Money is tight and people are getting creative with ways to maintain their lifestyles.
They're checking out those discount places they always passed by, such as Wal-Mart, T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. They are cutting out coupons.
And, many are hitting online communities like Craigslist, which offers local classifieds for 500 cities in 50 countries. More than 40-million people use Craigslist each month, with 30-million of those in the United States.
In May, usage of Craigslist increased by 11.1 percent from the previous month — most likely tied to the tough economy.
And so, here in Pasco County, people are cleaning out garages to find things to trade, as well as offering up their skills. Here is a sample of recent barter posts:
• Permanent makeup tattooed on your face, if you have something to barter that the "doctor certified" artist wants. The "clean and sterile" session can be in her studio or at your home.
• A wedding dress that was never worn for a treadmill.
• Computer repair for scrap metal, appliances or a barbecue.
• Plumbing for a truck.
• Auto repair for a lawn mower.
• Dental work on a broken tooth in exchange for direct mail advertising, Web advertising or custom thank-you cards, invitations, postcards, etc.
• A 1995 GMC Vandura conversion van for a pontoon boat.
• A living room set for another living room set.
• A painter who will paint, in exchange for a four-door car, as his wife is expecting and they need a car with more room.
• Organically raised pork for farm and building supplies.
• Auto mechanic labor for small claims legal advice.
• Cleaning services for hot tub repair, landscaping work (anyone have Tiki items?) or an old Trans-Am from the '70s.
• A ferret for a snake, as the owner is not the "fuzzy pet type."
• A tattoo for electronics, car stereo equipment, video games, motorcycles or a scooter.
• An elliptical trainer, M-40 Raleigh mountain bike and a crib for a decent road bike.
• A Minolta camera, Estee Lauder, Elizabeth Arden and Liz Claiborne handbags and a Buxton red leather wallet for various household and garden items, such as an electric wok and gold-colored queen-size bedsheets.
• A 1996 Sea-Doo Bombardier three-seater personal watercraft for a car.
• Tools, lawn mowers and computers for an aboveground pool.
• Pool deck, drive and other renovations for a dirt bike, rings, chains or "big diamonds."
• Air-conditioning repair for a car that's good on gas.
• An auto mechanic trading his skill for this: "I like cash $$ guns, bows, mini bikes, go carts."
Erin Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 909-4609.