheap items you can barter with during a long-term disaster at these top 5 venues. Bartering deals often involve both tangible items and trades for services and skills training.
Opportunities to swap unwanted items or share your skills exist both on-site and online. While cash may still be king, bartering has emerged as an equally dominant queen. To take full advantage of the increasingly popular bartering economy, you have to know both what to buy and where to look for the best deal.
The dollar may be diminishing and the economy both nationally and internationally teetering, according to some financial experts. When meeting a stranger to broker a deal, always choose a public venue during daylight hours and take another individual with your for safety.
While at a yard sale, flea market or auction, it is easy to become either overwhelmed or fall into the over-buying trap. Make a list of items you consider quality bartering options and search for them first. Refrain from buying other items until you have viewed all there is to offer and have marked the primary needs off your list.
Top 5 Bartering Venues
- Craigslist – Not only is this website one of the top places to browse for yard sales, but the online venue also has an entire category devoted to bartering. The farm and garden category on Craigslist contains a “barter” section that is typically filled to the brim with all sorts of home, farm, off-the-grid, prepping, self-defense and gardening items. Skilled labor in exchange for other services or items is also commonly posted in the Craigslist barter section of the farm and garden category.
- Yard Sales. They’re the tried and true spots to score great deals on a wide variety of items. The front yard or garage-housed sales used to occur just during the warm weather months, but thanks to the popularity of Facebook, virtual yard sales now occur year-round. Do a search for the name of your town or county followed by the phrases “trading post” and “yard sale” to find pages devoted to folks selling a plethora of goodies in your zip code. During the traditional yard sale season, these same Facebook pages will also include postings pertaining to individual, multi-family, organization, and large community yard sales in your area. (Craigslist is also a great place to find where and when yard sales are occurring in the multi-county area near your home.) Simply type on the term “yard sales” in the text box on the right side of the page and leave the standard “search all for sale” category selected and a list of happenings will soon appear on your screen. Entire websites are now devoted to listing yard sales in every state in the nation. The aptly titled, Yard Sale Search website is perhaps one of the largest such databases currently on the web.
- Amish auctions. Auctions in general can be a fun experience and worth a look for cheap bartering items. But Amish auctions in particular offer a plethora of farming, livestock raising, and off-the-grid living tools, products and household items. One of the largest Amish auctions in the United States occurs twice a year in Ohio Amish Country. The Mount Hope Auction in Holmes County happens each March and October. Visitors to the auction hailed from towns several states away and they surely left with a truck or two full of great deals. Items commonly found at Amish auctions include fencing, solar generators, livestock feed, tack, seeds, livestock, muscle-powered tools and equipment for the homestead, wood stoves, wood burners, and hundreds of items related to living simply and off the land.
- U-Exchange is a website devoted entirely to the bartering process and includes members from multiple countries. Membership and individual listings to buy or sell are free. The search function for bartering items on the website is fairly sophisticated and allows for a combined location and keyword search. Even in my remote rural area I was able to find multiple listings for items and services I found useful within a one hour drive or less. U-Exchange members can upload and view photos of an item and contact other members directly to attempt to work out a deal and share more information. Listings can be edited at any time. A member does not necessarily have to currently possess an item to barter to sign up and interact with others. It is common to find experienced craftsmen willing to exchange their roofing, painting, farming, and general construction skills for other skills or items. Members may also post two links to their own websites.
- Flea markets. The thrill of bartering is always a sensation experienced when walking amid the tables at indoor and outdoor flea markets. Except in the warmer Southern states, flea markets typically close or reduce their hours during winter months. Usually some of the best deals can be found by browsing indoor flea markets during colder times of year. Some top online flea market directories include: Flea Market Zone, American Fleas, Flea Markets Across America, and the Flea Portal.