View Full Version : Time Banking

11-20-11, 10:39pm
I have been intrigued by this idea for a long time. I know some people on the board are involved with this, but wondering how many and what are your reactions? I am more strongly interested now than ever, but with the new house, in less of a position to share my time right now. Perhaps when things calm down I will look into it again and start participating in some community-building systems like this.

Here is the article that got me thinking about it again. (http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/time-banking-an-idea-whose-time-has-come?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+yes%2Fmost-recent-articles+%28Most+Recent+Articles+and+Blogs+-+YES!+magazine%29&utm_content=Google+Reader)

One question for those who timebank . . . the currency, "time," could really be earned collectively in unlimited quantities, right? I mean, if Bob wants 10 other people to come help at his garage sale for an hour, does he "pay" 1 hour but everyone else earns an hour, meaning 10 hours were paid out for the event? Or does he pay 10 hours? Not because I really care that Bob "pays" for the time, but just getting my head around the concept.

11-21-11, 12:17am
ok, it's essentially like this. or, this is how it was where i last time banked. :)

i would value my time for a monetary amount -- one yoga lesson for $100. When someone came to me for a yoga lesson, I would record the value of my hours in my "bank account." They would "deduct" the value of the hours from their bank accounts. It was honor system.

So, if susie came to me and had two private lessons, I would record $200 in my bank account. If i needed an accountant to do my taxes, and he charged $150 for his time -- and would only use one hour (my taxes were actually easy) -- then I would deduct the $150 from my account, remaining with $50.

Then, say I needed baby sitting, and Angela offered it for $10/hr. I needed 4 hours, and so I would deduct $40 from my "account."

In the accountant's case, he would add $150 to his account; and to my sitter, she would add $40 to hers, which she could spend elsewhere -- say she needed a plumber or handyman, and he charged $35 per hour, then she would deduct the hours from her account, and he would add the hours in dollar value to his.

This was all managed individually, keeping our own balance sheets on an honor system, and because some of us did things that crossed over into our business, there was tax/business expenses involved, so good accounting was necessary. For more simple trades -- like baby sitting -- it wasn't as necessary.

The only thing the bank kept was a list of people and what they did and how much they cost and how to get ahold of them -- email, phone. That was kept on a password protected web site, and there was a message board as well so we could ask on there (but not everyone knew how to use it).

It worked well for us, and I'm trying to set one up here. :D

11-21-11, 9:29am
Interesting, Zoebird. My understanding is that our local timebank does not determine a value for the services provided. Legal advice is worth the same amount as raking someone's leaves, it's all about the time you spend at it. I can see the value in both approaches.

11-21-11, 2:34pm
Thanks for sharing, fidgiegirl! Would love to hear more about how this works!

11-21-11, 2:34pm
The instance above -- after talking to a friend that does hours for hours -- the man asked for 10 hrs of labor, and got one hour from each person (even if it was the same hour), and so would have to give 10 hours of labor. And those people earned 1 hr of labor each.

She said that there system is hour-for-hour without determination of monetary value to keep it out of the tax system. Even if you are doing what you normally do, if you are volunteering that time, then it's not taxed (it might be tax deducted) -- e.g., the accountant would volunteer at the church mission to help poor people prepare their taxes, and wouldn't be taxed, though he could technically get a receipt from the church for the donation of hours and take that as a charitable donation against his business.

In this bartering system of time-for-time, though, she said that you neither claim it on taxes nor claim it as a charitable donation. She says that it's similar to just helping out in the neighborhood in general. The guy next door pumps the bicycle tires, and you weed your neighbor's garden, and then she crochets hats for everyone out of the yarn that she found at a garage sale for 25cents. Everyone is doing stuff, but it keeps it out of the tax system.

In our system, we were a clear barter, not a volunteer system, and so we were taxed, assuming we claimed it (which I didn't, because very few people used my professional services.

I'm thinking that an hour-for-hour exchange would be better overall, and in my case, I'd probably just not offer my professional services just to make sure. :)