In March, I published the article Wedding Update – Up To $20,000. In it, I mentioned that we were able to save over $6,000 in wedding expenses by bartering, exchanging services, and discounts.
Weddings are expensive, and since the very beginning I knew that I didn't want to spend anywhere near the national average of $26,000 on our wedding.
That is just a crazy amount of money, especially since we are paying for it all (and I am rather cheap).
Even though we are at around $14,000 in costs that we have paid, it is nice to know that we are going to have a great wedding on a great budget.
I forgot to also mention that we are saving around $3,000 to $4,000 in venue fees since we don't need to pay for our venue as well (similar venues that we looked at were that price). So, in total we are saving over $10,000 on our wedding!
The main way that I was able to save so much on our wedding is because I tried to barter for services and products as much as I could. There are negatives to bartering (such as paying taxes on the amount received – read this to learn more), but for the most part it is a great thing.
There are many benefits of bartering:
- If someone needs your service but doesn't have the cash to do so, they may be more likely to say yes.
- Someone may not have even thought about the service that you offer until you initially spoke to them. They may be more likely to try it out as well since they can get it at a discount.
- Both parties usually feel like they got a good deal.
Here are my tips to save money by bartering:
Find people who you are interested in bartering with.
What I did first was find companies that I was interested in working with.
I then sent them an e-mail to their marketing/media department, or their direct e-mail if they did not have a marketing department.
You need to have courage and be outgoing in order to barter effectively. Remember that the only “bad” thing that can happen is that a person will say no. However, they might say yes!
When bartering, you are opening yourself to new opportunities that people may not know about.
Tell them why they should work with you.
You need to know what you can barter with. Do you have some sort of service or product that people want?
If so, you need to craft the perfect wording (whether you send an e-mail or speak with the company directly) for why this person will want your service or product.
You need to know how to sell your product because that is what you are doing!
I offer a wide range of online services, and because of this I knew that I had many different services that I could offer to potential wedding companies. For some of the companies that I worked with, I offered services such as:
- Social media management. Some asked if I could just start their social media accounts and they would then take it from there.
- Question and answer session. There were 3 companies who just wanted to sit me down and shoot questions at me. These questions were mainly about how they can start a blog, social media tips, and so on.
- Product review. Some companies wanted an honest review of their product. This includes either on my website and/or on their company's website.
Know what you are worth.
You should always be reasonable when bartering, and keep in mind that time is money.
If the value of your product/service is $100, then you probably shouldn't expect to get something from your bartering partner that is worth $1,000. Always be fair, because you want your partner to feel that they got a good value out of the exchange as well.
You should always be fair with yourself as well.
Just because actual money is not being exchanged does not mean that you should short yourself. If you are doing 10 hours of work, you probably don't want something that is $20 in exchange for your time. Be realistic and try to think of things in dollar terms if you are unsure.
Have a contract.
Whatever you do, make sure it is clear what is being bartered.
Always try to have a contract if you can, but at least have it in an email where both parties agree to what is being done and exchanged.
If you do decide to use e-mail as your contract, try to create an e-mail that summarizes exactly what is being exchanged and have both parties reply to the e-mail in agreement. It's always a good idea to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
When was the last time you negotiated or bartered services to save money?
What other tips do you have?