Released January 5, 2009
URBANA - Swapping resources is a time-tested way to stay in control when money is tight, said a University of Illinois Extension consumer and family economics educator.
To begin, suggested Kathy Sweedler, think about what you'd like help with as well as what you do well. A bountiful summer garden, for instance, may provide fresh flowers and vegetables that can be traded for help with car maintenance. If you're handy with home repairs but hate doing taxes, find someone with the converse skills and you've got a barter.
"Bartering helps us stretch our dollars," she said. "Family members, including those who don't have a paid job, can contribute to the family's resources by bartering.
"The challenge is finding someone who needs your services and then setting the value of your service. Some communities have clearinghouses, civic groups, or publications to help."
Be creative. List your skills, talents and interests. Next, try to match your skills and talents to community needs, explained Sweedler. Try making your first swap with a friend, neighbor, or relative to build your confidence.
Bartering is just one of the tips offered by U of I Extension to help families deal with the economic crisis. The complete factsheet on bartering can be found on the Getting Through Tough Times website (http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/toughtimes/bartering.cfm).
Sweedler said bartering has significant advantages in tough economic times.
"It is important to determine your expectations in advance to avoid misunderstandings," she said.
Contacts: Kathy Sweedler, (217) 333-4901
Bob Sampson, (217) 244-0225, firstname.lastname@example.org