Bartering and exchange

Bartering involves the exchange of goods and services directly for other good and services without using money. It’s probably the most primitive form of trade, and has the advantage that you don’t need any money to start to make things happen – just a good peer group who are willing to help you out in return for your skills when they need it.

You might barter some skills with artists, but you don’t have to limit yourself to this.  If you can design a website or paint murals why not offer these skills in return for help with your tax return, childcare or even driving lessons?  Artists have also used barter as a way to build up an art collection.

For the more adventurous, you could have a go at setting up your own bartering network with two well-known models:

  • Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS) work on the principle of exchanges goods and services without using money.  LETS use a system of community credits, so that direct exchanges do not have to be made.  You earn and spend credits within the scheme for anything you need.
  • Timebanks work similarly to LETS with a system of credits that can be exchanged.  There are a number of Timebanks in London that you can get involved in.

Artquest’s Exchange network is an example of how artists can exchange their studios to have the opportunity to work in another place or country in a cost-effective way.

Be warned – if you’re a member of a scheme where you can exchange credits for real money, the tax office will count is as an earning and you’ll need to pay tax.

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