My mother used to make several jars of Guava jelly whenever our Guava tree had dozens of big juicy ripe guavas. She would then send the jelly jars to our auntie, to our grandma, to our neighbors and our friends. My brothers were the ones who always did the job of delivering them. I do not recall even one time when my brother did not return with a gift of some fruit or some treat covered with a nicely decorated cloth. Almost every family was in need of some treat as resources were limited. This way the exchange of gifts made it easier for parents to provide something different for their kids. We would be thankful and eagerly enjoyed the goodies. My mother hoped that people enjoyed her jelly as well.
Our milkman's wife would give us some fresh curds whenever my mom made a dress for her babies. My grandmother used to explain to us that this is the way people can not only show gratitude but save some money. Later on in life we learned that this was a method called barter, except that in the case of family or friends it was an unspoken exchange. I really do not know how and when money sneaked into our lives. I mean, there is a whole chapter of the history of money that is really boring.
It was so much easier when our father was in charge of the budget and we just had to be responsible for our own little allowance, which our mom monitored anyway. I wish that I could go back to those times when I did not have to deal with bills in the mail or to have to balance the checkbook, or even keep receipts for tax refunds. When I say this my husband laughs and says that I should not be talking like this because I had Economics for my major and what is Economics without money. Now how can I explain it to him, that money is not a resource, it is only a measurement of exchange for the resources we need in our lives. It is only a means.