COLUMBIA, S.C. _ Over the past 30 years, Columbia artist Jeff Donovan has bartered for artwork, tuition for his daughter's private school, a custom-made suit and, most recently, a couple of visits to the dentist.
Bartering gives Donovan a way to use his talent _ instead of having to pay cash _ to get things he might never buy for himself.
Bartering, trading goods or services rather than charging cash, is an ancient practice. But it's gained popularity during the economic meltdown that left many short on cash but rich in talent or treasures.
The number of online barter ads has increased 100 percent since 2008, according to published reports.
In 2008, about 250,000 North American companies conducted barter transactions worth more than $16 billion, according to the International Reciprocal Trade Association, based in Portsmouth, Va. businesses around South Carolina's capital also are using barter _ trading a meal for carpet cleaning or trophies for landscaping and painting.
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