I love local bartering. I love the thrill of the hunt, the randomness, the happy coincidences. I’m pretty sure my husband hates it, for those exact same reasons
It does take some hunting, some leg work. There’s no other way to canvas garage sales than to just put in the legwork. Although, networking can help; if you and your sisters and your mom all know that you need size 5T winter outer gear, you’re much more likely to get it. Th e randomness, you never know what will be for sale, when, and in what condition. I find though, that if I’m patient enough and a little flexible, I can usually find what I need without packing everyone to Walmart.
Most of the local barter still uses US dollars. I expect though that they could quickly and easily switch to alternate currencies or out right barter if the situation demanded it.
Garage sales – An obvious. Watch for patterns in the frequency, my town has an organized weekend of city garage sales in the early summer, and then there’s usually another strong weekend right before school starts. For the organized weekend of sales, I was able to arrange for my neighbor to help me haul a piece of furniture home. He’s got a truck that otherwise sits as driveway bling. 😀 I feel it’s my patriotic duty to make sure his poor truck has random heavy things to haul around. 😀 Know a goldmine when you see it, I know when I find someone selling a garage full of little boys clothing, I need to spend all of the cash I have on hand, and then plan to go get more cash and come back if they have a good assortment of what I’ll need in the next year.
Plan ahead – Boy #1 is only in 3T, but I keep an eye out for everything up through 5T, especially for hard to find or particularly good quality things. When the consignment stores slashed prices on summer clothing, I went and grabbed some pieces for what boy #2 will likely need next summer.
Consign intelligently – I love consignment shops, I really do. They are picky about what they will take in, so I always find high quality clothing when there’s a need for something nice for a boy. I always open consignor accounts with them. As I go through clothing, if I know we won’t be needing it anymore, I send the best of the pieces through the consignment shop and I get store credit for what sells. We’ve gone from 1 consignment store in town, to 5 in the space of 6 months. Interesting, that.
Get online! Freecycle, Craigslist, for sale by owner, USE THESE RESOURCES!!
The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 5,057 groups with 9,056,853 members around the world. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers (them’s good people). Membership is free.
Criagslist – I’ve found that searches can help narrow things down. Usually I’ll do a search for the top 6 things I’m looking for at the time. Sometimes I’ll do a search for my little town to see what’s available really close.
Don’t overlook farmer’s markets. I’ve exchanged labor for food, I can count on my egg gal to save me the last dozen of the eggs, I get discount prices when I’m buying enough to put away.
Get out there and start finding your local barter options. You’ll be glad you took the time.
– Calamity Jane