- Learn the ropes: If you're not comfortable with cyber-swapping, old-fashioned face-to-face swap meets are great places to catch the bartering bug. Find a swap meet near you at ListingFleaMarket.com. Since admission to most swap meets is inexpensive or even free, going to them also makes for an affordable and entertaining family outing.
- Barterers beware: Check merchandise carefully, and confirm services in writing before agreeing to a swap. If you're dissatisfied, recourse could be difficult or even impossible.
- Don't come up empty-handed: Turn over merchandise after you have received the agreed-upon services, or swap goods or services simultaneously.
- Be aware of taxes: The IRS generally requires barter transactions to be treated in the same way as cash exchanges for income tax purposes. The agency is becoming more interested in monitoring bartering transactions, particularly business-to-business exchanges and online bartering clubs. Exchanges of goods and services between individuals are subject to the same tax provisions, but it's clear that many such transactions go unreported. Consult IRS Publication 525, and a qualified tax professional, to better understand the tax consequences of your specific bartering activities.
Now let's make a deal!
Jeff Yeager is the author of the book, "The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches." His Web site is www.UltimateCheapskate.com.