Right now, a record number of people are getting into bartering. In other words, trading goods and services with each other. It used to be the mainstay of economic life during Colonial days. For example, a chicken farmer would trade eggs for beef from a rancher. With the rise of banks and paper money that was easy to carry, currency overtook bartering, and the practice eventually died out. Today, bartering is all the rage, and it’s gone high-tech. A skyrocketing number of websites are cropping up that let people from all over the world trade everything from lawnmowers, to Paris vacations. Trendspotters have even given the phenomenon a modern-day name: Collaborative consumption.
So, why is bartering back in style? Rachel Bostman is the co-author of “The Rise of Collaborative Consumption.” She says that it’s a perfect storm of factors. More people than ever are concerned about the environment, and the recession has forced all of us to get creative with cash. So, people figure they’re already socializing with others all over the world via Facebook and Twitter. Why not take it one step further and share goods with them, while saving the earth and money. So, here are the top barter sites to check out:
- Neighbor Goods. It’s free to register. Just enter your ZIP code, and instantly, a list of everyone in your area who’s looking to barter pops up. If you’re interested in an item, you simply email the owner of the product to negotiate the terms.
- Then there’s the travel bartering website: Air BNB. It links hosts and travelers from all over the world. You simply search for accommodations in your target city and price range, and then you’re connected to a host to arrange a deal.
- Finally, can’t find a good car loan? Check out The Lending Club. Members looking for loans post what they're seeking, and members looking to invest money can finance the loans. Borrowers get lower-than-average rates, and investors get above-average returns.