Kids Can Barter Too

“You mean I can trade chocolate cake for Lego Friends?” my daughter asked following our conversation about the benefits of bartering.

“If you can find a Lego-loving chocoholic who’s willing to part with some of her sets, then you’re in business.”

Little did I know that my response would turn my 8-year-old into the next Kyle MacDonald.

Cash is tight for my third grader, but the kid makes up for her empty wallet by coming up with some solid bartering bargain chips.

Or, in her case, cake.

Bartering is not just for adults; rather, kids can get in on the action by figuring out what they are good at and using their talent to get something desirable in exchange.  Everyone has something to offer, regardless of age, gender or skill level.  The tricky part is recognizing your area of expertise and trying to gain goods from it.  However, once you hone in on what you have that others want you can save hundreds or thousands of dollars by swapping.

A scrapbook for a massage?  No problem.  A gymnastic lesson for a painting?  Of course.  A month’s worth of babysitting for a slightly used blender?  The bartering possibilities are endless.

Children looking to score goods or services by bartering should look locally first.  Find someone in the neighborhood who would be willing to exchange books or video games for homemade crafts, baked goods, or a week’s worth of snow shoveling, weeding or dog-walking.  As your child’s bartering skills get more sophisticated, consider helping him view online bartering websites, such as,, or

Or, you could just make like my daughter and email a note to all of your family members detailing how she will make a no-bake double chocolate cake for the first person who is willing to trade her for the Lego Friends Swimming Pool.

Are your kids into bartering?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.