When times get tough, it's time to start bartering.

In case you're unfamiliar with the concept, bartering involves a swapping or trading of goods and services for other goods and services without the use of money. Bartering can involve two people, several people or groups of people. In developing countries, bartering is a common mode for transactions involving food, domestic work and physical labor.

In the current economic climate, we're all getting a little more creative. I'm not only referring to using eBay or swap sites like SwapThing, but the idea of offering a service that a friend, acquaintance or professional contact values in exchange for something that you need or want to accomplish. Or, in my case, bartering involves a balance I'm looking to pay down.

So I'm running a balance at my dentist's office. I don't currently have dental coverage and even if I did, there are many services that aren't covered or covered appropriately. My dentist has been great and I've paid a nominal sum on my bill each month. In talking with him, I realized he could use my writing/editing skills to help him market his services more efficiently. I came up with a proposal to rewrite the copy on his Web sites that will help me pay down my bill. It's a service he needed and the time was right. I placed a value on my writing and editing services, offered him an hourly rate and we are set to begin work soon.

Don't miss the rest of our series on Underrated In America!


If you're short on cash, bartering is a great idea. You can barter for everything from babysitting, cleaning and housekeeping services to repair work and professional services. Not everything in our economy needs to revolve around the cash economy. Think about bartering...

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Introduction to Economic Indicators

Measure the performance of the economy.

View Course »

How to Buy a Car

How to get the best deal and buy a car with confidence.

View Course »