While most people think that a bartering system is a thing of the past, there are still many communities that are trading good and services for the items they need. In these uncertain times, bartering could become tomorrow’s reality and you need to have the proper barter items stockpiled if you want to survive.
If you think that bartering doesn’t have a place in these modern times, you might want to look at what Venezuela is going through. They ended up having to barter for even the most basic items when the economy collapsed. Most of them were caught by surprise and when their money became useless they had to figure out other ways to survive.
Those who knew a thing or two about gardening turned the roofs of their homes into urban gardens and now they are protecting those gardens from their neighbors. The ones that lack the time and know how to grow food turned to bartering or other activities, some of them unacceptable for the civilized world (source).
If you lack the skills that would help you barter for the items you need, your best option would be to stockpile as many barter items as you can. Once you manage to store all the items that will help you survive during an emergency situation, it would be smart to stockpile something extra that you can use for bartering.
The following superior barter items should be considered for storage:
There are those people that think most conflicts can be solved by words and they are certain that a calm discussion will resolve any problem. There are also those who think that bullets will do most of the talking during a desperate situation and I assume they might be on the winning side if all hell breaks loose. You might not like the idea of a conflict, but even so, you need to be prepared. Using ammo for bartering will not be uncommon and many people will need various type of ammo for different purposes (hunting, self-defense, looting, etc.). Stockpiling popular rounds such as .22LR, 9mm, .223, 5.56mm and 12 gauge shells is something you need to consider, regardless if you’re a pacifist or not.
Related reading: Five Guns every American should own
- Dry goods
If you think about it in terms of survival, every person needs about one pound of dry substance every day just to survive at the most basic level. Storing foods like rice, corn meal, flour is not expensive and it can last for many years, if stored properly. You can use these foods as barter items or you can cook various dishes for added value and exchange those meals for the items you need. If you want to have top items when it comes to barter food items, try stockpiling MREs or any other survival rations that you can buy on sale.
While some people will say that stockpiling batteries is a no-brainer, there is more to it than one assumes. It is true that everything runs on batteries these days and such items are seen as disposables by the vast majority of people. Every battery can be recharged and there is more to stockpiling batteries than just buying them from the store. Even more, I you can improve the deal by offering to recharge or recondition old batteries. Many people don’t know that even Alkaline batteries can be recharged and that having a charger like this one can really make a difference.
Recommended article: Everything you need to know about batteries for emergency preparedness
- Vegetable seeds
As the people of Venezuela learned, growing your own food without having the proper knowledge and without the right seeds is a task destined to fail. You must look at every disaster scenario as a possible reset of all the things we take for granted. You should have a long-term strategy and you should stockpile barter items that would help people become self-sufficient. Resupplying food for a community takes time and there aren’t any magic seeds that can simplify work. However, there are seeds that remain viable for up to 8 years if stored in proper conditions, and that’s the real magic if you ask me. Stockpile on various types of seeds as you don’t require too much storage space for this type of barter items.
- Manual tools
Working without electrical power may seem hard for today’s handy man, but it’s not something impossible and our ancestors proved it. This country was built on manual labor and the tools they used back then can still be found today, even more some of the old tools have been improved by technology and they are supposed to last longer. Think about the tools that are needed in your area, and make a list with what you think you could spare or lend to your neighbors. Gardening tools will always come in handy, but there are many other tools as well that one could need (everything from kitchen to construction tools).
- Medical supplies
While certain medical supplies like dressings and gauze can last forever, antibiotics and other medicine will not. People will look for this type of meds and they will increase in value as time goes by. There are many preppers and survivalists recommending to stockpile antibiotics like there’s no tomorrow, but that won’t be possible for everyone. There aren’t many families that have a budget allocated for barter items and for them this recommendation may become a financial challenge. I suggest buying various types of antibiotics if you have the money, but I recommend learning how to improvise if times get rough. For example, there are many antiseptics (like Dakin’s solution) you could make at home and trade it for items you need. Improvisation will become an important aspect of self-healing in a post-SHTF world and you need to learn how to survive with what you’ve got.
- DIY and How-to literature
Any detailed survival or self-sufficiency book will become priceless when you are forced to live on your own, without the help of the modern society or the technology that governs it. Any information (like the ones you can find on this site) can give a person the knowledge they need to increase their family’s chances of survival. There are people that have a SHTF library besides their survival pantry and it is a proven fact that those who have the knowledge are the ones who can succeed. Even literature that is not survival based can help when you are fighting boredom or when you try to stay calm and regain that sense of normality you used to feel before things changed.
- Hygiene items
Stockpiling soap, toothpaste, toilet paper and any other items that you are using every day is recommended as a common barter practice. However, learning how to make your own soap or toothpaste will provide you with options when those supplies run out. People will always need these items and especially in a crisis when stores are closed. Some people suggest stockpiling things like diapers, baby wipes, diaper rash cream and what not, but if there aren’t any young families in your area and if you are not located in a zone that is easily accessible, it will just be a waste of money. Feminine hygiene products will also become of value and I’ve noticed that preppers don’t like to discuss about it. The lady in your life will have certain needs and you shouldn’t avoid this discussion, just because it makes you uncomfortable. Even more, some of these items have multiple survival uses and are excellent barter items.
Suggested article: Prepping for your period – A sensitive topic for preppers
- “Wicked” items
Like it or not, vices rule this world and there will always be people craving for barter items such as alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and what not. Dealing with the pain of caffeine-withdrawal headaches is not a pleasant situation and it’s an extra concern you have to consider if coffee runs out. There will be people willing to trade food for alcohol and this is an addiction that many have without even realizing it. Condoms and other contraception items will also become valuable barter items and people will look for them when they require a moment of comfort.
- Home improvement items
Everything that helps keeping your house together during a disaster can be considered a home improvement item. Duct tape, water filter, water purification items, house cleaners, nails and screws, fire extinguishers, perimeter alarms, door jammers and so on, are all items that can be considered barter items and it all depends on what budget you have and how easy you can procure those items.
- Pet supplies
After keeping an eye on what was going on in Venezuela, I’ve came to the conclusion that cats and dogs are more than just pets. They are equal family members for some people and they help to protect the property (including keeping critters away from the garden). They provide comfort for the young ones and are the most sensitive off-grid alarm system you can think of. To keep your pets safe you need to make sure you stockpile on pet meds and pet foods .There are excellent barter items because there will be a lot of people who wish to protect their furry babies and keep them in good health. Even more, dog food can be used as survival nutrition under extreme circumstances.
Many people fail to consider that bartering is an activity which is dictated by supply and demand, and that the geographical region also plays an important role in what you should stockpile. If you live in an isolated region stockpiling large quantity of ammo is not needed and you need to concentrate on medical supplies and tools. If you live in an area that is prone to sudden weather changes you should stockpile on foods (since the gardening season may be compromised at any time) and home improvement items. Make a list with all the barter items you think will be needed in your area and the ones that the various elements of society will want (not need).
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