It 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:
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.
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 With the multitude of outdated nuclear power plants and factories of old across the globe, we are at a much higher risk for man-made disasters.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
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
- 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:
- Nitrile gloves
- Survival fishing kits
- “Throw-away” knives/box-cutters
- Condiments and spices
- Cigarette rolling supplies
- Travel-sized toiletries
- Pepper Spray
- Garden Seeds
- Hand pumps
- Water purification tabs/filters
- Disposable razors
- Reading glasses
- Duct tape
- Tarps and plastic sheets
- Yarn and knitting/crocheting needles
- Sanitary supplies
- 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
- Canned goods
- Dry beans
- Vegetable/herb seeds
- Coffee filters
- Cotton swabs/balls
- Strike anywhere matches
- Baking soda
- Scrap paper
- Dental floss
- Hair ties
- Aluminum foil
- Popping corn
- 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.