In the last installment, we explored how you can barter your time to achieve your goals and desired experiences. Today we will look at how to apply the same principle to your stuff and skills.
Stuff – We all have too much of it. Stuff ties you down and a lot of it should be paying you rent for the amount of space it takes up. Your junk is someone else’s treasure, so sell off the extras on Craigslist to make some pocket change (we’ve made several hundred dollars selling extra books and miscellaneous items that we didn’t really want or need). Alternately, barter your stuff for something that you can really use (a la Kyle MacDonald) or get yourself some good karma by donating or giving away your extra stuff.
Skills – Everyone is skilled at something. My husband envisioned us subletting an apartment in Miami Beach for 4-6 weeks at the end of the winter once he left his job. I always wanted to live in the Caribbean and experience one of its luxury, all-inclusive resorts. I have also always wanted to be an aerobics instructor. I’m a people person and liked the idea of round-the-clock activities, socializing and fantastic food in the Caribbean. To me, this seemed like a much better option than starting new in a sublet apartment in Miami, trying to meet people and get settled down there for such a short time period.
The only problem was that these resorts and particularly the one that I wanted to go to were exorbitant in price and way out of our budget. I did some research, picked my top three resort choices and pitched the following to the respective managers: Let us stay at the resort free of charge for 4-6 weeks and we’ll run exciting programs for you for part of the day. Our skills are X, Y and Z and we’d be happy to offer sessions or events based around them. A few phone calls and e-mail exchanges led to first choice resort flying us down to the Dominican Republic where they will put us up in a beachfront apartment on the resort, cover our insurance, laundry, food, drink, etc. and treat us like guests on the resort. We’ll each be working 1-2 hours a day – I will be teaching Spanish, aerobics and yoga, and Jay will be teaching an afternoon astronomy session and leading an evening walk under the stars after dinner each night. The resort is ordering the astronomy equipment that he needs and we’ll have at least one day off each week. Skills, check!
Bottom line: Savings are important but if you don’t have them right now, that’s not the end all-be all, make or break factor. Even if you do have savings and have decided to take some time off, that doesn’t mean that you need to start spending early on! With a little creative thought and by reviewing the options above, you may be able to land yourself the experiences that you want without laying down the big bucks.
posted by amybetho