Social Pages

By Beryl Dalton

It's true that one man's trash is another man's treasure. The very item that you never plan to use again may be exactly what a neighbor is looking for. When you swap or trade it, you get something in return other than cash money. This makes the whole thing more fun than a routine shopping trip to the grocery store or the mall.

For example, you may have more eggs from your free-running hens than your family can use. You like selling eggs for money, because chicken feed costs a lot these days. However, you can also trade those eggs - which command up to four dollars a dozen at farmer's markets - for something you would otherwise shell out cash for.

Say you have a neighbor with a thumb so green that people slow down driving by to admire her perennials and bulbs. Go knock on the door and see if you can exchange eggs for root divisions, bulbs, or cuttings. You may get free planting advice and make a new friend as well.

This way, you save money on ornamental plants, money which you can then spend on chicken feed. You also may get to know neighbors all around, since others may have something you want. Perhaps the guy next door bought his home complete with garden tools galore, and he grows nothing but grass. Swap eggs or anything else under the sun for a rake or a hoe.

People hold designated swap meets, where part of the fun is never knowing what you'll find while trying to unload some item you no longer want. You may see something you don't even need, but you know that a friend would gladly trade for it. This friend just happens to have an unused pottery planter that you've had your eye on. Of course, anything goes at these meets. Some people may be swapping cars or trucks, while others may swap services: 'I'll paint your house if you rewire my garage."

Local classified ad magazines, many of which will publish an ad for free, often have entries that say: will trade for (whatever) in good condition. If you have a whatever on hand, you're golden.

This is great for those who may not have a lot of ready cash but still like the thrill of getting something new and different. After all, shopping is addictive because it's fun, even more than because what you get.

For people on fixed incomes, those who prefer retirement to getting a paycheck, or those who just like swapping and trading, this kind of transaction is great. You may even get more than the actual retail value for something you have when you exchange it for something that is valuable to you. This 'down-home' kind of face-to-face bargaining is hard to find in this modern day and age.

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