During my interview with Chef Michael Chiarello a few years ago I was blown away by his money savvy. Although he is now an internationally renowned chef, and is more than financially secure, he is always mindful that there is more than one way to acquire what you need.
When he was four years old his dad had a stroke and became disabled. He remembers, “Money was always tight, but we had plenty of good food on the table.” Although money was in short supply, it didn’t affect the richness of their life. To some extent, money was never an issue for his family or those around them. They created a vibrant, beautiful life with what they had available to them.
They would barter and trade everything. This is a habit he continues today. He told me the story about the lighting he wanted for his restaurant Bottega which was outside of his budget. Instead of going the “American Way” and simply going over budget, he bartered with the lighting guy. He did the same for his outdoor tables.
“In Mediterranean cultures, this is what they do. It’s built into them to barter and to make what you have go further,” explained Chiarello.
My friend Carla S., mother of two beautiful little girls, worked full time. When her kids reached the ages of three and four, she decided that she wanted to spend more time with them and started thinking about converting to part time work.
She hired me to help her reduce her monthly grocery bill and find other ways to spend less. With just a few tweaks, she was able to adjust her expenditures and Carla began working part time without having to make any major sacrifices.
The extra time also gave her the opportunity to trade working three hours a week at her yoga studio in exchange for free unlimited yoga. This time-for-yoga exchange has saved Carla $180 per month.
The next time something you want is just out of reach, try to barter something you own or something you can do in exchange for what you want.