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The Swap Life

Remove selling your body from this scenario and let’s say you challenged yourself to 30-days of swapping, rather than paying, for goods or services. Do you think you could do it?

There are three types of swaps that don’t involve cash.

1. Services for Services

Surely you have some kind of skill you could offer that is valuable. Are you an excellent photographer, fitness instructor, handy man, computer expert or chef? Can you babysit, repair bicycles, or help people with their moves? Is your professional training as a lawyer, administrator, teacher, counsellor, videographer or writer valuable to another person.

In all of these examples, you can swap a skill or service for another skill or service that you need. Recently, for example, I required video work for a project. I got to know a woman who was willing to swap her videography services for regular financial and physical fitness coaching (FYI – I’m a certified fitness instructor). In this swap, we both won because neither of us had to shell out cash for services we needed.

2. Goods for Services

Everyone has things in their house or office that they don’t need. I for example, have an extra HP printer in my office from one of our team members that no longer requires it. The printer is worth about $300 (cartridges included).

I’m receiving zero value from my printer collecting dust and being used as a surface for my coffee mug.

So, I’ve arranged for a swap. My local handyman has a school-aged son that needs a printer and I need some painting done.

Take an inventory of the things in your house that have value and that you could live without. Then reference your inventory with a list of services you require – house cleaning, child care, painting, picture hanging, heavy lifting and more. Then post an add on Kijiji and see if you can find a person to swap with.

3. Goods for Goods

Think back to grade school when you traded your granola bar for apple crisps or mittens for shoes. The good for good swap is the adult version of the school yard exchange. I was coaching a couple recently that required a toddler bed. Rather than buy one, I suggested they swap their guest bed frame, which was collecting dust in their garage, for the toddler bed. They placed an ad in their community newsletter and voila, two weeks later they had a gently used toddler bed.

You’ve probably guessed this already, but the swap life extends well beyond these three non-cash scenarios. The moment you start swapping goods or services for cash, you open up the doors to the world of side-hustle. Side-hustle is when you start selling your goods or services…and it requires you to declare this income on your taxes.

Obviously the primary benefit of non-cash swapping is that your bank balance doesn’t deplete; and the secondary benefit is it doesn’t impact your taxes. So, if you require a good or service, determine what you can swap for it.


Lesley-Anne Scorgie, Founder of MeVest

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