A community currency program works by assigning a value for skills and products based on a point system instead of cash. Alternative currencies help entire communities make less impact on the environment as people buy fewer new products and share others. People build up points in the bartering community’s currency that they can then use to obtain other people’s skills or products.
For example, if your skill is in furniture making and you make a table for someone, you get a certain number of points in whatever your scheme’s currency is called. You may use some of those points to pay someone to do some babysitting for you.
Bartering can have tax implications, just as purchasing and selling goods and services does. Check with the IRS for more information.
You may be able to find a bartering program near you through the state-by-state member listing at the National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE).
If there isn’t a local exchange and you don’t want to join a nationally based exchange, consider launching your own exchange. Be aware, however, that this can be a time-consuming and accounting-heavy endeavor. You need to gather people together who are interested in bartering; decide how you’re going to run the barter exchange; set up a currency equivalent, code of ethics, and operating protocols; and actually run the system. If you need assistance, Internet-based advisors can help (for a fee).