barter economy

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What is a Barter Economy?

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Times have changed, and economic uncertainty has people considering other ways of connecting to receive goods and services than good old hard cash. With people isolating, avoiding shopping in large stores, and looking at building a self-sufficient lifestyle at home, bartering is working its way into the mainstream. But what is bartering really? What is a barter economy? And how do you create a barter economy?

Defining A Barter Economy

Bartering is defined as, “The exchange of goods and services between two or more parties without the use of money”. It is one of the oldest economic systems – based on mutual want between two people. A very simple, basic example of bartering is two farmers – one who raises chickens and has eggs, and another with a garden full of vegetables. The person with vegetables wants to make a pie and needs eggs. The farmer needs carrots for some soup. Together they decide how many eggs are worth a dozen carrots and make the trade.

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However, bartering isn’t limited to exchanging the same type of item for another of the same type. You do not have to trade goods for goods or services for services. You can mix and match based on your needs. For example, you may find someone willing to handle the butchering of your chickens in exchange for a number of whole chickens to roast. Then it is up to the two of you to determine how many chickens an hour of butchering and plucking is worth!

Is a Barter Economy Right for My Homestead?

Is working with others in a barter economy the right decision for your homestead? Why would you want to become part of a barter economy? The most important reason is simply that you can work with other local people to create a community that actually values your goods and services as much as you value them. When someone else sets the price, you have no power of negotiation. The value of your goods and services is determined outside of you. But working with someone else to get something you need by giving them something they need, you determine your own value.

Chances are you’re already engaged in bartering if you’re on social media. Popular “Buy, Sell, Trade” community groups on social media platforms are a simple example of bartering. People are trading items and services to reach a goal.

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How Do I Start Bartering?

It’s easy for you to start bartering. Check out your favorite social media and look for a “Buy, Sell, Trade” group. Join up and list your goods or services. Create a list of goods or services that you need. Prepare to negotiate with anyone who reaches out to you. You will need to practice negotiating but you will also get better over time. Practice at your local farmer’s market! A farmer’s market is a great place to connect with local community members and create a mutually beneficial exchange.

You could also create a barter community of your own, right where you are. It’s easy to start with social media groups or on places like Craigslist. Encourage people to list their skills, goods, or items, and take care to make plain in your community rules that this is a cashless community that exchanges goods and services. Members should list what they can give and what they are looking for, the group should facilitate communication for trading partners, and everyone should understand that they should establish and stick to their own agreements.

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