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10 Great Ideas for Frugal Family Fun

Try the Barter System

Bartering, or the exchange of one good or service for another, is one of the earliest known forms of economic exchange [source: Merriam-Webster]. Sure, it's not as modern as that newfangled capitalism thing, but it allows those who might be short on cash but long on know-how to access the same goods and services that they would with cold, hard cash.

If you're interested in bartering, established bartering networks are often the simplest to use. These networks offer access to individuals or businesses interested in making a trade; however, they also usually charge a fee [source: Barter Network].

Although formal bartering can provide a more streamlined and far-reaching bartering experience, informal bartering, as among friends or relatives, is often cheaper and easier on a smaller scale. For instance, if your neighbor is great at cooking, try setting up a time for your families to attend an impromptu cooking class. In exchange, you can offer to share a skill at which you excel.

But what happens when the movie theater won't take a home-cooked chicken dinner as payment? Read on for tips on how to lessen the load on your wallet when official currency is the only option.