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This Utah man hopes to trade his way up — from a rock to a house

This Utah man hopes to trade his way up — from a rock to a house

(Matt Steggell via TikTok)


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SALT LAKE CITY — Utahn Matt Steggell once traded his way from AirPods to an airplane. Now, he's setting out to trade a rock all the way up to a house, and he's already managed to trade his way up to a truck.

Rick Camarillo, a fifth-grade teacher in Utah, was browsing Facebook Marketplace when he saw Steggell's ad and thought "Why not?" He'd been trying to sell his inversion table for quite some time and no one was interested, so he figured this would be a cool thing to be a part of.

Thanks to Camarillo's trade, Steggell was able to begin his trading journey in hopes of going from a rock all the way up to a house. Since then, Steggell has made several trades:

  • Inversion table for AirPods
  • AirPods for a PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation 4 for a Nintendo Switch
  • Nintendo Switch for a set of Pokémon cards
  • Pokemon cards for a car
  • Car for an RV
  • RV for a motorcycle
  • Motorcycle for a 1976 classic truck

Trading small items for something bigger became somewhat of a trend during the pandemic and was popularized by TikTok user Demi Skipper, who runs the @TradeMeProject where she has worked to trade her way from a bobby pin up to a house; the account boasts more than 5 million followers. Steggell and Skipper collaborated on a trade, where she gave him a PlayStation 4 gaming system for the AirPods.

Steggell has also been documenting his trading journey on his TikTok account @bigorbetter, where he has more than 661,000 followers.

"It's really cool to see how far he's going in this process," Camarillo said. "When I heard about this challenge that he was doing, I don't really think so much of it, but just seeing how much progress he's made I'm like, 'Wow, I actually gave him a really good head start.'"

Camarillo has since told his fifth-grade students about his experience and inspired some of them to start their own trading journey after a few kids began asking for paper clips to start with.

"I would like to see (Steggell) reach his goal and just being a part of that, just being a start of it, honestly, I take a lot of pride in as well," Camarillo said.

Steggell began his recent trading in the fall but has done other trade experiments in the past.

Last year, he traded his way from AirPods all the way up to an airplane, which he ended up selling to a flight school in Spanish Fork for $15,000.

"I think people love it just because it's like there's stuff laying around their house, and everyone just gets excited like, well, what can I turn this into? The economics of it is just so fascinating," Steggell said.

It might take a while for Steggell to make his way all the way up to a house, but if anyone wants to get in touch for his next trade, his TikTok username is @bigorbetter and his Instagram handle is @bigorbettertrading.

In his experience trading items up, Steggell said people are pretty easygoing and a lot of individuals don't want to deal with the hassle of selling and negotiating price so they are willing to trade items they are getting rid of instead.

"It's a win-win situation," he said, adding that both parties get something they want.

Well, except for Camarillo, who wasn't necessarily in need of a new rock. But he says being part of the journey and giving Steggell a good head start was worth the trade.

And yes, he still has the rock.

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Lauren Bennett is a reporter with KSL.com who covers Utah’s religious community and the growing tech sector in the Beehive State.

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