Serving Time

Owning a home always sounds like such a great idea, after all, it’s the American Dream.  Eventually it can turn into a small nightmare for people who don’t have the skills or who can’t afford to hire out work they want/need to have done. 

 We all have skills, but the skills we have aren’t always quite enough to hang that wallpaper properly or fix that loose porch railing.  Then there are the elderly who aren’t able to keep up with the yard work or might need a ride to the doctor.  Everybody needs help sometimes.  We’ve all been there.  And that is where the idea of Time Banks come in.

There’s a group in Eastport who have started a Time Bank and this is how it works:

You sign up to become part of the Time Bank and list the skills you have to offer.  Skills offered range from babysitting to sewing to carpentry and yes, even rides to the doctor.

When someone needs your expertise, they make arrangments with  you to get the work done at your convenience.  Once the work is complete, you earn “hours” .  Hours are the equivalent of currency and you can spend your hours using the skills offered by any of the Time bankers.

So let’s say I sign up and offer gardening, house cleaning and pet care.  Another “Time banker” calls me and arranges for me to mow their lawn.  I get the job done in an hour so the time I spent is put in the “bank”.  I mow several lawns and I end up with, say, four hours in the “bank”. 

I have an unfinished bedroom in my house.  The sheetrock is up, the mud is on, and I can’t seem to find the motivation/time to sand the mud (not to mention I am terrible at sanding).

  I call a fellow Time banker who has offered sheetrock work as a skill and arrange for him/her to come do what I can’t seem to do:  sand those walls.  It won’t  cost me a dime because I have those four hours  “banked” to spend any way I choose.  Think of it as a bartering collective or neighbors helping neighbors.

When I was approached about joining the Time Bank I had concerns about taking business away from local workers but I was quickly reassured that those who have joined the Time Bank don’t have the resources (read “cash”) to hire someone.

It’s a wonderful idea whose day has come.  I definitely plan to join…just as soon as I can find the time.

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2 responses to “Serving Time

  1. Donna, Bangor USA

    What a great idea! If we had that where I live, I wouldn’t have to sell my home, which I probably will by next year. Maybe I’ll move “Downeast”.

  2. Maybe you could start a time bank in Bangor? Otherwise, come Downeast, you may just love it as much as I do!

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