Sharing goods and bartering for food, services, or clothing is nothing new. Since the beginning of time, people have used methods of sharing and bartering to build communities. Thanks in large part to the Internet and social media, these age-old practices are beginning to see a boost in popularity.
As parents, we are constantly teaching our children that sharing is a good and important thing. We do this because as adults we realize the importance of helping one another and developing an attitude of compassion and a spirit of giving. These are the things that sustainable families, friendships, and communities are built on; and yet, it seems as if competition and success are what really drives us. We compete for the biggest house, the nicest car, the better career, the higher income, the smartest children, the trendiest clothes…
However, during these days of high unemployment, lowered incomes, and a renewed sense of fiscal responsibility it is vital that we have an open hand approach toward each other.
Where do I start?
Begin today, sharing with your friends and neighbors, by discovering ways to combine resources in order to save money and reduce wastefulness. For starters…we can stop holding on to our possessions with a clinched fist. Instead of thinking about ways in which to build fences, we should be working together to tear them down.
Here are a few things that will help:
- Exchange time, not dollars.
- Share yard tools between neighbors (i.e. lawn mower, leaf blowers, shop vac).
- Volunteer your services with a homeless shelter, crisis center, or any other not-for-profit organization.
- Car share or carpool (for work, errands, or any other time the use of a car is required).
- Make a meal for the family in your neighborhood that just had a baby.
- Put your creative ideas on a blog and share them with the world.
- Offer your assistance to the widow who just lost her husband.
- Share your knowledge of almost-forgotten skills with the younger generation before they are lost forever.
- Give those items that are cluttering your house to friends or charities that you know could really use them.
- Look into starting a community garden in your neighborhood this coming spring (now is the time to start planning).
- Become a member of a local CSA (community supported agriculture) or food co-op.
- Start participating on Freecycle.
- Perform random acts of kindness.
- Eat together with friends and/or family weekly.
- Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!
- Host a swap party — get your friends and neighbors together one evening, tell everyone to bring things they’d like to swap, and walk away with something new!
- When someone wants to repay you for something, ask them to pay it forward instead.
- Look into borrowing and lending things through Share Some Sugar.
- Barter on Craigslist. Or you could try u-exchange, trashbank, or care to trade.
- If you must buy…always look to buy used first.
- Share your tips with others online or through a free ebook.
- Get a library card.
- Support and invest in a friend who needs your help.
- Give homemade gifts.
- Share your skills freely with others.
Now It’s Your Turn
Daily Goal: List ways in which you can use the principles of sharing and bartering to help save money and build your community.