It’s been a while since we wrote about the idea of exchanging services with friends and neighbors. For instance, if you are a piano teacher, you might give lessons to someone who would then mow your lawn. Or, an electrician might offer his or her services in exchange for painting.
Now, there is a website that helps you find existing groups of like-minded individuals, or gives advice for starting your own exchange group. Called TimeBanks USA (timebanks.org), it even offers a free software program to keep track of members’ points.
The way it works is similar to the often used babysitting exchange. For each hour that a member works, she receives one time dollar, which is recorded in a time bank. She can then use that time dollar to hire another member to do something for her. All services are equal in terms of value, so whether you are a teacher, a plumber or a painter, one hour of work is worth one time dollar.
If you would like to know more about this money-saving idea, there is a very good article about it on the AARP website at http://www.aarp.org/money/budgeting-saving/info-02-2012/time-banking.html.