The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Sunday 21 February 2016

The Vicky Challenge. Bartering.

My added extra ways to save today is bartering. I was talking to Vicky about this. When I lived at the beach I was given a lot of crayfish. I always said "yes thank you" even though I do not eat them. (Allergic to shellfish sadly...)
I learned to cook crayfish and freeze them. Over the years I traded them for so many things including services like the electrician fixing wiring! I cannot fathom turning down something so valuable.
Similarly when something comes your way that you cannot use I think of how it can still be an asset to your household...
So we were talking about this and I had said how I hear all the time of people turning down goods or wasting goods and I think its crazy! Why wouldn't people trade it instead?  Worse I have heard of people not using a gift card as there was nothing they wanted in the store! So the gift card was wasted!! Why wouldn't they use it for a present for the gift cupboard or an item to trade or sell? I just cannot fathom it!  I will share with you Vicky's reply....

bartering-exchange goods or services for other goods or services without using money
Bartering? Why barter? Bartering can be a helpful tool in our endeavours to save and not having to have cash of any kind is what makes it such a great tool. 
We have bartered for many things over the years and ultimately it is a win win situation. Thinking outside the box helps. We have all been given items that we will never use, but they can become worth something to us! Instead of just getting rid of those items trade them with someone else! It doesn't have to be worth the exact same amount or be the same size as long as both parties are happy with the deal that is all that matters. And it saves money. There are so many things that can be bartered, just about anything really. And in days of old it was a way of life. 
Here are a few examples of how bartering has benefited our household:
My husband traded his time of cutting a small tree that the person couldn't afford to pay for having it cut down and my husband got the wood from the tree.

A big box of shelled sunflower seeds for my chickens that cost me 2 quarts of tomato juice that I canned.

All of this crochet cotton cost me a few items that I got for free with coupons.

The possibilities are many! A neighbour that I used to walk with was moving and gave me a big L.L. bean rug that was not my style, but I hung onto it and then a friend of mine needed that rug and traded me a food saver that was given to her. So we both got something we needed and it didn't cost either of us any money out of pocket! And I used that food saver for about 10 years before I had to replace it so not bad for the price of an ugly rug. 

Thanks Vicky. Plus you always make me laugh. i.e. how you got a food saver for ten years out of an ugly rug! I call that a bargain! This also reminds me of another Vicky story. She had an old ring she also thought was (also) ugly. So recently she headed off to the jeweller with it and found out it was worth quite a few hundred dollars. So she sold it and turned that ugly ring into pantry stock and has been stocking up since. So that was an at home trade.... old ring for a well stocked pantry! 

The other day Helen had the chance to get two free very good wooden beds.  She immediately sold them on EBay and made a LOT of money from them! I know other people who would say no thanks I don't need a bed. 

So that is my tip for the week. Think of how you can trade/barter. See what you can turn into something else that you do need. Excess fruit can be gifts, sold, traded.... Skills can be wonderful commodities to trade. This is an area that can really lead to big savings. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. Trade it!

Ok so my savings for the week were:

More jam making. $30

More meals that used up figs! I will say I saved $30 on groceries.

More soap making! (ok I have finished soap making for the year now!) $40 worth of gifts I think here.

More painting. Also sanding, undercoating, washing and scrubbing.  I will say $200 at least saved there.

Packed all work lunches. $100.

Bargains... the four heart shaped cake tins. Three into the gift cupboard. They were $40 I paid $10 saving $30.

I was about to buy seedlings when my friend Karen sent me Coriander seeds. I also planted parsley seeds and saved the money which would have been about $8.

That's $438 all up.

I hope you had a good week. Sharing how you saved gives ideas and inspiration to others and to me!

Also what do you have that is an underutilised asset that could be traded or sold? Keep your eyes out for such things as they can be a real injection of help to your household. 


  1. Dear Annabel, I just love this post today , really love it. Thank you so much, you reminded me of things I already do but don't count as a saving like getting about 10 coffee jars ( lovely ones) about 18 months ago from a friend who drinks coffee but doesn't use the jars because she has too many and no other use for them after setting her pantry up with them. Well I was going to recycle them ( yes in the recycle bin my goodness I would be silly) anyway they were almost in the bin and I thought , what am I doing !. So now have about 10 lovely clean jars for my pasta and rice and chocolate chips and other baking supplies and for giving as gifts or to put things such as small biscuits ( cookies) in to barter with for something I need, Annabel how wasteful I used to be to even gave this thought but luckily I stopped myself!. My savings this week were as follows: 6 meals from my parents $50 approximately, sausage rolls and pies from my parents freezer $10 , pineapple and shallots ( spring onions) from my parents garden $5 , a full tub of butter also from mum and Dad $5 , 10 cards made on my sizzix machine , at least $50 , breakfast paid for by my sister and brother in law yesterday morning including a lovely hot chocolate drink $ 20 approximately. Savings from the supermarket $45 , I bought a cheap DVD movie instead of going to the movies so I can watch it a few times then swap it with my mum $5 saving approx. .I made bacon , cheese and shallot muffins , I made 16 this week saving me about $3 per muffin so $48 approx. and I saved $70 approximately because I get my cleaning service subsidised( it helps me a lot so I count it) . I am getting some frames from my Aunty ( photo/ picture frames) , a saving of about $30 , I did not buy any groceries yesterday when we went out which I usually think I need so I buy something , Saving me about $30. I made popcorn and watched a movie on TV , saving me $25 on a movie trip.So my total for the week is approx $400 , very happy lady here!. Thank you Annabel so very much . Thank you to Vicky too you both inspire me and Helen also. I am very inspired by all of you here so Thank you all. Sorry for such a long comment Annabel!. Love Barb,

    1. You are doing a fantastic job Barb! Good save on not putting the jars in the recycling bin! I love that your achieving so much through your efforts! Way to go!

    2. Dear Barb, oops I replied and its ended up further down sorryxxx

    3. That is ok Annabel, I saw your reply earlier and read it so please do not worry. I thought of something else too!. I am often given food by my parents and sometimes even though I love that they give me things I cannot always use it all in time ( before it expires) . I can now ( with this post in mind) barter with friends for something
      I need , such as them doing an hours work in my garden for example. I could also do this with the cards I make . I could maybe swap 5 cards for an hours gardening. I just thought of those two Thi go plus I could swap my skills or the use of my sizzix machine ( at my place) for something I need. Thanks Annabel love Barb

  2. My husband traded helping a few hours a week for food for an elderly organic farmer a few years ago. It enabled the farmer to keep going a few years and we got delicious organic veggies and strawberries. He eventually stopped farming and we especially missed strawberries since my husband can only eat them if organic.

    1. Dear Brenda,
      That arrangement would have been lovely. I would have loved that!
      Organic veggies are very expensive here so the only solution is to grow your own really. That farm sounds wonderful! With love

  3. Dear Barb,
    What a lovely week and good savings! I don't mind big comments I love them so thats ok!
    What you did with those jars is just what I would have done. People throw out jars then go buy containers for the pantry! (weird!) Jars are wonderful. Maybe not in earthquake areas but otherwise just fabulous.
    Well done on all your cooking too. That is so good and such a saving. Also a few in the freezer are so handy later.
    Have another really good week Barb! With lots of love

  4. One of my first bartering experiences happened many years ago when a friend asked if I would make her a couple skirts with fabric and pattern (pretty simple) she already had. She wanted to pay me, but neither of us had money to spend so she asked if I would be willing to do the sewing in trade for a Bosch electronic slicer she had only used a couple times and had no use for! I jumped at the chance and sliced bread,cheese, vegetables and meats for 12 years before I sold it for $50 when we were moving cross country!!! Now, my neighbor trades her chicken eggs for my homemade bread and another friend trades her chicken eggs for some of my home canned delights! It's my favorite type of transaction because often, each person feels like they got something better than the other person, so both go away pleased!!
    This week I bought 12 cans of soup for 12 cents a can after sale and coupons! Used our public library to borrow a pantry building book rather than buy it- $27! Sat down with a financial counselor about retirement for an hour as a free service from employer- $90. Bought 4 lunches and 2 breakfasts out using gift cards we were given- $47. Made 6 dinners from all pantry items- $120, built a DIY seed starter ( can start 500 seeds at one time) from free plans using free salvaged wood- $135. We were given 10 free wood pallets- $125 that we will use to build 21 DIY planter boxes for a class we're teaching. Similar planter boxes that we've seen sell for $15 each- $315 saved! Made another baby quilt using batting scraps that I pieced together and a thrift store sheet and scrap fabrics from my stash for the top- saved about $50. Made up 7 lunches for next week from tonight's leftovers from dinner and several other small, but regular things to save.
    All told, our savings this week totaled $1087.36!!! I can hardly wait to see our total for February!! Thanks, Annabel and Vicky!!!

    1. Dear Gardenpat, That was a great trade to get you started! Very good!
      I love that now you trade your bread and canned food. This is how I hade always been. For many years I traded eggs with a lady and in summer I was allowed to pick fruit from her trees.
      Your savings last week were fantastic! The seed starter and the planter boxes and the quilt were all big undertakings too!
      Well done. This is amazing and I hope you feel proud! Yes we are almost up to another month ending and new totals. And its only February! Pretty amazing stuff! With love

  5. Dear Annabel,

    I truly admire Vicky for keeping an ugly rug for ten years; she's a serious barterer (LOL). I honestly don't think I could have done that unless it was in a storage shed somewhere.

    Thank you for the wonderful post, as always, and for the ideas of ways to save.

    Every time I throw away a Three Sisters coffee can, I think there must be something that these can be made into. The cans don't have removable labels as the can is imprinted all over; the inside isn't BPA free; but the can is extremely sturdy and has a very nice tin lid. Any ideas anyone?

    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      I will look for some ideas on the cans Glenda. You've got me thinking...
      I think Vicky meant she got ten years of use from the food saver not ten year of storing the rug. That would have been a pain if it was storing the rug!
      I will look online at what the coffee cans look like and the size. Have a great week Glenda, with love

    2. Glenda, I recently saw some very creative and interesting ideas for reusing tin cans on Pinterest. That would be my first place to search for ideas :)

    3. Thank you, Annabel and Kathryn.

    4. Thank you, Annabel and Kathryn.

    5. Plant them with herbs etc, store buttons or beads or other small craft items. I love to use tomato tins with bright pretty bouquets in them as decor in my house.

    6. Thank you, Terri. I love the idea of planting herbs in the cans.

  6. Annabel, that is such a good lesson and what a great week you had! Helen must have been tickled pink, and what a great way for Vicky to stock her pantry...with an old! You're right of course, and we barter all the time too. In the last month, we've bartered a celebration cake for some help with choreography for a theatre production we're involved with, plants from our garden for some others we liked from someone elses garden, pesto for a vintage bedspread (long story that!), and I swapped some home made gift wrap and greeting cards, for a vintage handbag! Funny I didn't even think of any of those things as 'bartering', but of course it is. I'll have my thinking cap on now, looking for more opportunities. Thankyou! Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi... ooh interesting transactions here especially pesto for a vintage bedspread! You have to tell this story sometime soon!
      And the vintage bag!
      This has been a way of life for me however I have done less of it the last few years. Now I am upping the anti and looking for possibilities. I really love it. And as you prove the results can be amazing! Many thanks Mimi! Love Annabelxxxx

  7. Annabel, when we were younger we used to barter a lot. It is a great way to save money. Now I must tell you that I forgot to tell my girl about the heart shaped cake tins but thankfully she read your comment to me about them so went out and bought a couple for herself and some for gifts and they were $2.50 each. I am sure she will pretty them up like you do ;-)

    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      I am so glad you daughter got the cake pans! What a bargain and it is amazing she both saw my message plus even interstate they had them! And that some were still left as well! So pleased!
      I think I said in that comment about making quiches, meat pies, anything in them but I am repeating incase I didn't and she is reading! Not to mention lovely cakes!
      That made my day! Have a good week and I hope you get to play with soap! Love

  8. Dear Annabel, Bartering is an excellent way to save. Vicky nailed it when she said the items don't have to be worth the same amount for everyone to be happy- that's really the essence of how value is determined. Something is worth what another is willing to pay for it. And what one person thinks is ugly is going to be exactly what another person is looking for. Also, you said skills can be used for bartering. Teaching those skills can be used as well. A person could give lessons in music/canning/sewing/knitting/whatever skill to get what they need.
    My savings this week involved doing laundry at my in-law's, cooking breakfasts and packing work lunches, receiving two free bags of chicken feed from the store as the bags had been torn open, baking a birthday cake, buying groceries on sale, and getting Valentine candy on clearance. The candy traditionally comes in heart-shaped boxes, so I bought several sizes that I am going to do over with my paper crafting supplies when they are empty. I will use them for giving gifts in and as a place to keep special little notes and trinkets. And of course I bought my heart-shaped cake pans on clearance. Also, my husband needed to take a trip to the city, so I looked up the sales flyer for the craft store I have a gift card to and saw that paper crafting supplies were half off! I purchased stickers, stamps, ink pads, and scrapbook paper. We were also invited out to eat by my FIL, and he paid for our meal. This week's total comes to $256.46. My goal is to beat this next week, so I will be making extra efforts, which this challenge has really helped me with. I find myself thinking of extra ways to save, and also being excited to write things down when I accomplish them. I hope your week is lovely, Annabel and everyone! Love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      What I would do for heart shaped boxes! In my mind this is how I would like to package my soaps.... if I can come across the boxes at a good price or better yet recycled!
      It was so good about the chicken feed! Well done on the lunches and cooked breakfasts.
      It was lovely to get craft supplies. Do you mainly make cards or scrap book or both... or other stuff? (just wondering!)
      Good luck now with beating that total. You are like me. A challenge makes me look for new ways to save and try different things! It does me good. Also I always talk about the buddy system... getting to share the savings and how we are doing is good for me too. I often will be thinking how I better get cracking or I will have nothing to report!
      Have a wonderful week! With love

    2. Dear Annabel, Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved doing crafts. I have never been creative, but I can copy ideas that I see and like and enjoy doing this. When I was a teenager, I got into card making and really liked it, but when I left home, I left my crafting supplies behind and just got away from it. You have inspired me to get back into it! When my SIL got me a gift card to the craft store, I knew I wanted to use it to build up my stock again. I have combined this with sales as they come along. I am so glad for this, as I have hardly spent any money and now have enough to work with for a long time! So mostly card making, but I enjoy making anything pretty if I can! Love, Kelsey

  9. Dear Annabel,
    Good ideas and encouragement! Your fig dishes look yummy!
    We had some nice savings this week. My husband amazed me by fixing my seal a meal. I was really disappointed to have it stop working. I have a nice stock of the bags it uses, so felt bad to have them go to waste, as well. He carefully took it apart, looked at some u-tube video, and got it to work!
    We picked more oranges, grapefruit and lemons from our neighbors. I combined some of the oranges with our tangelos to make a pitcher of juice. I grated the peels to use later.
    Using nice make-up bags and make-up from my gift closet, I attached Valentine tags I made and gave our teen granddaughters gifts they seemed to enjoy. The filled bags had been 75% off after Christmas and I used my craft supplies for the tags.
    The flower place did deliver the rose plant to our other granddaughter and ended up sending a second one because of the delay. They both arrived the same day! I am not sure what would have happened had I not insisted on speaking to a supervisor.
    My husband also replaced a lock that stopped working properly. I'm guessing $50 service call. He also did quite a bit of work in both the front and back yards--$60.
    I got a free 8x10 photo made $4.25.
    3 bags of half price candy$5.60 savings.
    Daughter gave us a dozen eggs from their chickens $5.
    I downloaded a number of free books for my Kindle.
    $23.24 savings at the grocery store.
    Instead of buying mint plants at $3.99 each, I was able to transplant two seedlings.
    I cooked chicken for a couple meals and was able to get 4-1/2 cups broth for the freezer.
    We received our annual reward coupon from Costco for $59.97.
    I used powdered lemonade mix to clean the dishwasher for free.
    We went out to eat with friends and used coupons to save $16.
    These, combined with a few other things, add up to $514.81.
    Wishing everyone a good week!

    1. Dear Elaine,
      Well done to your husband! And good old you tube! I think we need a husband wall of fame here as there are some good fixers, inventors and makers. I think that is wonderful. Plus the lock and the gardening!
      Lovely Valentines gifts! I love that idea for teens... it would work for ladies (adults) also.
      You had a great week with a huge total. I hope you feel proud of it! Its amazing how things add up.
      Have a good new week Elaine, With love

  10. Hi Annabel. I missed the heart shaped tin sale. Bugger! Oh well money not spent is money saved. Hubby helped a neighbour out by sharpening his chain saw. The neighbour is the one I get bags of mangoes off so finally feel like we've done a fair trade. Mind you hubby came home with three pumpkins from the neighbours garden. Bonus! Last week I cleaned up a classroom for the retiring teacher in exchange for any resources that I wanted to keep. I came out quite in front. At the time I was miffed about doing her cleaning up but now see it as a trade of my time for extra teaching resources. Given our lack of dollars at the moment, getting some valuable resources and other bits, like bundles of stickers, is a clear win. My saving for this week free teaching resources $150. Lunches and coffee $125. Repaired some outdoor lanterns instead of replacing $20. Hubby's food bank shopping $30 and he made the most delicious passionfruit cheesecake $20. Gold coins into stash $4. This weeks savings $349. Life is good..

    1. Dear Jane, Yes the work and cleaning out you did was a trade for sure and a good one it turns out happily! I am really glad you were well rewarded for that.
      Your hubby makes cheesecake!? I love that!
      They are really good savings. I am pleased for you!
      I hope you enjoy using the stickers etc now in your classroom. That is lovely. Have another good week! With love Annabelxxx

  11. Such good savings from everyone,lovely to read .Another very good week for you Annabel !
    Hubby is good at bargaining for anything big we buy.
    My week of savings has been returning a bed throw I decided didn't suit and we don't need- $40, saved on groceries by the choices I made saving $13.50,and halved my usual weeks spend saving $70.Took baking when visiting instead of flowers , saved $10(from Valentines baking the day before),she bought me lunch saving another$20+.Bought a bag for my crochet to sit by couch ,and 2cute tops for my granddaughter at the opshop instead of the mall saving $30.Hubby washed , primed and painted the side gate over a few nights so I would think that's at least $50 worth.Used up 3 old bananas to make 2 banana bread loaves saving $5,made big batch of bikkies to use up soft butter(made 43)$12 at least to buy .Made 2 pizza bases and toppings using up leftovers savings of $20+.We were invited out to dinner saving $20,and recived a clothign gift each saving aprox$50.Did a home mani pedi basic $50,and hubby resurrected an old wooden planter in the overgrown corner of our backyard , emptied it ,washed and then painted it.Saving $20 at least on buying a new one. That was a surprise Annabel, I think he's got the painting bug!And he tidied a long strip of what use to be a hedge garden ,covered with black weed cover and nailed down for the meantime.Weeks total $390.50.Love Maria xx

    1. Dear Maria,
      I love my crochet to sit right where I will so I always pick it up and carry on. That is a good buy!
      It does sound like your DH has the painting bug, like me here, everything is fair game. But its great, so many things are like new or back in use.
      Well done on another good week. Getting toward the end of February it is starting to show how the weeks add up and then the months add up.
      The cooking and grocery shopping are big areas that certainly save a lot. Like making the bananas into loaves. Loaves like that are probably even more expensive... plus you can freeze extras etc. It is all wonderful and the family is always hungry, it helps us keep up!
      Hope this week is going well! With love

  12. Hi Annabel, what a week everyone has had it's fantastic!
    picking this week Strawberries approx. 1 kg,35 figs today, 8 passionfruit, 5 eggplant, 3 large zucchini last of the crop, Eug made 70 1lt bottles of passata from 5 boxes of tomatoes given to us @$5 per box we already had the jars only had to buy the new lids $18.00 for 100 also sun dried 3 kg of our miniRoma toms we are starting to look like a European Deli it is setting us up so well for the coming year. allowing for S1 for sauce and pricing veg low that is about a whopping $120.00 On bartering Eug has been taking an elderly friend to his holiday house approx. 65Ks away every week since Christmas and helping with his garden watering-
    this has kept us supplied with Potatoes, Plums and apricots all jammed up and stewed since January 2nd. it gives him a day out with Bob who helps with the fuel and we all eat well win win all round.
    today ( my day off :) prepped 10 packets of green beans each 4 serves per pack and froze them and made up Greek Bean Casserole for Eug and Green Beam and Mushroom Casserole for me 4 serves each 1/2 will be frozen in individual serves ready for meatless meals in coming weeks Oh and last but not least when at the supermarket for the essential milk etc I gained $1.00 in a trolley must be my lucky day :)
    thankyou for a lovely blog as usual
    Cheers, Bevo xx

    1. Wow! This is inspiring, Bevo! What a sight all this tomato must be!!
      Rachel Holt

    2. Dear Bevo,
      What a hugely productive week and all that wonderful produce! Amazing. All that Passata! That will be so useful all year.
      The bartering has been very good too. Also it is helping someone as well. A win win all round. I love that!
      Thank you so much for commenting. I loved hearing how productive you both are. I hope there is some more of all this produce before the summer is over... usually I find some until early autumn which keeps it coming in. With love

  13. Hi Annabel!!

    That was a very refreshing post that you and Vicky came up with, between you. Thank you!!

    As far as bartering goes ..... In recent years, we helped out some people by demolishing a very rickety old shed (just strong enough to cover car parts!) in exchange for the sawn timber, old corrugated iron & bolts that it was made of. The old timber mills around here are closed down & sawn timber is super expensive to buy. We have been using some of this lately.

    I realise that I have been keeping some barter trading intentions for future use. You see, more than ten years ago, I paid $10 for a second hand kit of beautiful Australian wool meant for knitting an entire jumper. Since it is cream coloured (not practical for us) and I am interested in knitting socks & beanies, I figure it would be a shame to break up the kit. One of my goals (coming up, when I get through a major job list!) is to join a spinners, weavers & dyers club to learn to spin wool. That wool kit is in store in case I can trade it for wool preparation tools! This will be a real resource for me, since pure wool is so dear.

    At the very end of last week, we had over two inches of rain, breaking the heat. The same afternoon, my husband made a major discovery. The car, in which he had rebuilt the engine, finally had its electrical fault found, & today it is up & running. Now, where we are, it is difficult to even get a tradesman to call - but that saves us money in the long run, especially since we are not in a hurry! One tradesman just wasn't interested, & another couldn't look at the car for quite some time - contacting us today, after the problem was found. What finally gave the solution was a DVD car manual that cost under $10. Only in trying to decipher that, & checking on a mechanic's suggestion, did he find a loose earth connection at the back of the engine. It had eluded us for months!! One car back on the road is either a backup vehicle or an asset to sell. See what helping my husband can yield?!! This is easily worth $4, 000, when it looked like a problem we could easily walk away from!

    Thank you for the subject matter to think over!

    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel,
      My Nan had a spinning wheel and dyed her wool with natural ingredients i.e. onion skins. She got into this later in life and loved it! She was so good at it and taught me too. My Dad had sheep so he would keep her in fleeces. She loved the long ones that had missed shearing for a year or two. Also the brown fleeces.
      So I really hope you get to do this! It would be fantastic!
      The end results would also be a highly traceable or sellable product.
      Wow that is a lot of rain! Very good about the car! What a good saving! Huge in fact.
      I hope this week has also gone well. With lots of love,

  14. My mom needed a little nudging about the gift card she received from Walmart. She told me one time she didn't need anything. I said really you don't need groceries. It was like a light bulb went off! You can always sell them to if you absolutely can't find anything! Great post!

    1. That is what I mean Vicky. We can turn things into something we do want. Yet many things are wasted. I am glad your Mum was able to get groceries! xxx

  15. My Word Annabel! You, Patsy, Vicky, and Mimi are such an inspiration to me. When I think I can't possibly do anymore to save or stretch my money you keep me going! Getting off here now to make a plan of who and what I can barter with. Thank you so much!!!!

    1. Thank you so much Saundra. I feel in lovely company to be in with Vicky, Patsy and Mimi.
      Saundra bartering and selling can really make new things possible. It can be especially true if you have either a resource... could be a fruit tree, eggs, anything... or a skill... could be sewing, cake making anything!! These open up so many possibilities. Check out Mimis comment above about some of her trades! I am glad you find ideas that help you! With love and thanks,

  16. My Dad was great at bartering when he was younger. One time we came home from school to find a big boat in our driveway. For the few glorious weeks before he traded it for a big green Pontiac we were in the boat everyday riding the high seas. I still have very fond memories of that boat and the imaginary boat trips we went on everyday.

    1. Dear Lana, That was a big trade! I love it and all the fun you had!
      As a child that would have been so exciting!
      Wow I think we underestimate the power of the trade! With love

  17. I love that you wrote about bartering! I don't always think of it in those terms, but I have shared jars of home canned food and bottles of homemade vanilla with those who have helped us in one way or another with our home improvements. Our friends blessed us and we are happy to bless them in return!

    Despite the kitchen being a mess I have managed to cook and we are eating at home, with the exception of a meal purchased with gift cards. I'm doing very little shopping and we're rotating things out of the pantry and freezer. We also eat up our leftovers. I've never understood throwing them out.

    As a side note that connects to my torn-up kitchen and home canning, we have a friend from church who has been ill. Ordinarily I’d take supper in now and again but our kitchen renovation has made it difficult to do more than basic family meals. My solution has been to send over jars of home canned chicken, broth, vegetables, and preserves. Her husband can easily warm up those items but they still get a “homey” meal. I don’t mention it for applause but rather as a suggestion for anybody else who has a deep pantry but limited or sporadic kitchen access. And now that the floor is down I should be able to do better with meals for her.

    My daughter went to Li'l Sibs weekend at her brother's university. She stayed in the ladies' dorm with one of his friends and went to classes with two other of his friends since she had no interest in his math courses but was eager to go to music theory with them. She & I picked out a few things and made up gift baskets for her hostesses. I saw some gift baskets at the store that were no better than ours but were four times the cost. We were happy to give our personalized gifts.

    And thanks to your inspiration, I made two batches of soap! I made one of glycerine melt & pour "toy" soap which was something I'd done before. I also made a batch of Cath's soap using Ivory Original bar soap that I grated up. My husband has decided that my version of Cath's soap is as good as the shaving soap he's been using but of course mine is far cheaper. Yay!

    Thank you, Annabel, for the good inspiration and for sharing the lovely pictures of your projects. I do enjoy them!

    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Dear Leigh,
      How you have managed to cook and make soap while renovating gets my admiration!
      It is good to know the Ivory soap worked in this soap thank you for telling me that. The longer we keep them to harden the longer they will last once in use. However they seem quite hard quickly which is really good.
      I saw how you put toys and cars into your soap! It looks fantastic and what a gift! Brilliant.
      Thank you so much! With love

  18. Great post. Hubby and I often talk about how blessed we have been over the years, when we have needed something it has been often we have had a friend who has passed that item on to us. Hubby has had his last 3 mobile phones (outdated models) given to him for free, we received a bed for one of our sons, used it for a few years than sold it on for $150-which was put towards paying off our debt, we have been given furniture, eggs and so much more.

    1. Dear Mel, I love how your hubby has free phones. This is a good point... so much stuff is wasted. People want the newest, latest and greatest and yet the older things still work perfectly! And are even saleable as well.
      Well done! This will make many think of what else is around that can be used or turned into money for something else.
      Furniture is another big one. So much available free or for very little.
      Well done Mel! I hope you are having a good week! with love

  19. Annabel
    I didn't get a lot done but I was able to help husband some over the weekend. He has been looking into ways to build a stanchion as most are priced $250-$300. He found a free plan online, used recycled materials, and just needed to purchase a very few items. Our cost $15! I helped hold boards while he did all the work. Also on the topic of bartering husband is trading off some work in exchange for sewing/quilting lessons for me. My savings this week aside from the stanchion comes to $200.

    1. Dear Ginger, Helping your husband produced a big savings! Well done.
      I am so happy about your sewing and quilting lessons! What a good husband! That will be great and I hope leads to lots of fun for you and also a future of lovely things you will be able to produce! Lovely. With love

  20. Annabel.
    I just love seeing all you do! Every week I love it! We took our recycling in and I got coupons from the paper dumpster. Rick sold an old mill for $800 I bartered some items I got free with coupons for the crochet cotton pictured which saved me $12 I found a pack of beef short ribs that were mismarked as patties and saved $6 on the pack was gifted 3 bags of books $20 used coupons $37.55 and scored 10 free toothbrushes 3 free toothpastes and 12 cans of pineapple for .24 each to add to the pantry. I am using that ugly ring money to buy sale items to stock up. Someone had told me never sell jewelry you'll regret it! Well all I can say is that I regret anyone had to see that ugly thing! I saved 3 stamps 1.47 did our taxes at home $50 was given 6 packs of seeds $12 sold eggs $2 and got 2 free ink pens.25 between Rick losing them and the cats stealing them they are always needed. I hope you have a wonderful week!

    1. Dear Vicky, WOW re the old mill! That has to make it a good week right there! I think it was great about selling the ring. It added a lot to your pantry which is far more useful.
      Well done on all the savings. I hope this week is as good! With love

    2. Vicky you are AWESOME and I'm totally lol'ing at that ugly ring story! Right here at the computer all by myself...and very loud lol'ing I might add! Power to the pantry!

      Colette xxx

    3. Dear Annabel,

      I'm late to the party but loved reading every bit of this post. I did not keep track last week as I was preparing for my last court date. I have not been posting on the Vicky Challenge as of yet this year but I never miss a post! I will get my act together and hopefully post next week. However, I'd like to say that bartering is really excellent. Bill and I both love to barter. Having skills to barter with is great but I also like all of the other ideas flowing here. I love doing hair in exchange for things that are of value to me. It really is about doing what you can where you are at with what you've got!

      Thanks for such an excellent post, Annabel. The jam looks incredible!

      Colette xxx

    4. Dear Colette,
      Thats ok! Im glad you enjoyed the post. Hairdressing is a wonderful skill for bartering and income as well of course.
      I know you have had an awful lot on your plate. I look forward to having you back though as your posts are always beautiful.
      I think part of bartering is just taking whatever comes our way and making the most of it even if it is sold or swapped. Its kind of exciting, the possibilities! With love,

  21. Such an inspiring post. It makes me look at things differently now. I love that! Recently I was given a gift voucher, but I thought I don't really need anything, so bought three items for our gift drawer. It made me happy. My parents gave us a couple of things and said we could sell them, so I'm happy if we can make a little bit of money, it all counts. I have been really liking taking cash to the supermarket, it makes me think about it so much more. Takes me back to my great grandmother who had cash in jars for all sorts of things. I really love the look of that jam. It looks delicious. You are amazing and such an inspiration. I haven't felt like getting a lot done today, but have the timer on now and it's helping me tick off my list. Lots of love, Bridge

    1. Dear Bridge,
      I am glad you added to your gifts with that voucher. That is exactly what I would do.
      I have been slow with replies this week... sorry... painting and babysitting!
      I agree with he cash and jars, or envelopes, system. It keeps it real rather than imagined to me. I keep little envelopes in my purse. It really helps me a lot.
      I hope you are having a good week this week. With lots of love

  22. that's pretty much how people used to live isn't it Annabel, bartering was their currency. Great to inspire people as always. Have a great week. Fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona, Thank you. With all the hydrangeas, other flowers and fruit your place is a barterers heaven! I wish I lived near by. How lovely that would be! Hope this week is a good one... with love

  23. This was a good read. I've always loved trading things and recently started a "barter up" sort of thing I'm doing ala One Red Paperclip. Are you familiar with that barter story? I stumbled across your blog and article while doing some research.

    1. Thank you! Yes I am familiar! The aim I think was to go from a paper clip to a house. The power of bartering is huge!


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