Everyone will want the physical items that will help them survive even if it’s just for a couple more days.
Gold and silver are good, even money might be worth something eventually, but having food, water, guns, ammo, and the ability to fix things (and people!) is going to open more doors than any gold bar.
What is Bartering? A Quick Definition
In short, bartering is the exchange of goods and services without the use of a currency such as money, bitcoin, or precious metals. The premise is that both parties need the physical goods or services directly, as opposed to accepting a currency which then must be traded off in a subsequent transaction.
Why Aren’t We Using Bartering Right Now?
We used to barter exclusively, a long-long time ago. But bartering proved very inefficient, hence the need for a currency. Let’s say for example, that you need a basket of tomatoes from someone and that person needs beef. You have a cow. If you give him the entire cow, that’s going to be worth a lot more than the tomatoes. IF he gives you enough tomatoes to compensate for the cow, you’re going to have much more than you need and most of the tomatoes will spoil unless you barter them for something else. That means, of course, that you’re going to have to find someone who wants your extra tomatoes.
Problems, problems, problems. The need for currency was born. But good currency can’t be just anything. Good currency has to be finite and divisible.
Gold and silver are finite and somewhat scarce, that’s why it made good currency. In addition, the fact that it doesn’t spoil made it great for jewelry (and an increase in social status for those who wore it).
Gold coins were also divisible. That meant that instead of giving a whole coin for a cow, you could cut a piece of the coin and give only a part of it.
One of the coins that gained a lot of traction in the 16 and 17 centuries throughout Europe was the Spanish real. It was also called the “piece of eight” or “silver dollars”. Since one such coin was worth 8 reals, it was often cut into 8 pieces that looked similar to these:
What to Stockpile
Here’s a quick list of items with a long shelf-life that you may want to stockpile even though you won’t be using them yourself. If you have enough storage space and you can get them cheaper than anyone else, then why not? It’s going to be fantastic to have leverage, in the form of bartering potential, on the rest of your community post-SHTF.
- alcoholic beverages such as whisky and wine
- toilet paper
- sewing kits
- duct tape
- honey (indefinite shelf life)
- shoe laces
- motor oil
- livestock (for breeding purposes)
- baby diapers
- zip lock bags
- gas cans
- anything that works on solar power (calculators, phone chargers etc.)
- clocks and watches repair
- nail clippers
- paper, pencils and pencil sharpeners
- water purification kits
- fire starter kits
- razor blades
- pepper spray
- … and many more!
In fact, if you think about it, a lot of the items that we take for granted today are going to have huge bartering value. Another way of putting this is that you should hoard anything you can within the limits of your available space. Don’t go to the extreme of becoming an actual “hoarder”.
Think Outside the Box
A lot of people argue that you should only stockpile items with a long shelf life. And I’ve given you quite a list of such items. But why not take things further?
For example, I have a feeling eggs are going to have a lot of value post-SHTF. But you can’t start stockpiling them now, can you? They are fragile and unless stored carefully, they have a pretty short shelf-life. You could raise chickens so that you have a steady supply of fresh eggs available for bartering post-SHTF.
The point I’m trying to make is that everything can be used for bartering purposes: fruit, veggies, energy, labor, various skills. In a word: EVERYTHING. If you can store it properly or figure out how to have a steady supply when it’s needed.
Stockpile Items That Have multiple Uses
It makes sense, doesn’t it? The more uses an item has, the higher likelihood of someone needing it. Here’s a quick list of things that have dozens of uses in a survival situation:
- duct tape (making a spear, starting a fire, fixing broken pipes, etc.)
- dental floss (can be used as a fishing line, shoelace, trip wire, etc.)
- baking soda (to make toothpaste, for cleaning)
- paracord (to build shelters, tie animals, etc.)
- condoms (for birth control, to hold water, etc.)
- bandanas (to protect mouth and nose, filter water, as a splint, etc.)
- … and on and on.
Keep These in Mind
Bartering is nothing without the crucial skill of negotiation. If you don’t know how to negotiate, you will easily get double crossed or, worse, even killed! Think about it, what if the ammo your get is full of duds? What if the food is poisoned?
You need to be able to tell if you’re falling into a trap because post-SHTF bartering is not at all like what takes place at flea markets or even between companies. Right now there are laws to protect us but after Doomsday, there might not be.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you should always trade what you don’t need. Things are going to be tough. Everyone is going to look for food, water, antibiotics, and so on, which is why you can’t afford to trade those. Taking food from your child’s mouth to help someone else might put that child in danger. Always trade your surplus items and items you know you won’t need.
- Bring a gun with you
- Bring someone to assist you
- Make sure you don’t get followed on your way back home
- Always do business with people you know or who have a good reputation
- Always barter in a public location
- Don’t let anyone know you have valuable things at home
- Be aware of your body language. If you’re desperate, the last thing you want to do is to show it to them.
Well, the best thing you could do is to learn and practice negotiation tactics. Remember, it’s all about getting what you want and not getting screwed over in the process.
Negotiation is an art and there are quite a few strategies to get what you want, including:
- talking in a pessimistic matter (I can’t afford it, I’m not sure it will work for me etc.)
- using ultimatums (You either take it or leave it!)
- and making future promises
Go to a modern day flea market and negotiate everything. Schedule a meeting with your boss and negotiate a raise. Use every argument you can to prove to him you deserve it, even if you’re not sure you do! The more you practice, the better you’ll become at negotiating and the easier it will be for you when the brown stuff hits the fan.
One More Thing…
Remember that you can also barter your skills. Plumbing, carpentry, fixing appliances, even dog-walking or taking care of babies can help you secure free food and water. All you have to give away is your time, which you’ll have plenty of post-collapse.