Bartering Is Alive and Well!


Design work.

Piano lessons.


All things a friend of mine gets free through bartering!

Remember that old fashioned way to transact?! Something our ancestors did for thousands of years before cash money became a thing? 🙂

I’ll be honest and say I haven’t given it any thought in at least a decade (I once wanted to trade a website for a house – thinking it would be cool to exchange a digital property for a physical one, lol…), but now my brain is on fire with all the possibilities!

I ran into her the other day, and after noticing she had way more tattoos on her than I remembered, I struck up a conversation and here’s how it went down:


ME: “Woah!! Look at all those new tats!! You’ve been busy!”

HER: “Thanks! I bartered for them!”

ME: “Excuse me, what?”

HER: “I bartered for them! We have this thing going on, where my tattoo artist hooks me up with free tattoos whenever I want them, and I hook him and his wife up with haircuts whenever they need them. It’s been a great partnership.”

ME: *** hurriedly makes mental notes for a blog post later… ***

ALSO ME: “Gosh that is cool…. Do you barter for anything else or just tats?! I feel like you could do a lot with this!”

HER: “Oh yeah, I give hair cuts for design work for my albums, free photography, and lately even piano lessons… Which I definitely lose money on, but I also don’t spend any money so it comes out worth it in the end.”

*I should mention my friend is a professional hair stylist – thus why everyone wants her scissor hands… She’s also an up and coming local musician, so all the design/photog work has been a blessing in getting her album artwork done without having to scrounge up the money for it.

HER: “I also make sure to check in with everyone every few months just to double check they’re all still happy with the set up – especially the tattoo artist. And then we adjust if needed… It’s been working out great.”


And I would say so given that I saw at least 5 new tattoos on her since the last time we met! Here are a few of the more colorful ones for your eyeballs’ pleasure:

picasso face tattoo

rocket ship tattoo

lets jog tattoo

[That last one actually MAKES me want to get out and jog!! Haha… That could be a cool hack to get you to do stuff more – just tattoo it on your body! ;)]

What I love best though outside the savings, is the mutual *respect* each of the parties has to have for one another in order for this to work.

If either person doesn’t think the other is talented enough, then there’s no way you’d exchange anything for it, no less actually *want* what the other person is offering. So with each new barter here you’re basically saying, “Hey – your stuff is awesome! I’d love to have it!” and vice versa. Particularly with the tattoos since, you know, they are PERMANENTLY MARKED ON YOUR SKIN FOREVER, lol…

In a way this also reminds me of another kinda sorta but not really bartering-related mindset I call “gigs for goals” – where you assign each income stream to an expense so they even out and you can appreciate it more.

Kinda like this:

gigs for goals

There’s no bartering being transacted here, but by assigning each gig to a goal you’re effectively doing the same thing in terms of mindset – “doing this one gig gets me this one item.” It gives you a more concrete reason to hustle, but also honestly just FEELS better and more motivating than just working harder for “more money.” At least for those of us who are emotionally intertwined with money like I am.

In fact, I’ve been kinda doing a combo of this bartering/gigs for goals concept myself with my own consulting services…

I’ve noticed that whenever I tell someone I’d love to have XY or Z but am too frugal to pony up the money for it, they’re more inclined to hire me and we both get a nice win out of it! Like a few months ago when I tweeted that I wanted a rare book for $75 and asked if anyone needed some work done so I could buy it. I had over 5 people reach out to hire me and I was able to pick up the book by the end of the week! (Thanks guys!!)

I even made a Wish List of this type of stuff last month to see if I can continue my luck 🙂 Here’s a sample of some of the items I put on it, again mainly things I’d love to have but just can’t get myself to spend the $$$ on:

wish list - consulting

So far only one person has taken me up on this Wish List route, lol, but hey – one is better than none! And again – it’s just a more fun and exciting way to think of this stuff than a more colder “pay me $100 and I’ll help you” type of transaction. And most times you’re going to convert your earnings into *something* anyways, so why not visualize it from the start to make it more real?

At any rate, all this to say that bartering is very much alive and well, and if you haven’t considered it before (especially if you’re cash flow is low or you’re just starting out in your journey!) do give it some thought and see if you can make something work!

You don’t have to be a professional hairstylist or tattoo artist or anything really to make it happen, but do figure out what you’re *best* at and then start sharing it around and see if you get some hits… You’ll be amazed at what people would pay or trade for, and we usually don’t give ourselves nearly as much credit as we should as we always assume”everyone knows this stuff” which is rarely the case!

So make a list of your skills (or passions), have your best friends and family members do the same, and then exchange notes and see if there’s any good match ups there. Or better yet – approach the places/people who you know offer what you want and then pitch them on a trade! Worst case they say no and you’ve wasted what, approximately 2 minutes of your life?

Here’s a list of stuff I enjoy helping with and am good at – if anything here is needed in your life/business, feel free to practice pitching me and we’ll see if there’s a fit 🙂

  • Blogging / branding / building / marketing / monetizing
  • Money / saving / debt / mindset / lifestyle design
  • Community building / branding / engaging / growing
  • FinTech / connecting / marketing / branding / engaging
  • Coin collecting / evaluating / inventorying / liquidating
  • Micro-philanthropy / engaging / fundraising / strategizing
  • Blog brokering / buying / selling / valuing

(More about my services/testimonials here: J$ Consulting)

Or of course you can always just buy me something off my Wish List and make this blogger happy!! Haha… Like a used surfboard that is not there yet but I really need to add as I JUST LEARNED HOW TO SURF last week and I’m now (unsurprisingly) addicted!!! OMG it’s so much fun – it’s just like skating, only hurts 10x less when you fall!! 😂

But more on that for another day… If you have a surf board though sitting in your garage doing nothing, I WANT IT and will trade any of my services for it!

Alright, now 1-2-3 go barter!!!!

Make your ancestors (and your wallet) proud!

j. money signature

UPDATE: Okay wow…. As soon as I finished this post my good friend Nate called me and you’re not going to guess what he and a friend just came up with??! They decided to give each other 10 hours of their time each week to help them build out their projects!! One will be doing SEO/Email Marketing/Content-related stuff for the other, and the other will be doing Networking and Business/Product Development.


Talk about a coincidence on timing!! I told Nate I hated him so much for telling me this cuz now I have to go back and edit this post again!!, lol, but man gotta love it… So many ways you can get what you want in the world, with or without money! Just gotta get creative!

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