Today I have been downloading “apps” I think my husband would like for his new ipod touch. I should say it’s “new to him.” I’ve very much wanted to do something like this for a while, but there was no way we could afford an ipod anything while we’re trying to pay down debt.

What we did have were two older Sidekick Slides sitting in a drawer. I was scanning the barter ads on craigslist and found a request for a Sidekick, willing to trade an ipod touch 8gb. We traded both our Sidekicks for the ipod.
It would be easy to argue that we didn’t make a dollar for dollar trade, so it wasn’t wise, but I completely disagree. We had two items of zero value to us, that we could trade for an item of value, and vice-versa.
Successful bartering is about exchanging something you have for something you want/need. One of the most well-known stories was last month’s article about the young man who bartered a cell phone into an eventual Porsche. I don’t think I’m quite that industrious, but I do search the local Craigslist for suitable bartering options, both for personal items and business services.
Rule #1: I don’t barter something I don’t really want to give away. If the thought of selling, bartering, or giving away an item makes me feel hesitant or sad, I won’t barter it. It’s not worth the “oops” feelings.
Rule #2: I don’t barter for anything I don’t really want. I think it’s great that the kid bartered his way to the Porsche that he wanted, but what if he was stuck along the way with the classic Bronco or the MacBook Pro? I don’t think he would’ve been heartbroken.
Rule #3: Always ask. I saw a bartering ad where a man was offering roof repair/replacement labor in trade for massage therapy services. Don’t ever think that something is too big or too small to barter for; you’ll miss out on some great surprises.