Today I was reminded of something that over the years I take for granted because it’s become such a common occurrence for me….Bartering. Part of my living comes from cutting hair and it is a natural to trade haircuts for services and products with my clients. In the past thirty years I have traded hair care for plumbing and electrical work, my will, advertising, photography, art, yard care, to name just a few. The trade I made for my OB-GYN check-ups is my favorite because it’s so darn weird.
Today I cut a friend's hair and besides being an excellent writer she is also a landscape designer. We traded a half hour haircut for a half hour consultation regarding the future of my yard and garden. Perfect. I got something I would never go out and spend money on and she got her hair cut.
If it’s bartering for a service I try to trade straight across, time for time. That means when it comes to something like my will I’m getting an incredibly good deal from an attorney who charges way more than I do per hour. Even if you can’t finagle the time for time arrangement it’s still better than putting out the cash. And I am all for keeping that cash in your pocket.
Perhaps it’s my Native American heritage but this interchange makes so much sense to me and I love that it harkens back to a time when life was simpler, more organic. I imagine exchanging garden produce for baked goods or hand-made beads for animal hides. (I haven’t done the bead for hides exchange yet.) We all have a skill or product that can be bartered. And if it doesn’t work in your family/friend community there are larger communities on the internet in your area. Just think of what you need or want, whether it be products or services. It can be babysitting, transportation, a hand knit sweater, interior decorating, whatever your heart desires and your mind can imagine. Then consider what skill or product you have to barter with. We all have our own particular gifts to trade.