Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Make-it-work Wednesday: back-to-basics of bartering...

Since giving up my big-girl job and becoming a stay-at-home Mom, I've had to find some pretty creative ways to stretch a dollar.  The most fascinating thing I've discovered about this whole transition period, is that it's a little like getting in Doc's Delorian and going back in time.  If you don't have money anymore, you have to find a different way to acquire things.  Since stealing and hooking are still morally out of the question for our family's list of resources, we've gone back-to-basics on a lot of our "purchases."

There is no more, "I want that.  So I'll just buy it."  It's more like, "I want that.  So I either need to sell something to earn the money for it, trade something for it, or decide if I really want it bad enough to part with one of my things, or some of my time to get it."  Think Hunger Games...  You want bread?  Kill a squirrel for the baker.  Luckily my husband makes pretty awesome bread, because squirrels are fast and small, and don't make easy targets.  And if you want to get super technical, Back to the Future and The Hunger Games are both set in the future, not the past, but just hear me out and go with it...

Just to give you an idea of what I mean by all this, here are a few things that we've bought, sold, traded, or otherwise creatively acquired without spending my husband's paycheck since downsizing to one income:    

~ 4 sessions of babysitting = 1 dining room table...  We needed a new table, my friend had one that was too big for the dining room in her new house, she needed a sitter, I had some free time, everyone wins.

~1 afternoon of helping a friend move = 1 giant jar of maple syrup.  Same friend that the table came from.  Folks you need to go get a friend like this... just not this one.  She's mine.  

~1 big box of old clothes = a few articles of "new" clothing... Each season I go through my closet and pull out any clothing and accessories that haven't been worn since the last clean-out.  I box it all up, bring it to the 2nd hand shop, take whatever money they'll give me for it, and use the money to buy some new clothes.  *Bonus:  To help rid my house of unnecessary clutter, I swing by Goodwill afterwards and drop off anything that the 2nd hand shop wasn't interested in buying.  If I was willing to part with it in the first place, than it doesn't need to come back home with me.

~100 gallons of unused heating oil + 1 fuel tank = 1 new sports bra, a faucet for the new master bathroom shower, and a week's worth of groceries...  We recently upgraded our ancient old oil heating system to a new propane one, and the fuel company was going to charge us to pump the left-over oil out of the tank.  Not to mention having no idea what to do with the giant oil tank taking up valuable storage space in our basement.  My husband found a guy on craigslist that was interested in buying the oil, and the guy also happened to know of a church that needed the tank.  We took a loss on what we originally paid for the fuel, but instead of us paying even more for the fuel company to get it gone and having to figure out what to do with the tank, the guy paid us to take it all.  

~A few yards of fabric = 1 haircut...  I've recently started going through my monstrous fabric stash and selling some of it on Etsy.  This frees up storage space in our home, and gives me a few extra buck to get my shaggy 'do spiffed up.  

~A few bottles of my homemade cleaning products = fence posts for the chicken yard...  I make the stuff for use in our home anyway, so when I make a batch, I make extra, bottle it, and sell it on Etsy.  It doesn't sell like hotcakes, but it sells enough to put a a few extra dollars in my bank.  Over the course of a couple months, it became enough to purchase a bunch of fence posts with.

Thanks for stopping by,


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