I used to think that the only way I was going to be financially happy was to own several automated car washes and laundromats. The constant "passive" cash-only income would support me (this was my dream before I had a family) and MAYBE I would report the cash income to the IRS for tax purposes...maybe.
Unreported cash income seemed to be best way to go if I wanted to live my own life and not report to The Office five days a week. Of course, the profit margin on these businesses aren't what they used to be and as I've grown up (stop snickering!) I've slowly come to accept that I may just have to "work" for the rest of my life (I have a large family now, social security obviously WON'T be there when I hit retirement age in 30 years, etc etc.)
So one of the things I have begun to implement is bartering. This week turned out to be a good week for my family. One of my trained "professional" skills is Sonography or performing ultrasound exams. Since there is no radiation involved ( I am also trained in Xrays and CT Scans = radiation), I can perform ultrasounds on people without the need for a Doctor's prescription and not worry about losing my license.
This week, after completing the third or fourth ultrasound on a family's pregnant mommy, I requested the use of their giant bounce house or jumper as some people refer to them. This family happens to have five of them and were more than happy to help me load it into my trailer and take it home for TWO WEEKS!
Just the sight of my childrens' faces as they walked out into the backyard as saw what Dad brought home was priceless. My 4th daughter just turned six yesterday and I told her this was her last of her birthday presents this year. All six of my girls played on it for hours AND the house was peaceful AND everyone went to bed on time and exhausted = win-win-win!
So my point is: look around you. What can you barter? Just like working can make you money, saving money can also "make" you money or at least help you keep what you have in your pocket a little longer. So, too does bartering. It cost me nothing to do the ultrasounds other than my time and between me, you and the fence post...I LOVE doing ultrasounds on babies. It is so fascinating to see God's little creation kicking around in mommy's tummy and to watch the parents faces glow with happiness while watching.
Spend an afternoon writing down some things you can do for barter. This will help keep the ideas in your mind when opportunities arise. I recently loaned out my trailer to a co-worker who needed to move things up to his bugout location three hours to the north of us. In exchange, he was more than happy to load me up with bags and bags of oranges. We have enough fresh squeezed orange juice to last a month and it didn't cost me a penny to loan out my trailer. I've also traded for bullet proof vests and leg holsters.
Every little bit helps. Do you barter?