Most people have forgotten about the age old tradition of bartering. Back in the day, everyone bartered. Maybe they gave a quilt for some food, or they traded for each other’s services.

Today you can go to Craigslist and they have a “Barter,” section. Most of the time people list specific things they are looking for. For instance, I saw a guy looking to trade a 4-wheeler for a boat or working truck. I would think you would need a working truck to get the boat to the water, but what do I know?

Right now I’m in the middle of an old fashion barter myself. I have played the ukulele for over 20 years. I recently contacted an overseas ukulele company to see if they would consider me to be a distributor for their ukuleles. I also mentioned politely that their site could use some help with the English translation. (“Wood make very good tone.”) I said, “I’m sure you speak better English than I speak Cantonese, but I would be willing to fix your ad copy for a custom ukulele.”

The owner of the company got back to me to say that they are not interested in distributing to the United States right now. But he also said, “I happy to trade you a custom ukulele to fix site words.”

So now I’m about 2 weeks away from having a custom ukulele. The guy even laser-etched my Polynesian tattoo design into the fret-board and the body of my ukulele. If I were to have a luthier make an ukulele here in The States with as much detail as this guy has given me, it would run $2000 to $3000.

Most people forget about bartering these days. But the next time you’re low on funds or you see where you can trade services, give bartering a shot. You may be surprised what you end up with.