Friday, February 27, 2009

Looking at the brighter side...

People seem to pull together when times get tough, and the current economic crisis is no exception. One of my friends recently had an experience that illustrates this point well. My friend lives in a lovely house with a granny flat on the back of the property, which he rents out to a young yuppie and his wife. Things had been going fine, but recently over the course of a few weeks of our current financial crisis, the young man lost his job and his wife was laid off from her work as a receptionist.

Around that time he had a plumbing leak that caused a lot of ceiling and wall damage and was faced with a huge and expensive repair job. Fortunately, as it turns out, he ran into his tenant, and while chatting, they both shared their problems. As it turned out, the young man had done construction work with his father during summer breaks from school, and so they agreed to a barter exchange. He is getting his wall repairs done for the cost of the supplies, while the young man gets a big break on his rent, allowing time for him and his wife to find work and get back on their feet.

As a kid, I remember my Mom and Dad telling my brother and I stories about bartering goods and services during hard times. My grandmother used to sew for neighbors who in turn provided her family with eggs, milk, and other foodstuffs. We may not be experiencing a major world war or a great depression, but many people are finding themselves between a financial rock and a hard place these days. So it makes sense to look at ways to get goods and services that don't require cash.

For some it might be trading babysitting for housecleaning or repair work or for others offering a free ride to the job for help with bookkeeping or taxes. Offering services to a friend, coworker, or a professional in exchange for something they could in turn provide for you is an excellent way to get what you need even when cash flow is low.

Should you find yourself a bit short on cash during these uncertain times, or if you simply wish to keep your overhead down, you might want to consider a little bartering. Think about a special talent or service that you could offer. Then think about services you could use at this time and how you could barter for them. In addition to saving money, you'll also build ties in your community. It can be a win-win situation for all in the end.

Until next week, have a great weekend!

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