Bartering is an age-old practice, and it’s the foundation of every time bank. Here’s how it works: Time bank members perform services — lawn work, childcare, shopping, accounting, painting, sewing, whatever — then they log their hours and earn the same amount of “Time Dollars” to spend by having other members do something for them. Local time banks have websites where members record what they can do for other people, log their hours and find other members who can perform the services they need. No matter the service, every hour donated earns a member one Time Dollar in their bank.
In tough economic times, people join time banks because it’s a practical alternative to spending cash. But they end up getting to know their neighbors, using their talents and enriching communities along the way.
Check the Time Bank Directory for a time bank near you. If there isn’t one nearby, you can start your own. Time Banks USA provides a DIY toolkit for people who want to get a bank going in their area.