Handshakes Print by Paperchat on Etsy

By Gabrielle. Handshake print by Paperchat.

I’d love your thoughts on bartering. Do you do it? Did your parents? If yes, what sorts of things do you barter for?

My Dad was big on bartering. He was good at it and he used his skills to give us childhood experiences that we couldn’t afford otherwise. My dad was a public school teacher and there were 8 kids. My mom was an adjunct professor at our local college, but Dad’s paycheck was what we mainly lived on, and as you can imagine, there was never quite enough money in the monthly budget.

But my dad always had a side job going on as well. For many years, he ran a picture framing business from a workshop in our basement, and he would barter picture framing for things like my ballet lessons. Not joking! I remember my ballet teacher visiting our home so she could pick out frames and mats.

When I was a teenager my parents published a newspaper for senior citizens as a side job, and my dad would barter ad space in the paper for things like dry-cleaning. I couldn’t afford an expensive wardrobe, but I could get anything dry cleaned at any time!

I’ve been thinking about bartering — and especially bartering on behalf of kids — because Ben Blair and I bartered for June’s preschool this year. We’re making videos for the school in exchange for tuition — our biggest bartering experience by far. It’s been such a blessing! And it’s opened my eyes to other bartering possibilities.

How about you? Is bartering in your genes?

P.S. — My dad was also an epic haggler at flea markets and garage sales. But I can’t stand haggling! I’m the worst at it and I get so uncomfortable I basically remove myself from the situation. My stomach aches just remembering my dad haggling. Hah!