Spare your cash, barter your services instead

My first barter was last month -- a friend asked me to re-write her resume in exchange for making a few dinners' worth of her delicious soup. Simple enough. Then a business associate asked me for a similar swap -- editing copy for his Web site in exchange for two ski lift tickets at Squaw Valley. Not too shabby.

Then I went on to Craig's List for the Bay Area and clicked on "Barter." Lots of electricians, salon owners and tech support people looking to trade their services for tax-return prep. Hey, I could offer my TurboTax skills and and get my ceiling fan fixed, my PC data backed up properly, and a haircut to boot. Even despite my freelance writing assignments being slow to pay, this bartering thing could be a good way to save cash and still get the goods and services I need.