A Modern Take on Bartering to Stretch Your Budget

In the past, a traditional family had a father going out and earning a living to support his household while the mother remained home to care for the home and the needs of the family. In today’s world, however, a family can have the traditional father and mother, a single parent of either gender, or two parents who are the same gender. One thing that hasn’t really changed throughout the years is the need to save money whenever possible, especially if there is only one parent working. The good news is that, with a little creativity and careful management, having a full time homemaker in the family doesn’t have to put as much of a strain on the budget as you might think. While it does tend to be a lost art, bartering can help a long way towards stretching a budget.

Taking Inventory of What You Can Offer

When it comes to the art of bartering, especially if you’re using bartering as a method of acquiring what you need to run your household, it’s vital that you take complete stock of what you have to offer to negotiate for what you need. For example, you may love to bake pies, cookies and cakes, but this takes sugar and flour and other ingredients. You might have neighbors and friends who love your baked goods but they hate to bake. The logical thing to do is to offer to bake for these people in exchange for them buying the ingredients. Since it doesn’t take an entire bag or sugar or flour to make one cake, pie or batch of cookies, you have an ample supply for your household. This is bartering to exchange your services for someone else’s goods.


Prioritizing is determining what your needs are and what your desires or luxuries might be. This might seem like a daunting task but, when you give it a little thought, you’ll find that a lot of the things you consider important are actually luxuries. Once you’ve mastered the basics of bartering, you might be surprised to see how easy it is to acquire a few of the luxuries. One of the beauties of the bartering system is that everyone’s priorities tend to vary depending on their situation. A good example of this would be someone whose children have outgrown their clothing, but they may be in need of some other items. If you have easy access to those items, but your children need some new clothes, then you have an easy trade.

Don’t Be Afraid to be a Minor Pack Rat

It’s important to remember that if you’re bartering, you never know when something you no longer need can be traded for something you do. A good rule of thumb is that if something has is not worn out then you should keep it, because someone else might be able to use it. There are also free cycling groups that you can check out. These groups are not really about bartering, but more about gifting. They simply offer up something they no longer want and it can be claimed by anyone who may have a need for it.

In Closing

If you’re truly committed to being a full-time homemaker and you are willing to be creative and think outside of the box, then it’s not hard to be successful when it comes to bartering. Remember to take inventory of what you can offer, prioritize, and free cycle what you don’t need. Bartering might seem like a new and scary proposition, but people have been bartering long before money ever existed.

About the Author

Emma Martin is an avid garage sale fan, regularly scouring her city for unique finds and great deals. Weirdest thing she ever bought at a yard sale: a dinner plate with George W. Bush’s picture covering it. She is a content contributor for Yard Sale Search.

*Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*