The Philosophy on Bartering Post-Crisis

The Philosophy on Bartering Post-CrisisIt sure is easy to swipe a card and have anything you need; so easy, in fact, you can make simple transactions with your card on someone’s personal cell phone. Cash, credit, the name makes no difference, it is as simple as grandma’s apple pie. We’ve come a long way since the bartering time and people are forgetting about those challenging days.

But if your any kind of prepper, you will have already pondered what may come about if a critical crisis occurs. Do you know how to barter? What bartering is? How to utilize on your personal skills? Basically speaking, in the world of prepping, the tag ‘barter’ entails a description of a scenario in which, say, money, fails, and in its place goods and services are exchanged for goods and services.

Some may, at least in the present moment, consider bartering as something that only happens when one is down and out and low on monetary support. This is simply not accurate. Before hard cash became the ruler of our great nation, bartering was not only the best way but the only way to obtain goods and services. This method has been around for ages and ages.

If the almighty dollar ever crashes brutally into the earth, other items will at once take its place. The fact that trade is simply part of human nature assures us that it will always continue, even after a disaster strikes. Believe it or not, the crash of the dollar has great potential. Those who survive the initial crisis will still have to live, and this means a certain value is infused in items that will lengthen one’s life or things that will make life a bit more bearable.

Today we will discuss what can bring the need for bartering, what bartering is and how it works, and a suggested list (not an entire list, obviously) of items and skillsets that may become extremely useful for bartering in a post-collapse scenario.

A Few Causes that Could Bring About the Need for Bartering:

Natural Disasters

No region is resilient to the mighty right hand of natural disasters and, most of the time, they cannot even be foretold or predicted. In fact, depending upon your geographical region, you could potentially be at a higher risk for the crisis that could have a major impression on the countries frugality.

Man-Made Disasters

This alone may just bring about the ends of the earth as we know it (the obvious proof is in the pudding). With the multitude of outdated nuclear power plants and factories of old across the globe, we are at a much higher risk for man-made disasters.

Were the grid to actually go down for any extended period of time, you can hardly fathom the havoc that would be wreaked. Think back to the out-of-date nuclear plants, no power (once their month supply or so of diesel back oil) means an inevitable melt-down. This can lead to nearly anything, including a currency crisis.

We must also bear in mind the fact that we have completely run our farmlands into the ground… This could potentially be caused by any number of things; but guaranteed is the fact that the land could become worthless for many generations to come.

Related article: Scavenging and Salvaging Supplies Post Collapse

Cyber Terrorism

Yes, I know the Jetsons just came out a few years ago (ahaha…ahem), but that does not soften the fact that we have arrived in a point in Time where the “cloud” holds nearly all our information.

Most assuredly including our banking ‘systems’. Think of Cosmos Spacely, yes, he is, in fact, the modern day cyber villain known as “hackers” (among many other pseudonyms). These systems (no matter how much money you feed into ‘security measures’) are extremely susceptible to attacks.

Extorting money and wreaking havoc, in general, has never before been easier than in this great technologically advanced society. Not to mention the access to tons of personal information on each and all of us.

What is Bartering/Bartering Skills:

So now, what does it really mean to barter? Well, time tells us that it is the simple act of trading one good for another; I need this, you need that? Trade ya!

While that is authentic enough, there is much more to weigh in on regarding bartering. One must consider the moments at that time and relationships become unpredictable and dangerous. You must have enough intuition homed in to pick up the right/wrong times to attempt a trade. You must have the gumption not to be “suckered” or “gulled” into bad trades.

What Makes a Good Barter Item?

There are a ton of items that would make for good bartering items. However, it seems anytime this topic is brought up the masses always fall back on the same three familiar items without disappointment. They claim that all they need to stockade is alcohol, ammo, cartons of smokes, and gold and silver; these being the chief form of tender during a prolonged crisis. Now, these items may have some great potential, but let’s face it; a good many of us may not be in the financial position by which we can stock up on these pricey items.

In reality, your best bet is to simply stock up on items that are relatively inexpensive, items that have extended shelf lives, and a few items that have value to you and others that will be easier to let go (however, of extreme value to someone else, say a pack of smokes to a smoker for instance).

Barter Items You Can Produce Yourself:

The next best option in bartering items will be the use of ones that you can produce by yourself with what you have. This could be titled the “golden rule” of bartering.

Say you have prepared for the SHTF, and you have a stellar garden producing all sorts of delicious fruits and veggies; these (that is if you do have enough to go around) home-grown delights are now worth beaucoup of “trade value”.

Here is a short list of D.I.Y. barter items that you can make yourself:

  • Body, dish and laundry soaps
  • Alcohol
  • Herbal Medicines
  • Hand tools
  • Bandages from bedsheets
  • Reliable laying hens for eggs

It is important to learn these sorts of things as it will put you in a better position during any sort of drawn-out crisis. These skills and the knowledge of how to use them will be of great importance, not only for you but for those that are truly in need and not necessarily as prepared.

There are other prizes to be obtained from this sort of know-how. The fact that you will be less reliant on any outside form of a “system” will grant you a certain freedom that comes along with self-sustainability.

Good Bartering Items to Be Mindful of Pre-SHTF:

When it comes to collecting ideal tradable goods, it is key to think outside the box. Imagine two days into the grid-fail. People are becoming restless, bored to death at a fast pace.

No more satisfaction of likes and comments on social media, internet and television. Here you come, to save the day with your stockpile of paperbacks, coloring books, crossword searches, Sudoku, board games and playing cards.

Things such as sewing needles/supplies, buttons, laundry soap, clothesline cordage and pins will be of use to others.

Skills in trades such as leather workings or metal fabrication will come in mighty handy as well. Imagine if you possessed the skills to make simple sandals from old tires and a bit of used leather? People would soon find their cheaply made, but costly when purchased shoes are falling apart.

With no stores operating to sell them new ones, they could turn to you, and there you have yourself covered with just a little bit of know-how.

Suggested article: Top 50 Things To Disappear From Stores Before A Natural Disaster

Multi-purpose tools, such as a magnifying glass will come in handy as well. Much of the time you can obtain these for cheap.

Things of extreme use and easily accessible for cheap are important to obtain as well. Under this list could fall salt. It could be that this should be at the top of your list. Its use of adding good flavor to food is not its only claim to fame, in fact, it is the least useful use.

Salt, among many other uses, can be utilized for curing and keeping meat. With its indefinite shelf-life, its multiple uses, and being easily measured, salt will be a very important commodity to serve when SHTF.

Being a bit more expensive, but having the same fantastic shelf life, honey can be a great bartering item. Sugar is much the same, though demographically different.

One may consider stockpiling on some of the following items for bartering purposes:

  • Paracord/rope
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Survival fishing kits
  • “Throw-away” knives/box-cutters
  • Condiments and spices
  • Condoms
  • Cigarette rolling supplies
  • Travel-sized toiletries
  • Pepper Spray
  • Garden Seeds
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Hand pumps
  • Water purification tabs/filters
  • Disposable razors
  • Reading glasses
  • Duct tape
  • Tarps and plastic sheets
  • Handwarmers
  • Yarn and knitting/crocheting needles
  • Sanitary supplies
  • Spirits
  • Fuels of all kinds

If means are little, there are still several “poor man’s” items to help keep you out of the red:

  • Insect spray
  • Noodles
  • Canned goods
  • Dry beans
  • Vegetable/herb seeds
  • Coffee filters
  • Cotton swabs/balls
  • Bleach
  • Strike anywhere matches
  • Newspapers
  • Candles
  • Baking soda
  • Scrap paper
  • Dental floss
  • Hair ties
  • Aluminum foil
  • Shoelaces
  • Popping corn
  • Chapstick
  • Nuts/bolts/screws/nails
  • Garden compost
  • Containers of Vaseline

Keep in mind that both of these lists are short compiles compared to the many useful bartering items that are easily obtained by anyone.

Related article: Superior Barter Items You Should Stockpile For Harsh Times

Simply use your imagination to come up with good ideas for items that will be beneficial in any sort of crisis. Consider those things that you use every day, the ones that it seems like you just couldn’t live without.

Wrapping Things Up:

You may be wondering why gold, silver and other precious metals were not mentioned in the above lists. First off, their value is a given. And second, they are a long-term approach at having value and being useful.

If you, a neighbor, or a friend are in dire need of a certain medication, that major stockpile of gold isn’t going to help them necessarily. This is not to say that you shouldn’t have any at all, but they should not be counted upon for short-term value.

Rather than putting your “money” into your bank account (hidden away, your only proof and security that it is yours being the number they give you when you check online), perhaps you’d be better off investing in some of the items listed above.

Many of the items you purchase now can be stored for long-term, and are not used “every day”; others, such as fuel or temporary items (batteries), will be used and need to be replaced more frequently. Your checklist should end up containing items that will be both popular and necessary for an emergency situation.

Don’t forget to keep a very open and imaginative mindset when thinking of starting a collection of bartering material. The more or less special the item the more or less it is going to be a good tradable.

Also, keep in mind that a lot of bartering is picking up (quickly) on the type of person you are bartering with; i.e., what they need, if they have kids, pets, etc.

Begin now, while you can still use the excuse of “learning curve” to pick up on the essentials traits, tricks, philosophies of bartering your skills and/or excess goods. It is never too early to prepare.

This article has been written by Jonathan Blaylock for Prepper’s Will.

Useful resources to check out:

This ONE THING Can Help You Terminate Your Store-Bought Dependency

Knowledge to survive any medical crisis situation

A Green Beret’s guide to combat and shooting

Survival Lessons from the 1880s Everyone Should Know

Find Out What’s the Closest Nuclear Bunker to Your Home

Learn how to Safeguard your Home against Looters

7 thoughts on “The Philosophy on Bartering Post-Crisis”

  1. For our family, we rely on the 3 “T”‘s for trading. Tobacco, toilet paper, and tampons. Cheap to purchase now. Indefininite shelf life. (No refrigeration needed) And everyone you encounter is going to want at least one of those items.

  2. You shouldn’t even think about intentional bartering & trading goods until YOU are fully prepped yourself – saying that – what exactly are you going to be trading for that’s SHTF worthy?

    Highly doubt low value $1 Store goods are going to get you those eggs, extra fish, fruit or a piece of meat – nothing sought after like a tool or parts neither – highly doubt you get that medic to come over for a sewing kit or a bar of soap >>> going to take some premium trade goods – better to put aside goods specifically for the purpose rather than deplete your regular stock …

  3. I suspect that the average prepper who reads this web site is not preparing for a Mad Max World where money has no value. To one degree or another, they are taking “baby steps” in the process.

    Yet, for those who are preparing for a Mad Max World, it is only the rarest prepper/survivalist who is prepared for the end of organized society with the expectation that they can continue their lifestyle with no need for additional goods of any type.

    As to just how soon bartering would begin, let’s take an EMP attack. Anyone who has studied such an event would understand that it could take years for the national grid to be restored if a major attack takes place. Even an EMP event that is solar in origin would have long term, though lesser, effects. Because the mass of the population doesn’t even comprehend what an EMP attack involves, for the first few days after it happens, cash will likely be accepted. (Credit card and debit card transactions, however, will not occur due to the lack of electrical power necessary to process the transactions.)

    Within the first two weeks, however, merchants and private citizens will decide that they are losing inventory in exchange for useless pieces of paper. Because we are “wired” to value gold and silver, the medium of exchange will likely become gold and silver. The use of gold is problematic, however. Who, except in the most absolutely desperate circumstances, would want to buy a 25 lb. bag of rice, or a case of canned green beans with a Krugerrand? Currently it is worth just under $1,000.00. Using the historical method of creating “pieces of eight” from it is troublesome and the results are inaccurate, requiring every seller and buyer to carry around a precious metal balance or scale so as not to be duped.

    At some point, if the collapse is of the most severe type, even gold and silver will fail. One cannot feed a starving 3-year-old girl a pristine 1 oz. gold American Eagle or, for that matter, a junk 1904 Morgan Silver Dollar.

    About cheap dollar store items and their value post-collapse, I draw your attention to History Channel’s extraordinarily well-done “After Armageddon” (available on YouTube). This docudrama involves a global flu pandemic that shakes society to its core, and it includes scenes of bartering. The lead character, an LA paramedic, has cut his finger in the garden and it has become infected. He attempts to get antibiotics from a traveling trader who brings goods out of the city to refugees in the country where he barters. The trader tells the paramedic that he has no antibiotics, and that antibiotics are hard to come by now.

    Spoiler alert: the paramedic dies from the simple cut to the finger because sepsis sets in.

    In just about every Dollar Tree or 99 Cents Only store (or their competitors) in this country, tubes of Triple Antibiotics can be purchased for $1.00 now, as can all sorts of medical and first aid supplies. Beyond that, cleaning supplies, soap, shampoos, and other items essential for a normal life and adequate health and hygiene, can also be obtained now for $1.00.

    In a post-SHTF, there will be no substitute for many of these items, and the supplies will be finite. By bartering, however, one will have the flexibility of determining which item they need more, a bottle of shampoo, or a dozen eggs.

    One last thought, the current estimate of the number of firearms in America is 400 million. Yet, the owners of so many of the “Thuhty-Thuhties,” and similar firearms sitting in the closet have only a small amount of ammunition. Anyone who believes that after a massive societal breakdown that firearms will not be extraordinarily important is beyond help. Yet, these firearms will be simply nice paperweights without ammunition. Personally, I believe that ammunition will be the new “coin of the realm” and will have an important place in bartering. (Yes, the person who gets the ammunition will be able to shoot the one who traded it to him. My advice? Shoot back.) Do not misunderstand me, ammunition is certainly not the be all and end all of bartering.

    As Rudyard Kipling once said, “A man cannot have too many books, too many bottles of red wine, or too much ammunition.” Having substantial amounts of ammunition in common calibers will give the owner the luxury of having a barter item that will allow a person to “fill in the gaps” of things that are missing in preps or which are running low.

    In the meantime, that ammunition will allow the owner the opportunity to forage with it, and to defend himself and his family. Without an adequate means to defend the family (and all of the food and possessions that the family has accumulated), after a really massive societal collapse, the family will appear in the “prey column” of the societal balance sheet.

  4. Post SHTF bartering will only occur when trading posts like the old fort arrangements when the west was won are established. Granted, you may be able to trade with known neighbors and/or others if your local community has stayed more or less intact (one heck of a big ‘if’ that); but, to consider any type of normalized/civilized mechanism for free trading without strength and numbers would be suicide on even a county or regional basis. Everyone is going to have their junk they think is of value to try and offload for basic necessities. Unless what you have is renewable and not being harvested by those in your area… it’d be an exercise of trading junk for junk. Never know though. The old mantra “one man’s junk is another’s treasure” might apply here and there. Bottom line – all trade will be an armed affair. The trip to; and even more so from the ‘fort’, will be the most hazardous for many.

  5. just a parting word on the “perfect” barter item >>> to me it’s a jar of instant coffee selling for a $1 thru the Dollar General chain of stores – 2.82 oz jar makes (32) 6oz cups of coffee – packed in a 3″X6″ glass jar that’s a great long term storage container at the optimum trade size …

    coffee is going to be one of those “sin” items that will have universal want – you can consider it a premium trade item >>> the return on that $1 buy in a serious SHTF is close to impossible to estimate …

  6. People should think of barter items in two distinct groups. The first group are those things that you have managed to put away for such purpose. Like your monthly paycheck, these will be bartered for like goods and, like your paycheck will soon be gone. Tobacco, toilet paper, fire starters, etc. fall into this category. If that’s all you do, you will soon be broke.

    The second category consists of what you can do to produce ongoing paychecks. These are skills, like gardening, leatherworking, small machine repair, alcohol distillation, hunting, fishing, naturalist (edible wild plants), etc. that will produce an ongoing stream of barterable products or services. If you don’t have this second category covered, you’ll likely end up a zombie and that is a very bad thing.


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