I hate to start everything I write with "in this economy," but what else can I do? So... "In this economy" we need to use all the tactics we can find to get the things we need without spending money. One way to do this is to barter.
Now, you don't need a bad economy to barter, but you may find others more willing to make deals if they're short on cash or if you have something they would like to have.
What that "something" is, can be a skill or technique or experience, or it can be food or "durable goods," or a service. That's just a way of saying that everything can be traded, given the right circumstances and people.
I have heard of people trading home canned goods for dental work; snow removal for fresh eggs, canning jars for hand knitted socks. We all have something that's valuable to someone else. Babysitting, dog walking, window washing, teaching skills and on and on... someone, somewhere needs it.
It may take a few tries to get started, but don't let that discourage you. I won't repeat everything I've written about it elsewhere, but I'll direct you to a couple of articles:
Wanna Trade? Barter Yourself to Financial Freedom
Seniors: Instead of Money, Barter
In the Community at Dollar Stretcher, there are a few threads about bartering that may open your eyes to the possibilities:
Bartering for Goods and Services
Gone to Bartering Yet?
If you haven't done it, there's no better time than right now.