101 Low Cost Items to Barter When the SHTF

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I would be preaching the choir if I told you that it is wise to gather extra supplies that you can use for bartering in a post-collapse world.  The issue for many, however, is that their budget allows no room for extras.  Finding funds for long term personal preps, let alone daily needs can be an ongoing challenge.

Let’s face it. We all know that the middle class is disappearing.  Food and health care costs are up and even those with comfortable nest eggs are finding that their funds are rotting, earning virtually no interest and suffering the ravages of inflation. So what are we to do?

101 low cost items to barter

The first rule of thumb is to acquire skills that can be bartered for goods.  That is the smart thing to do regardless of your financial situation.  Beyond that, there are a number of low cost items that you can accumulate over time, even if you are poor.

Backdoor Survival reader Elaine K. sent me her list of “poor man’s barter items”.  It gave me so many ideas that I expanded the list to include even more items.  Here it is: 101 low cost items to barter if the stuff hits the fan.

Poor Man’s Barter Items

  1. Candles
  2. Garden tools
  3. Fly swatters
  4. Insect spray
  5. Rat & mouse poison
  6. Rodent traps
  7. Scissors
  8. Needles
  9. Straight pins
  10. Safety pins
  11. Buttons
  12. Thread
  13. Elastic-material
  14. Dry beans
  15. Rice
  16. Noodles
  17. Flour
  18. Spices such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice, sage, parsley etc.
  19. Coffee
  20. Cooking Oil
  21. Coffee filters
  22. Pepper
  23. Sugar
  24. Salt
  25. Hand crank or manual can openers
  26. Canned food – any type
  27. Wooden, strike anywhere matches
  28. Old newspapers
  29. Wax for fire-starting
  30. Large cotton balls with soaked in petroleum jelly (also for starting fires)
  31. Bleach (or freshly made pool shock)
  32. Baby wipes (Note:  these can be used to clean face, hands, arm pits, groin in case there is no water. If dried out, pour in a cup of water into container)
  33. Cocoa
  34. Baking Soda
  35. Spirits:  wine, whisky, beer, vodka, brandy
  36. Coloring books & crayons
  37. Scrap paper
  38. Pencils
  39. Ballpoint pens
  40. Copy paper
  41. Lined notebook paper
  42. Tooth paste
  43. Toothbrushes
  44. Dental floss
  45. Combs
  46. Hair brushes
  47. Disposable razors
  48. Nail clippers and files
  49. Feminine products
  50. Bars of soap
  51. Toilet paper
  52. Hair pins
  53. Batteries
  54. Cigarettes
  55. Tobacco
  56. Cigarette lighters
  57. Tobacco seeds
  58. Aluminum foil
  59. Plastic sheeting
  60. Socks – all sizes & colors
  61. Shoe laces
  62. Reading glasses
  63. Garbage bags (can’t have too many)
  64. Brooms
  65. Dust pans
  66. Clothes pins
  67. Clothes lines
  68. Garbage cans
  69. Dryer Lint (to use as firestarter)
  70. Rope of any type
  71. Honey
  72. Hard candy
  73. Popcorn
  74. Kool-aid
  75. Ibuprofen, Tylenol, and aspirin
  76. Essential oils
  77. Cough syrup
  78. Eye drops
  79. Band aids
  80. Laxatives
  81. Lip balm or chapstick
  82. Axes
  83. Nails, nuts, bolts, & screws
  84. Heirloom garden seeds
  85. Fresh garden produce and herbs
  86. Herb plants
  87. Hand garden tools
  88. Two cycle oil
  89. Automotive oil and air filters
  90. Paperback books
  91. Plastic tarps
  92. Duct tape
  93. Fels naphtha bar soap
  94. Washing/laundry soda
  95. Borax
  96. Oxyclean
  97. Home made laundry detergent
  98. Garden compost
  99. Garden fertilizer
  100. Plastic tubs & containers
  101. Petroleum jelly (Vaseline)

The Final Word

Elaine K. is sixty-six years old and has been a widow since 1985.  Like many of us, old and young, times have been tough and she has had to teach herself survival by embracing plain old common sense.  Sound familiar?

When she first wrote to me, she indicated that she wanted to do something to help others.  I am sure you will agree that her list is an inspiration to get started gathering low cost items that will be invaluable in a barter-society if and when the SHTF.

Now tell me, can you thing of more inexpensive if not downright cheap items to accumulate for barter purposes?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Bargain Bin:  Here are items relating to today’s article. Not all of them made the list but they are inexpensive.  Have fun shopping for low-cost items!

Huggies One & Done Baby Wipes: According to Elaine, these ONE & DONE wipes are the best baby wipes. She says:

I have tried them all including Amway. These are the biggest & strongest. wipe your body- two can give you a fairly good clean up. Wipe your hands, wipe of silver ware in case of no water. If they dry out, just add 1/2 cup of water. If the top ones get a little dry, turn the container upside down. I use them to dust with including the dash of my car. Just toss ’em. scrape off muddy boots & shoes then wipe them off- toss the wipe.

2 Pack Survival Kit Can Opener, Military, P-51 Model:  These dirt cheap can openers makes great addition to any survival, fishing, hiking, or camping pack. They are lightweight and robust and they just work.

Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets (Pack of 10): You will be surprised at how warm these will keep you. Be sure to test one out in advance so that you have the confidence to trust the blanket in an emergency. Currently $4 for a package of 10.

Blocklite Ultra Bright 9V LED Flashlight: One of my readers (James) claimed that these work great. So I bought one. Then I bought another.  All told, I have 8 of these spread out in drawers, in my emergency kits, the car, everywhere.  This is my number one pick for a small, but effective flashlight.

blocklite flashlight

SE Whistle  5-in-1, Compass, Lanyard, & Compass:  The description says it all.  A great deal at under $2.00 with free shipping.  Also, check your prices.  Sometimes this one is less money:  SE 5 in 1 Survival Whistle.

Magnesium Flint Firesteel Fire Steel Starter: This magnesium flint stone fire starter is about two bucks with free shipping. How to use:

1. Place the flint on ground upwardly, and put the scraper vertically to the flint, then scrape some magnesium powder on inflammable material like paper or branch

2. Place the flint on ground at about 45° and 2.5 cm from the magnesium powder scraped just now, then scrape the flint fast to produce spark so as to light up the inflammable material

Maximal Power FC999 Universal Battery Charger: Not cheap but over the long term. this nicely built charger will save you a ton of money.  It will charge charge AA, AAA, C, D, N, 9V, Ni-MH, Ni-CD, and Alkaline batteries. It has an LED display so that when you first put a battery in the charging bay, you know whether it is viable for charging or simply bad and ready to go back to the recycle box. See How to Recharge Alkaline Batteries.


Shop the Emergency Essentials Daily & Monthly Sales for Fantastic Deals!

The monthly specials at Emergency Essentials feature discounts of up to 45% off sometimes a bit more.

Every family should have at least one Tote-able Toilet.  I have priced purchasing the bucket and toilet seat lid separately and found that it was more economical to pick up this kit.  I have filled my portable potty with sanitation supplies plus, of course, plenty of TP.

Emergency Essentials carries a wide variety of equipment and supplies – all at competitive prices.


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Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!


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Normally these four amazing oils would cost you $63.45 but this kit is only $49.99.  By  using the 10% coupon code “BACKDOORSURVIVAL” your cost will be reduced to only $44.99.

Of course the standard size Spark Naturals Essential 4 Pack is still available for $19.99 less your 10% discount.


101 Low Cost Items to Barter When the SHTF — 75 Comments

  1. I just picked up a dozen Butane Candle Lighters, with the long nose. These are a major convenience for lighting all of our Propane heaters, grills, and fires in the fireplace. When an emergency hits, these things just vanish into thin air! VERY important for lighting the gas Furnace and hot water heaters when the lights come back on after a storm.

  2. As weird as it sounds, I would add condoms to the list. Besides the obvious, they are great for waterproofing small items, can be used as a tourniquet in emergency medical situations, will hold a LOT of water for washing (not sure I’d drink out of one unless I was desperate), and will hold small kindling for firestarting (the things are amazingly flammable). I’ve even seen them added to a forked stick to make a rather effective slingshot.

  3. “Food and health care costs are up and even those with comfortable nest eggs are finding that their funds are rotting, earning virtually no interest and suffering the ravages of inflation”. This is all wrong. Obuma has said there is hardly no inflation. Those on Social Security gets only a 1.7% inflation raise this year.
    I think I could add to Elaine K’s list, but I would have to do that personally. Give this old widower of 10 years her address, and I will contact her with the information.

  4. Cough syrup, Tylenol, feminine hygiene, cloth diapers, first aid, candy or gum, chewing tobacco, local maps, paracord…the list really is endless. Even people who are prepared forget things!

    • I would not want to be known as the guy with booze come SHTF, as all the alcoholics with nothing of value would be willing to attack you for it.

  5. Cigarettes are extremely expensive. For barter I would recommend the pouches and or large cans of rolling tobacco and rolling papers.

    • that is a good idea but I have been trying to get the most wants plant items to get the seeds and start growing to have six small tobacco plants in a green hose in your back yard coffee chocolate coconuts bananas but I am in Florida so there is no super cold temperature drops

      but I do not have the money or the permission of the people around me to allow it Even now as I am typing this I AM TOLD That I did not do something correct in the kitchen so that I have not go to sleep until the Great Problem is corrected no sleep for me… I have no mental illness or am I a young child

    • Carefully consider if you wish to be known as the peddler of addictive stuff, as addicts will have the least money/resources & may be more likely to attack you.

  6. Something I was thinking about was fabric. I’d like to stock whole rolls of denim, cotton, and such that could be sewn into most anything, but does anybody know of a really truly good way to store it so that it wont get that old cloth musty smell? Since it is not one of my truly essential items like food and water, I don’t plan to use my precious climate controlled household space to store it in, most likely would be storage shed.

    • Fabric softener sheets? I have tons of them from the old days that I never use anymore. Or cotton balls soaked in peppermint and lavender essential oils? Thinking out loud.

      Fabric is an excellent idea!

    • I have sealed some fabric items in my FoodSaveer. Washed, dryed, and folded they take up very little space once all the air has been sucked out of the bag! Especially if it is something you may not use for an extended period of time.

    • Yes, and sewing tools because people need their clothes fixed sooner or later.

      Also, keep the used dryer sheets. After you get a bunch, wash them in the washer. I don’t know about the new ones, but I know the older dryer anti-static sheets work great as filters.

    • I’m a quilter. I would recommend you read up on how to store quilts, especially antique quilts. Sadly compressing fabric is a very poor idea for the long run. Where ever your fold it it will permanently crease creating weak spots. If you store it in light it will fade. If you don’t store it in acid free paper and boxes the fabric will get spots and deteriorate.
      Also fabric is a bug and rodent attractor, rodent, moths, silverfish etc.
      And the quality of fabric you buy will be a big factor. So of it is highly fire retardant meaning it’s full of nasty chemicals.
      Natural fabric I.e. Wool, cotton and silk have their own unique qualities. I would try to figure a way to store them on acid free rolls, not wood. In a controlled environment, not a basement or attic. I would put a lot away since it likely won’t keep long. Read up on how to reuse and refashion clothes you have. The only fabric I would want a lot of is cloth diaper fabric.
      Check out how to store old clothes and quilts. Lots to learn. I suppose we’ll all have to relearn lost arts of weaving, dying, knitting and crochet, and in our spare time Lacemaking!
      Not to mention how to cure animal skins.

    • I store my natural fiber materials in plain ole cardboard boxes with a peppercorns scattered about. They work better at pest prevention and depending on how long stored, they can be reused many times. Natural fiber over time, stored in plastic degrades faster. A lesson I’ve learned over 30 years. Yes I have fabric that old. 😀 Also I don’t store whole bolts. Now i store in yard length of 3-4 yards and separate my stores as I do with my food goods. Remember fabric can be put in small spaces where other items can’t. Outside storage? I dunno, it might be open invitation to ‘coons and other varmints you don’t want around. 😉

      • Store fabric between box springs and the mattress. Lay fabric out to prevent creases or minimize them. Put a fitted sheet over the fabric and the box springs to keep dust off the fabric and keep it from shifting. That way, many problems are solved.

  7. Here are some other barter ideas. Save up extra dryer lint to start a fire and include some strike anywhere matches, tea bags, all purpose camping soap has multiple uses and is not very expensive, powdered pool shock for water purification, extra canning lids and rings for mason or ball jars, rubber gloves for hand washing clothes or washing dishes (will help prevent cracked, dry hands in all types of weather) pick up a multi pair pack. Save outgrown clothing (within reason),sheets, blankets, towels, etc. that still have use but that you may no longer need or want. If you travel and stay at hotels/motels bring the supplied toiletries home and place in a container for barter.

  8. I like your line of thinking Gaye, I might look into which EO has a better history of pest repellent to keep away those pesky weevils also. As far as space bags go…I’ve either had a really bad run of luck with those or they aren’t worth a dime. All of them I have bought have let me down. I decided one year to pack away my bulky winter bedspreads into space bags while the lighter bedding was in use during the summer. When the next fall came and I dug out the warmer bedding, I discovered that all of the bags had lost their vacuum and had filled back out to their full size…if that makes any sense. The whole point for me was to store the stuff in a smaller space. Fortunately the bedding was none the worse for the wear, but the impression I was left with was one of distrust. I figured if air could get in than so could odors and maybe worse. I did consider buckets but that would require unrolling the fabric off the handy cardboard centers and I’d really like to just stow away as is.

  9. Don’t forget your fly swatters and cigarettes!

    Wise up, folks. If the economy collapses, the only thing that will save us is cooperation with our neighbors. In a crisis, survival depends on working together, not holing up with ciggies and fly swatter.

    For hundreds of thousands of years, people have survived crisis by banding together and sharing their resources and their skills.

  10. From the list, at #5, what’s a “Rat & mouse point”?
    Also,, at #35, “Spirits: wine, whisky, been, vodka, brandy” what’s a “been”?

    Maybe just typo’s or something? Or, some things I don’t know about? Oh wait, I’ll bet that was a typo, been is beer?

    Still, what’s a “Rat & mouse point”?

    And at #40 “Copy paper” I wonder what for?

    It might go under #100 “Plastic tubs & containers” but I would add, Ziplock-type baggies.Not so much for bartering with by itself but the things you can put into them (and you can give them at a lower cost while taking up less space than plastic tubs with lids) such as some leftovers from a homemade meal. That goes over real well right now with those who do not cook, I can imagine the value compounding in a tight atmosphere of some kind like a blackout and such. Of course aluminum foil would work in some cases just as easily, but have you seen the price of that stuff as of late? Whoa!

  11. Many good ideas here. So I will address what I know. First you don’t need insect repellent if you know what local plants will give you the same effect…i.e. lavender repels insect so you can use it in your drawers and among your fabrics stored. (Been doing this for 40 years with my ‘stash’. Don’t like lavender, then cedarwood works which is why hope-chests were made from them and women stored their clothes there. Storing natural fabrics in plastic doesn’t allow them to breathe so they will not only get musty but begin to break down. Storing a sockful of salt with the clothes also keeps the moisture at bay. (The salt can always be bartered and you’re storing it 🙂
    Remember any manmade items have a shelf life such as lotions or those ‘little toiletries’ from hotels. So as great as those are, by all means save them up and after a time, donate them to a mission or something and rotate. 🙂
    Even plastics break down so consider what you will use if/when the crisis event(s) last longer than anticipated. Are you aiming to just survive or to go beyond survival to ‘thrival’?

  12. Good list Gaye. However you missed a few things I feel are important-
    1. Condoms. Already mentioned once at least. Certainly ideal as young couples will also be part of the community.
    2. Rubbing alcohol. Excellent for disinfecting wounds and for small lamps.
    3. Hydrogen Peroxide. Another good disinfectant. I have heard bad things about it, but I see no ground as there have been a few times I’ve been out in the bush camping, get poked or cut, get infected, and the H2O2 does a marvelous job on cleaning the infection out.
    4. Apple cidar vinegar. This is good for some recipes for foods and some medicinal purposes.
    5. White vinegar. Good for disinfecting tools.
    6. Battery acid. No joke. Sometimes peoples’ lead-acid batteries start failing, and while adding distilled water can help, in some instances adding some battery acid helps as well. Only 2-3 one gallon jugs would be needed, really. Even one is better than nothing.
    7. Colloidal silver & the stuff to make it with. C-Ag is known for it’s healing and anti-bacterial properties. I would also have uncoated/untreated silver wire for those that want to make their own.
    8. Shampoo. Everyone needs to clean their hair once in a while.
    9. A “Good Samaritan Bag”. This is nothing more than a small zippered bag with a combination of some of the listed items (my list & yours, within reason) for those that have absolutely nothing. Ok, we cannot help the world, but we will encounter those that are far worse off than ourselves, be it now before a crisis or during. (I’m writing a piece about a “Good Samaritan Bag”.)

  13. Also, get a quality sharpening kit as well as some of the inexpensive sharpeners made by Smith’s. A knife is a critical tool. Keep them sharp!

  14. Electricity is one thing we definitely take for granted, and I think it would be like gold if the grid goes. My husband got a small solar charger that was pretty cool and not very expensive from Preparist, but I agree with the commenter above that survival won’t be an individual thing, and we’ll have to work together if it really comes down to it to make it in the long term.

    Maybe the best thing we can do is have a tight, close network of people – each with our own strengths to contribute…and that’s absolutely free.

  15. OK, this may be a silly response, but asking anyway. I raise chickens and I am accumulating quite a bit of chicken manure. Would this make usable barter item? If so, what is best way to barter with it?

    • It’s not a silly question. YES! ! ! People will be wanting good fertilizer and seasoned chicken manure works great! Do a search about ‘chicken manure’ then if you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask a gardener. 🙂 O to have you near me. lol Can you tell I’m planning for my winter garden????

        • ok you now have to see how my sense of humor comes into play. lol I save my pet food plastic bags. I’d fill those up (mark them so you know what’s in them). Since I buy pet food by the 20 lb bag, that’s a good size. So perhaps trading a bag that size for whatever.

        • I believe it depends on the situation. On the one hand, you do not want to broadcast your barter “inventory” to unknown strangers who may or may not be trustworthy. On the other hand, you want enough to make a fair trade with your bartering partner.

          I feel it is best to maintain a wide variety of package sizes or better yet, have the capability of doing some re-packaging on the fly.

  16. When it comes to flint and steel for fire starting, but the better stuff. NOTHING made in China. I tried me cheapos to make sure they work. I couldn’t even get the “magnesium” to start with a propane torch! Just a hint!

  17. Hi there Gaye. I love lists like this! In addition to all these things, I also have been collecting cast iron skillets from thrift stores. When I can get them for less than $4, I snatch them up! I also have been squirrelling away packs of playing cards and wash cloths and towels.

    I am curious though – on the list you posted, you included “wax”. Any kind in particular? and for what purpose?

    • Wax – for fire starting. This was an item suggested by Elaine and I think it was a good one since we all have leftover nubs of wax from burned out candles. I just clarified this one the list.

      I have yet to be able to locate cast iron skillets at thrift stores. Can you tell I am envious?

      • Gaye, wax can work for sealing foods when a lid isn’t around too. I also come across cast iron, but am picky. (I don’t like the cheap or chinese made) Have to admit though, it’s becoming harder to find even in thrift stores. Perhaps more people are ‘wising up’ 😉

  18. In a SHTF scenario, people will be outdoors (gardening, splitting firewood) who have never done it before. Mosquito spray (GOOD stuff; stuff that really works) will be priceless.

  19. While you can get toothbrushes for bartering REALLY cheap, another option is a product called Wisps. They’re tiny, only about three inches long, soft plastic bristles with a dollop of mint in the middle. Walmart sometimes has them on sale for a dollar a pack.

  20. This is a very good list of things….however your title is “Poor Man’s Barter items”. I would love to know where you are shopping that you are getting insect spray, rat poision, material, spices, coffee, sugar, strike anywhere matches, cooking oil, cocoa, spirits, toilet paper, tabacco seeds, socks, garbage bags, rope, honey, essential oils, AXES, automotive and 2 cycle oil, duct tape, borox and oxyclean CHEAP.

    Cheap, to me, is less than a couple dollars. I paid over 4 bucks for my strike anywhere matches, rat poision is over 4 bucks in the supermarket. Spirits? No clue how much a bottle of whiskey costs now, but when I did buy some it was over 8 bucks and that was decades ago.

    Sure you can get instant coffee at the dollar store, duct tape too, but would anyone really trade for that quality product? I wouldn’t. Dollar store duct tape is worth what you paid for it and sticks for about 100 minutes too.

    Rope? 5 bucks easy. (and that’s on sale) Socks? A buck a pair, even in multi-pack.
    HONEY? Not cheap.

    Where are you shopping that these items are cheap??

    • I agree about the label, however searching for inexpensive items is something that should be part of the norm as a survivalist. Errr, I guess you guys call them “preppers” now a days. Where I live there is Wal-Mart, K-mart, Sears, Alco/Duckwall and Dollar Tree. All you can do is look at where you live, write up a list of who you feel is a discount/inexpensive place to shop, and see when they have sales. And some of those places like Alco and Dollar Tree actually have name brand items.

      As for honey, get to know a beekeeper and start working purchases or trades with them.

      And in a crisis, yes. People will trade for items they need but do not have. Duct tape, honey, garbage bags, you name it.

    • Honey real solid packed with enzymes honey not the watered down stuff is expensive in most cases, BUT if you go where the bee-keepers are they may charge you less if you speak with the owners of the hive(s). Otherwise, expect to go to say TRADER JOES and get a serious can of a pound of honey for 12 dollars. (I don’t recall what I paid six months ago) the great thing is it will NEVER under normal conditions go bad. It keeps well in a cool place. Duct tape should be high quality and there’s nothing worse than died up duct tape.

    • Sometimes it’s not about buying an extra item for barter/trade. I buy larger quantities or in bulk then break ‘it’ down. So, I bought the ingredients to make my own hot chocolate mix. I made extra, then using clean emptied chocolate chip mylar bags, I put an amount equal to one cup, then sealed it. One value in bartering, to one up that, in some w/differing labels…I put mini chocolate chips, or broken up Andes candies, or peppermint candies, or even a bit of freeze dried coffee. Can I barter with these? If you are used to having chocolate, or sweets, or coffee…?
      Or take duct tape, I can take a roll and make mini rolls just sitting watching tv. OR…anything else. It’s about buying large and breaking down..those become “poor man” quantities. O and Socks? yard sales, thrift stores, though I do stop at undergarments…I’m thinking about that too.

  21. Just thought of something cheap to add to your stockpile AND have for barter. Solar chargers. SOLAR CHARGERS? Yup. Go to the dollar store and buy any of those solar powered lights for lining your walkway. They come with 2 rechargeable AAA batteries in them. Now go to the flashlight section of same dollar store and buy those LED flashlights that take AAA batteries.

    Charge the batteries every sunny day and use them in the flashlight at night. Sure it’s not going to power your microwave like a solar array with deep cell batteries and inverter, but it will allow you to have light to see all those things that go bump in the night.

    And Dryer lint. (Was that on the list?) Nothing cheaper than dryer lint and most people throw it away immediately. It makes a wonderful fire starter (It’s extreme flammablitity is the reason you should clean your dryer lint screen after each load of wash) I stuff all mine in an empty coffee can, since it holds a LOT of lint and stack nicely in the wasted space on the far side of my washer.

  22. I will argue that #49 Feminine products are possibly the best investment you can make…
    1. Just like precious metals, they will never be “worth nothing.”
    2. Unlike precious metals, there is not a large minimum purchase/investment.
    3. Unlike precious metals, the price will ONLY go up.
    4. Unlike precious metals, you don’t need special knowledge, skills, or testing for you or your “Trader” to know whether the item is the “Real Deal.”
    5. There will be a GUARANTEED demand for these items. No question.
    6. You cannot have too much of this product. You can trade for anything else at quantity.
    7. EVERY man with a wife/daughters/sisters/mothers that has half a brain will trade for these in a SHTF scenario. Even if he doesn’t have those, for all the reasons above he will trade with you.
    8. Multiple uses – wound care, sanitary barriers, etc. (That’s what they do!)
    9. Good storage ability. A LOT of them can be stored in a small area and they are lightweight. (Don’t trade whole boxes at the beginning – the value will go way up as time goes by)
    *** I think you get the picture. You just can’t go wrong with a pile of these. If nothing else, your wives/daughters etc will never run out.

  23. I know this probably isn’t a very common item to store for barter but I have a plastic bin and in it I store lots of the dollar store small toys. Children will need to be occupied and they will have birthdays. I think that dollar toys will be a barter item. Please someone tell me what you think of this idea. Is it good or bad?

    • I think it is a great idea. Things like coloring books, crayons, bubbles, and puzzles are all good things that will help distract young minds from the woes of life if the stuff hits the fan in a major way. All of these and more are available cheap at the dollar store.

  24. Personal Protective Clothing & Equipment – especially N- and P-95s or 100s (fancy “dust” masks). Also, nitrile gloves and safety glasses.

  25. Quite a few of these items can be found at yard/garage sales and estate sales/auctions. Estate sales and auctions are my favorites! I bought 3 huge boxes of candles – 3″ pillar candles from 6″-15″ tall, never used, for $15 at an estate auction – there were over 200 candles! I often find individual candles for 10-25 cents. I’ve bought garden tools, boxes of sewing supplies/notions, huge boxes of fabric, even boxes of new first aid supplies at these sales/auctions. I rarely pay more that $2 per box for anything. At one estate sale, the deceased woman had been somewhat of a hoarder and they were selling boxes for $1 each. Not boxes they filled up with a few good items and a bunch of junk – you could grab a box and fill it with whatever you wanted! I went back every day that week!
    Whatever you’re preparing for, if you aren’t checking out these kind of sales, you are missing out on some really great deals!

  26. I had an idea today that I haven’t seen on any barter lists. Patches to repair bicycle inner tubes. It would seem to me that after an emp when most vehicles aren’t usable, the hot item for transportation would be bicycles but if the tube is punctured it would be useless.

  27. Where’s the guns and ammo? These are the first things I would have – you can always trade ammo and if the jerk won’t trade with you then you can just shoot him and all his is now yours.

  28. Rubbing alcohol,aspirin and 22 shells. Everyone who has bought a gun for their child,usually it is a 22 of some sort. 22 shells are lite,somewhat inexpensive and worth their weight in gold in bad times.

  29. Looks like people have a lot of good ideas. A couple I haven’t seen here yet:
    5 gallon buckets – you can get them new for about $3 and they nest to conserve space
    550 paracord – a million and one uses, including shoelaces!

  30. I have been buying 2 burner Coleman stoves,and stocking up on all kinds of coolers that i can get at auction’s and garage sales,for just a few bucks each.And the coolers are great for storing all kinds of stuff in.

  31. Purchased a “Mr Buddy” propane heater for emergency use if power goes out. Also, installed a natural gas fireplace that operates without electricity. (of course, blower won’t work without it, but does give out the heat) Nice and cozy in here.

    I have printed out some recipes for making soap, and purifying water. (computers won’t work without electricity – so need hard copies)

    I need to make another stop at the bakery for more empty plastic buckets. They are free you know – if you just ask…

  32. I hit the Dollar Tree regularly for toys for children. I think that having something for Christmas and Birthdays is important to little ones. There is no reason not to celebrate holidays and birthdays, regardless. I also have a manila envelope of cardboard decorations for each holiday.

    I wanted to have barter items that were common around a home and would not point to me as a super-prepper. I have lighter flints, buttons, craft needles (those that will sew through canvas etc) eyeglass repair kits and buttons (I have over 1700). Sewing kits at the Dollar Tree are mostly rubbish, but the thread is also a good trade item. I have also stocked up on various reading glasses, sunglasses and safety glasses from the Dollar Tree. They are not fancy, but they do the trick. I highly recommend everyone buy safety glasses for their family. Eye injuries without medical care would be a nightmare.

  33. Buy several P-38 can openers. Share with your family. Place on your keychain. Cheap, light and
    they work well.

  34. I bought 100 1″ wicks for about 5 bucks. I bought a 20# block of wax for 18.00. I save all of my cat food and tuna fish cans. I can make dozens of candles with those materials. Also, I can replace the wax in the dollar store jar candles and use 3″ wicks. I think these things will be useful for us and for barter.
    I bought 50 lighters for a tad over 6 bucks (and yes, they work!) and think they will be of great use and as barter. I plan to buy about 200 more.
    You can purchase a roll of oil lamp wick in various widths and cut off what you need to use.
    Charcoal briquettes dipped in wax and when dry, stored in used egg cartons make great fire starters, as do toilet paper rolls stuffed tight with dryer lint and hot wax poured in. Place in freezer until solid, then cut into 2″ pieces with a knife. When you go to use them, tease out the lint to light it. The lint makes it easy to light, and the wax makes it burn long enough to get the wood well lit. Excellent fire starter! I save all of our lint, but when I need more, I can go to laundry mat and get all I want to out of the garbage cans (wear a kitchen glove- you’ll get looks, but I just explain that I am making camping fire starters if asked- people think that is cool).

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