How To Save Money By Bartering Services

How To Save Money By Bartering ServicesIn 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?



  1. says

    This is a great move for businesses small and large. We use the bartering of services at my work all the time. We’ll get equipment worth thousands of dollars in exchange for giving “credits”. However those credits may only constitute a few hours of work (since they are highly monetarily valued).

  2. says

    I started to price some of my spreadsheet work higher than in the past and it cost me a number of jobs. I think it was worth it, though, because you can only offer a low rate for so long. Once you are an established business you need to start pricing what you’re worth, and with taxes factored in sometimes that ‘per hour’ price looks pretty high. It’s important to not give in when people try to get it to an unsustainable low level.

  3. says

    Nice work on the bartering to help lower the overall cost Michelle! We bartered with someone to get some windows installed as well as some tile work done in our bathroom last year. They didn’t have a website for their business and wanted a blog as part of it as well so it worked out perfectly for both of us. I think that contract part is a big one so you both know what the other is going to receive. Our CPA also needed it for taxes, so that’s an important thing to remember.
    John @ Sprout Wealth recently posted..What Should I Do Now That I’m Done Paying Off Debt?My Profile

  4. says

    Back in the day I used to make log furniture for fun (and a bit of profit). I would sell these pieces are art shows and craft fairs. I would always barter with other vendors for stuff. To them/me it was like getting quality stuff at 1/2 price because our actual cost for the products were so low.

  5. says

    This is such an excellent idea. I’ve been thinking about how to approach local establishments, and this post has clarified the type of service that I could offer. Thanks so much!

  6. says

    I really wanted to try a new cellphone out that had a cheaper monthly plan but the phone itself cost $200 which I didn’t want to pay! I emailed the company and asked if they’d give me a free phone if I did a review and it they agreed to it. I also got three months of free phone service out of the deal! Awesome company, too! I am definitely going to try and barter more in the future. The worst thing you’re going to be told is “no” might as well give it a try!

  7. Candice says

    If I was still planning my wedding I would totally take this advice. Haha! I do bater for other things.

  8. says

    I love the concept of bartering! I actually did this recently with the photographer who took my professional shots for my website. During the shoot, he realized that he and his wife could benefit from some financial planning that I provide and he was also not interested in showing any more income on his tax return so we swapped his photo services for a year (he will do holiday and birthday shots) for financial planning.

    • says

      Thanks Anne! I wasn’t even the one who came up with that idea. One of the companies asked if that was something I could do, so then I started offering it to other wedding companies as well. I was honest with the first company though and told them that the idea was new to me and I would pretty much be practicing it on them, and they were completely fine with that! It was a great experience and it lead to other opportunities as well.

  9. says

    I think it’s great when you have the ability to offer such services. Lots of companies can use websites and social media accounts to increase their presence. My coworker’s fiance wants to break into making websites for businesses, and during their wedding planning he’s been offering the creation or sprucing up of websites in exchange for discounts. He also wants to make personal wedding websites for couples now since he enjoyed making theirs.

  10. says

    The rewards out weigh the risks, like you said “the only “bad” thing that can happen is that a person will say no. However, they might say yes!”. If they say yes, you get a job and more money. Getting rejected only gives you some pain in your heart/ego. The more experience you get with this, the tougher your tolerance will become. This personal finance blog is giving me a lot of ideas and is inspiring me to step out of my comfort zone. Great post Michelle.
    Jeff @Project Ikonz recently posted..March net worth updateMy Profile

  11. says

    Bartering is a great method if you’ve got the courage to do it. It can be intimidating to put yourself out there like that, but, as you said, the worst that cane happen is someone says no. Thanks for sharing your situation!

  12. says

    Hi Michelle

    Can you give some examples of what you bartered? I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around what I could do in exchange for say, housecleaning services (as an example). Is it bartering of services primarily or products for services? What type of products?

    The concept is interesting, I’m just trying to think through the application of it.

    Thanks a bunch!


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