Boomerater™ Report: Bartering to Save Cash

Add your thoughts to our weekly advisory of useful tips for Boomers.

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The Boomerater™ Report is our weekly collaboration with Boomerater.com. Boomerater is the online resource for Baby Boomers offering information on topics such as finding financial planners and assisted living facilities. In each report, we feature a selection of helpful tips from Boomerater’s collection of financial, consumer, and lifestyle content.

We also post a question of the week for which we are looking to hear your thoughts and first-hand perspectives. Last week, we asked readers what bartering deals they recommend to conserve cash. Here are a few of the responses:

A. I started by swapping my landscaping services with members of my church (we publish a list of anyone willing to barter services.) I also tried Craigslist but didn't see anything in my area I wanted to trade for. ITEX is a more flexible alternative. You sell a product or service and get ITEX virtual dollars in your account. Then you can use those dollars to buy another product or service from an ITEX member. I have traded landscaping for computer services and have gotten new clients in the process. The only drawback is they charge a 6 percent fee to both parties in the deal.

A. This barter dealing is a great concept - I am a small business owner and often do deals with the airlines so that they can market to my corporate customers in return for contra travel. Also, I work with marketing people who help me with advice and sales techniques and in return, I give them access to my customer base for new leads for them. I think the main angle is for each business to look at the customers it has, and who would benefit from the barter, and work deals around that. I consider my customers to be an asset not only for myself but for others who wish to access the same group.

And for those of you deciding between in-home health care or assisted living for your parents, here are some tips from other Boomerater members:

A. There are a lot of factors to consider, including: Is your mother willing to move or does she want to stay in her home? Do you have access to quality in-home care? Is there a good assisted-living community near her or you? What is the financial situation? How is her health and do you anticipate she may need more care as time goes on? If you decide on assisted living, I encourage you to look at a Continuing Care Retirement Community. She can move from independent to assisted living, and if necessary, to a full nursing home without leaving the community or the friends she will meet there. Moving once is hard enough, but having to move again for health reasons is very hard for many people.

A. Definitely check Medicare.gov. This site has added a five-star quality rating for facilities of all levels of care. They rate by overall, health inspections, staffing and quality measures. Just go to the bottom of the home page and click on "Compare Nursing Homes in Your Area." You can search by name, zip code, etc.

(Boomerater has a comprehensive database of senior housing facilities including assisted living, retirement communities and CCRCs.)

The Best Life question of the week is below. Go to Boomerater.com to share your thoughts, and in the next report we’ll share some of the best responses.

My mom is in her 80s. Her driving seems worse every time I’m with her, but my mom refuses to even think about giving up her car. Does anyone have ideas on what I should do?