These days a lot of us are looking for creative ways to save cash. That’s why there’s a resurgence in bartering, the age-old system of exchanging goods or services — without spending a nickel. You could trade a dining-room set for home repairs or try to find a personal trainer in exchange for marketing services.

You can join one of the members-only bartering networks – in that case you don’t have to make a direct exchange with the person you’re getting something from. They usually charge membership fees – and you have to pay taxes in cash on most transactions. Or you can advertise online for free on sites like Craigslist or freecycle.com.

If you go that route, it’s also important to stay safe. Be wary of face-to-face meetings in private settings. Here are some tips on successful barter:

Don’t try to exchange your goods or services for something that is obviously worth much more. It wastes everyone’s time.

Ask for a written or verbal agreement to solidify a trade. It’s also acceptable to ask for references.

Don’t agree to a major trade, such as exchanging homes for a vacation, without extensive communication with the other party.

Watch out for stolen merchandise. Be cautious if a trader is looking to exchange a wide array of electronics in unopened packages.

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