Tis’ the Season to Barter… How to barter in your favor

By Heather Green

Tis the season to

The concept of bartering, trading of goods and services without the exchange of money has been used throughout history. While it is not as common today, because everyone is looking for paper currency, it is still a very effective and beneficial tool we underestimate.

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love Christmas lights, shopping, the music and most of all- a fresh Christmas tree.

I LOVE fresh trees they create such magic for the kiddies
I LOVE fresh trees they create such magic for the kiddies

The hardest part about the Holidays is that our schedules are jam packed with holiday parties and personal engagements that working (to make money) sometimes falls to the back burner. All the personal bills don’t stop, and the credit card bills get maxed because of our need to buy presents, so if there is ever a great time to learn to barter, December is the time :)

Each year when I create a new vision board, I try to see if there are any bartering possibilities to help my visions become reality until I win the lotto. I always  put a dream trip with my hubby on my vision board. I think its important to spend alone time building your marriage at least once a year. I also make a list of “things to get done throughout the year” and evaluate that list too.

Then I get to work. For the past 4 years I have bought my fresh tree from Home Depot. I love their tree selection and I always choose the tallest tree I can find. The problem is trees are priced by height so the bigger, the more expensive the tree. Lets just say I spend a two hour party on a tree. But for me it brings me so much happiness and joy. So, when I was reviewing my list I decided to choose a few areas to evaluate possibilities to barter.

The first barter opportunity I put into action was to barter face painting for a fresh tree. On average  spend between $150-$250 on a tree and Id much rather spend that money on presents or savings. So I reached out to Home Depot with this letter.


My name is Heather Green and I have been shopping at your store for the past 5 years. I love your store because I have always received the best service and the store always looks awesome.

As I eagerly await the arrival of your Christmas tree selection,  I got an idea. I have purchased my tree from your tree tent and every year my tree is the highlight of Christmas. I tell everyone about the Home Depot selection. I was wondering if you would be interested in kicking off the opening of your tree tent with a kids corner. I am a local face painter, and love working with kids.. My idea is to offer free face painting while the parents pay and load their trees. From years experience that’s when the tent is most hectic, because kids have less patience. I would be able to provide a coloring station and free face painting for 2-3 hours ( hours of your choice) in exchange for a tree. I think the combination of tree shopping and festive fun is a great addition to the tent and would make it a fun experience for all.

If you are interested in creating smiles together please do not hesitate to give me a call so we can discuss times.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my idea. Happy Holidays

Heather Green

Silly Farm & My FAB Events

I faxed a copy, mailed a copy and called a week later to follow up. Follow up is KEY to any correspondence. Usually store managers are so busy they rarely have time to read mail or answer faxes, but I like to be persistent. And yay! This year I will have an extra $200 to save instead of on a tree.

I do not recommend bartering your services during super busy times or on the weekends if possible. The great thing about bartering for a tree is that they have all sorts of hours and week night are usually a good times for them. I love during the week jobs because they leave my weekends open.

Another barter opportunity that fit into my vision board is a staycation barter. For the past 10 years we have bartered with a nice hotel in Miami for a weekend stay including brunch. I jump right on it because then I know that if I cant get out of town for a get away with my hubby then at least I have a mini vacation in my back yard. Most hotels have holiday company parties and like to barter for the entertainment. Its a great way to show your services off to hotels, especially those that host large events. Not only will you get a vacation out of it, you can also get yourself in the door with the employees :)

toes in the sand .. staycation courtesy of a barter
toes in the sand .. staycation courtesy of a barter

To find out about company Holiday parties you can call the hotel and ask for the events department. Then you can kindly ask who handles the company holiday party. Try to ask for an email so you can send a nice letter about trading services. Naturally everyone is looking for a good deal, so when you can double up on great deals on both ends you have a wining proposition!

There is one thing that we do EVERY single day that consumes most of our money, its called eating :)

So another great bartering opportunity is to barter with restaurants for food coupons. There is a local pizza place that I love it eat at. The pizza is so good and my boys love it too. So I approached the manager about bartering for food coupons. He would pay me $200 food coupons for 2 hours and that helped me treat my boys to pizza 4 times a month.

Little savings add up and if you work them right, you can barter on nights or days that you arent giving up work. Many times I see painters offer their services  for free or volunteer and “expect”  they will receive some level of compensation. But it always helps to negotiate and barter ahead of time. That way you can see the value of the exchange.

Now make your list for the year of expenses, possibilities, wants and needs. Set some time aside to evaluate and locate opportunities to barter. And remember there’s also a tax incentive for bartering. So, it can be a double win!

Every improvement to your business and life will require some level of work. Trust me when I say, there are a zillion ways to get the things out of life that make you happy and successful you just have to be willing to be creative and go after them.

Wishing everyone a happy holiday season. <3

Your Paint Pal Heather



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