Back a hundred years ago, and even as recently as the Great Depression, many families and individuals bartered with each others for goods and services. It was an effective method of payment, and worked well in a time when many people didn’t have a great deal of cash flow or income to use.
In today’s society, many people don’t think of bartering as something they need to do, but if we find ourselves in a post collapse society or in survival mode we may need to take a long look at bartering and how it might be beneficial.
It’s not a bad idea to start stocking up on some of these every day items now – they could prove very valuable in a time of need, and you might find yourself needing “cash” to trade for other goods. Here are some things you can begin collecting now, that don’t cost a lot, before SHTF.
Personal Care Items
These are important because they are things that can be used for personal hygiene. If it is a post-disaster situation, fresh water may not readily be available, and even if it is, it may not be available in large quantities for a full shower. Travel size versions of these products would be great for bartering. Items you can stockpile would include baby wipes (leave them sealed as long as possible to prevent dry out), hand sanitizer, mouthwash, toothpaste and toothbrushes, combs, deodorant, hairbrushes, feminine products, and diapers. You might even think about stocking up on toilet paper, too.
Say your area is hit hard with a natural disaster and leaves a terrible mess in it’s wake. You and your neighbors are going to be faced with a massive cleanup job. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you were already stocked up on basic clean up items – that way you and your neighbors could get right to work at cleaning up the mess. You would not have to worry about the stores being out of supplies – you would already have a good stock at home! Items to consider: trash bags (regular and contractor bag size), work gloves, paper towels, Borax, bleach, vinegar, baking soda, cleaning rags (these could even be old t-shirts cut up in to rag size pieces), duct tape, brooms, dustpans.
Even if you aren’t a doctor or nurse, knowing basic first aid techniques can prove really useful in a disaster situation. It helps to have a well stocked emergency first aid kit in your home, and even better it helps to know how to use all of the items in your kit. It’s also not a bad idea to store extras (maybe in mini first aid kit form (with several of the basic supplies in baggies) to share with friends and neighbors, or use as bartering tools. Travel size items would work great for mini-kits. You can store regular size or bulk containers in your own personal kit. Things you should stock: bandages, antibiotic cream, alcohol wipes, cough syrup, essential oils, cotton balls and cotton swabs, peroxide, pain relievers, thermometers, anti-itch cream, allergy medication, bug repellent, and sunscreen.
Non-Perishable Food Items
While it is considered a no brainer to stockpile food for an emergency, many people probably don’t think about storing extra to use as bartering cash. Items that could prove really valuable in a survival situation would be: rice, noodles, flour, sugar, dried beans, coffee, powdered drink mixes (like Gatorade), popcorn, hard candy, cocoa powder, canned soups, canned vegetables, and broths. You might even be able to use some of your freezer stored foods as bartering tools as well.
Other Valuable Items
While some of these don’t really fall into the other categories listed, they are all items that could be a cash equivalent when everyone is in survival mode. This would include batteries (all sizes), flashlights, cigarettes or other tobacco products, matches, fire starters (dryer lint is free, and works great for this), socks, shoelaces, extra clothes, winter gear like gloves and hats, and fruit and vegetable seeds. Any of these would be worth having just to be able to trade them for other things.
Don’t count out the bartering power of services too – skills like sewing, cooking, or chopping wood would be in high demand in a disaster situation and all could prove very beneficial not just for your family, but for the good of the community as well. Knowing a trade would give you some bartering power over harder to obtain items, as well as give you some stability in the group. Don’t forget about skills like carpentry, plumbing, and tree trimming. These would all be in high demand after a natural disaster.
What bartering items can you think of that would be worth stockpiling?