“I can’t believe it! A year and a half of trading things from a simple hair clip to getting a house…and I did it! Look at this! It just shows you it’s possible!” enthuses Demi Skipper, holding the keys to her new home. It was in May 2020 that the young commercial at Buzzfeed began her incredible adventure. “I was inspired by a TEDx talk given in 2015 by a blogger, Kyle MacDonald.” He explained how he had managed, in 2006, to obtain a house after fourteen exchanges, starting with a red paper clip.

Demi then launches her “Trade Me Project” and gives herself five years to obtain, through barter, a house starting from a simple hair clip. The conditions are clear: if Demi can use online sales platforms such as Marketplace, eBay or even TikTok, she must not spend a cent to obtain an item or have it repaired, nor must she call on her relatives.

“In addition to my full-time job, barter sometimes required 40 hours of work per week!”

Over the months, the young woman documents her barter via videos on social networks. Against the hair clip, she gets a pair of earrings, then four margarita glasses, a vacuum cleaner, a snowboard, an Apple TV, noise canceling headphones, an Xbox One, a MacBook Pro, until the fifteenth deal where she finds a 2008 minivan that the owners are kind enough to deliver to her after a 29-hour drive from Minnesota to San Francisco, where she lives with her husband. But there you have it: his minivan breaks down.

But Demi has refrained from spending money to have it repaired. But just as she begins to fear that her bet will fall short, she manages to trade in the broken down vehicle for an electric skateboard, which she then trades in for a Mini Cooper. She then thinks of getting a good deal by swapping the car for a diamond necklace… but discovers too late that the jewel is only worth a quarter of the value of the car. Optimistic, she persists and, six exchanges later, obtains three tractors.

Demi Skipper and her husband are now planning to swap the house

“In addition to my full-time job, barter could ask me up to 40 hours of work per week,” she says all the same. Among his 5 million followers on TikTok, a chain of Tex-Mex restaurants then offered him, in exchange for his agricultural machinery, a card allowing him to eat for free at home for a year, plus a buffet for fifty people. A VIP card that attracts a fan of the Tex-Mex brand enough to offer Demi a caravan equipped with solar panels.

And, finally, on December 11, the young girl reaches her Grail: the caravan is traded for a small house to renovate located in Tennessee. Since then, Demi has made headlines in the media and was invited on January 11, on the set of Ellen DeGeneres. She and her husband are now planning to move to Tennessee while they renovate the house. Eventually, the couple would like to give it to a person in need… in exchange for a simple hair clip. Closing the loop.


Lara T.
Lara T.

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