Bartering should not be a skill forgotten in ancient past or used when you try to bring down the price of cheap, vacation souvenirs. Trading goods for goods or goods for services might someday become a need in our modern society due to its vulnerability to economic collapse.
There are many scenarios where money would lose its value and this are just a few of them:
- Natural disaster (solar flare, major earthquake, etc) – The situation is desperate right now in Nepal and even if you have money, they are of no value.
- Current account deficit.
- Personal poverty
- Global market exchange manipulation
For some bartering is a way of life since they don’t have any income and they trade their skills for goods and services. The more you know and the better you are at certain things, the more advantage for getting the best goods you will have compared with the others.
Here is a list of barter items that can be traded in a time of need:
Food and Water
Every prepper stockpiles on food supplies and water. When money will become useless there will be people searching for this goods and these people may have something you like. People will knock on your door looking for trade and you have to be prepared. These barter items will be changing hands the most during a crisis:
- Canned goods
- Dog and cat food
- Water and water filters
- Cooking oils
- Glass jars
- Salt and Sugar
- Pots and Pans
- Fishing supplies
Medical and Sanitation supplies
Healthcare and medicines will become the second biggest concern after food and water once money become obsolete. If you don’t have any medical training or if you don’t know someone who does, you will have a hard time facing a health issue. If you stockpile on medical supplies, not only you will be prepared but you will also become popular among traders and you will have the upper hand. Of course the best would be to learn how to treat wounds and sicknesses with limited supplies but if you didn’t do it here are the barter items that are important for bartering:
- First aid kits
- Painkillers and antibiotics
- Tampons and feminine products. Learn from here the many uses of a tampon in a survival situation.
- Baking soda
- Dental care. Learn how to make your own from this article.
Having the ability to produce light, to start a fire or just to run machines is something we take for granted these days. If you ask random people on the street on how to start a fire without matches, they will not be able to answer you without searching it on their phones. When power goes out and money will be only useful as burning material, those who can produce power will always have the upper hand and when it comes to bartering. Here are some barter items that will be traded when lights go out:
- Propane and gasoline
- Bio-diesel fuel
- Mechanical chargers
- Solar panels
- Flashlights (especially dynamo ones)
- Solar LED Lamps
- Plug sparks and fire starting tools
Protection barter items
When people have assured their immediate needs like food and water, they will look for means to protect themselves and defend their supplies. Weapons will become extreme items since they will help one to protect himself but also to hunt and build up self-confidence. Other goods that are from the same protection category are:
- Guns and ammunition
- Crossbows and arrows
- Knives and other melee items (machete, swords, etc)
- Tents and sleeping bags
- Pepper spray
- Winter clothes and footwear
- Sewing supplies
Related reading: 5 guns every prepper should own
Commodity – Valuable barter items
All of the above barter items will assure you have the upper hand when money will be used only as toilet paper and society crumbles. You will be able to barter for anything you want but there are some other miscellaneous goods that people will want, no matter what. It’s a good idea to get your hands of some of these barter items for added leverage:
- Cigarettes – This is a vice that will never die. I know people with serious health issues that refuse to quit smoking.
- Alcohol – Same as with cigarettes, a vice that will be requested by many.
- Farm animals – A hen or a family of rabbits will go a long way.
- Duct tape. You know what they say, If duct tape can’t fix it, nothing will.
- Instruction manuals and how to books. An ipad full with these type of books will be more valuable than gold.
- Precious metals
- Skills such as carpentry or woodworking, blacksmithing, hunting, beekeeping, etc.
Once you’ve gathered all the barter items, there are still some risks you need to consider when it comes to trading. You could sell to dangerous people, you could get cheated or even worse you could get robbed. This is why you need a basic level of trust when bartering with someone and here are some tips you should consider:
Don’t sell items to suspicious individuals.
If you have doubts about the person you are about to trade with, then don’t do it. Don’t sell something that might become a danger for you later, like a weapon. Try to trade with people you know and trust. There are some behavior patterns that can help you find out if someone is trustworthy or not:
- They always ask about other items that have nothing to do with their main choice.
- They look around them and at everything else you have, besides what they selected. Their first point of interest should be the item they chose in the first place.
- They ask about your other goods and try to get into detail. How much food you have, do you have a big family, are you isolated, etc.
- They don’t bargain too much as they want to give you a feeling of security. In bartering everything is about bargaining. Someone who goes for the first price is not there for bartering.
- They are never alone. They have a friend with them in case things turn ugly. Sometimes their backup is not in plain sight and you notice him when it’s too late.
Learn the market before trading
A good prepper learns from experience otherwise your risk of trading a good that is much more valuable than what you receive in return. Always consider what you want to get from the trade and don’t go home without it. Don’t settle for less unless you desperately need that item. Make sure the barter items you are trading for are in working condition before you walk away. Never brag about the stockpiles you have as it will make others charge you more than it’s worth for the items you want.
Always be careful
Desperate times create desperate people and the last thing you want is for someone to take off with all your supplies. Try to barter in places like markets or gatherings where people know each other and everything is out in the open. Arm yourself and be on the lookout for stalkers when you go back home. If you allow someone to enter your home and barter, always have someone to back you up, thus reducing the risk of being robbed. Most importantly if you barter at home, the transaction should take place away from your supplies and the supplies should be out of sight and locked up. You should also have your home protected against raiders and home invaders.
Keep a detailed inventory and update it after each transaction so that you notice when something “goes missing”. Bring to the market and show off only the items you want to trade, nobody needs to know how prepared you are and what you own.
The risks associated with bartering can be reduced if you are vigilant and keep a close eye on your supplies.
Stay Safe and God Bless!
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