Barter for a Bargain: What Can You Get Without Cash?

••• iStock Photography

Overview

Strapped for cash? Why not barter? Bartering is a way for people to trade goods for services (and vice versa) without cash. The International Reciprocal Trade Association estimates that $12 billion non-cash transactions happened in 2010. But, what can bartering do for you? The sky is the limit when it comes to bartering, from maintenance services to children's clothing. Just keep in mind that the IRS still demands you pay taxes on all non-cast transactions.

Exchange Sweat Equity for Reduced Rent

If you are good with tools and handiwork, offer to make repairs or do maintenance for your landlord in exchange for reduced rental expenses. Cutting the grass every week could cut more than $1,000 off your yearly rent.

Trade for Free Fruits and Vegetables

Why trade apples to apples when you can get peaches or plums for those apples? If you have a fruit tree or grow vegetables in a garden, exchange some of yours with a neighbor who grows different food products.

Swap for Free Services

If you are a skilled seamstress or computer programmer, offer to trade your services with someone else who can offer you a service, such as teaching you a foreign language or how to surf.

Outgrown? Trade Up

When kids outgrow their clothes, books or even bunk beds, offer to trade their "gently used" possessions for toys, tutoring or even a treehouse. You'll never know what someone is willing to part with unless you ask.

Trade Books and Video Games

If you need new reading material or want to try a new video game, offer to swap your old books and games with a friend.

Trade Business Services

If you have web or graphic design skills, offer to design a logo for a bookkeeping firm in exchange for accounting services. Don't forget that if you're trading professional services (provided to or by you), it must be included in the income you report to the IRS. It doesn't matter that the transaction was cash-free.

Swap Electronic Equipment

Whether you want to play those old home movies on DVD or rekindle your childhood with a classic TV show, make your move. Offer your smartphone or video game system that you no longer use to someone who wants to clean out his garage and needs to pawn off that antiquated device.