9 Tips For Successful “Community Barter”

Kathy Peel, author of The Busy Mom’s Guide to a Happy, Organized Home and founder of Family Manager Inc., offers these tips if a little short on time and money.

·         Team up with a co-worker. Monday and Wednesday dinners, you both cook in double portions and pack the extra in coolers. The next day you take that portion to the office. Now on Tuesday and Thursday nights you’re both off kitchen duty without grabbing fast food on the way home. HUH? DO you understand this? I DO NOT! Does it mean you give somebody a cold meal for THEM to take home to dinner?   Well, I do think that my fave recipe, mushroom nutburgers take so much work that I'd love to make a big batch Share them and use them as a form of scrip. I'd get back a frozen meal from ten friends.

·         Trade housework for decorating tasks. Suggest to a friend that you will help her paint her child’s bedroom if she helps you wallpaper a bathroom. (I organize poorly. Every room is a paper strewn MESS. I'd trade astrology, palmistry, party entertaining by fortunetelling for aid at organizing.)

·         Host a swap party. Decide on a theme like toys, baby equipment or costume jewelry. Invite friends to bring a dozen items along to swap. Without spending a cent, everyone goes home with something “new.”

·         Trade out chores with a friend. You have a green thumb but your closets look like they were hit by a hurricane. Your neighbor has a black thumb but makes quick work of cluttered closets. You plant her winter flowers and veggies. She streamlines your pantry and garage: You both spread the beauty.

·         Launch a dinner club with other couples. Take turns playing celebrity chef, entertain at home, silver, candles, cloth napkins, screening a movie afterwards and skip the pricey restaurants, theatre parking and costly tickets! So the film has been out for a few months. BFD.

·         Use your gifts. You’re a below-average cook but you wrap presents like Picasso paints. Tell a friend you’ll wrap her gifts if she’ll bake your family’s holiday treats. Done and done. Everybody wins.

·         Co-op on the kids. Ask three moms with like-aged children to join a holiday baby-sitting co-op. Each mom entertains the kids for a few hours on one of four days. Everybody saves on sitter costs and gains personal time to shop and run errands instead of all three moms stuck at home 24/7!! Do the MATH!

·         Clean up on cleaning up. When you spiff up your home for a party or guests, ask a neighbor doing the same to split the rental cost of a carpet-cleaning machine. Always make your own rug cleaner. Plenty of formulas exist on the internet. Ammonia, dishwater soap, hot water and vinegar work for me.

·         Traveling over the holidays? Ask a friend to come to your home to feed, water and exercise your pet. Return the favor and you both save on boarding fees.

.         I grow easy stuff, tomatos, zucchinis, someonen else does the hard stuff, peppers, eggplant. We get that overload, we share.