How to Barter for Survival (not just a list): 100+ Items to Barter in a Post-Collapse World (2018 Edition)

Editor’s Note: This resource has been updated and revised for 2018.

Do you know how to barter?  In preparedness circles, the term barter is used a lot when describing a post SHTF situation when goods and services may no longer be available through normal channels.  According to Wikipedia, ”barter is a method of exchange by which goods or services are directly exchanged for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money”.

A lot of people think of bartering as something to do when they are down an out, perhaps unemployed, or low on cash.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  Bartering has been around for eons and is simply a smart way to acquire goods and services under the radar screen.

Today I would like to share some very simple tips for bartering as well as my own suggested list of items and skills that may be useful for barter in a post-collapse economy.

Types of Socio-Economic Collapse Worth Prepping For

Cyber Terrorism

Unfortunately we live in a world where the banking system is very susceptible to cyber attacks. It has been proven all too many times that our computer systems are not safe. There are so many ways to glean information and those that want to cause trouble or extort money from others.

Fiat Currency Crisis

In the United States the only thing backing our money in reality is the confidence of people and business. There is no gold or silver to back it up whatsoever. Government spending is high and the US treasury keeps printing more money. The more money that is in circulation, the less your dollar is worth. If money is worth less, then it may stop being accepted for goods, services, and more.

Further Resource: You may be interested in learning more about alternative currencies as well. This article compares Bitcoin to Gold (there are pros and cons to each).

Natural Disasters

No country is immune to natural disasters and they cannot be predicted. Some areas are more prone to natural disasters than others. For example if you live in an area with an active volcano, seismic activity, hurricanes (see recent lessons learned from Hurricane Harvey  flooding, etc., then you are at a higher risk for a crisis that has a major impact on the economy.

Man Made Disasters

Just look what happened at Chernobyl and Fukushima. There are a lot of nuclear power plants that are running on outdated technologies. In fact some of these nuclear power plants are well past the lifespan they were designed for. What happens if we have a melt down? One thing a lot of people do not realize is that nuclear power plants have very little power back up.

If the electrical grid goes down for an extended time period, a melt down can be inevitable because most nuclear facilities have a maximum of 1 month of diesel power back up on hand. After that all bets are off. Any nuclear event can have a major impact on the Gross Domestic Product and consumer confidence, which can lead to a currency crisis.

There is also the scenario that some areas become completely uninhabitable and not possible to use for any type of production. Farmland that feeds a lot of people could be useless for many, many generations to come.

How does simple barter work?

In a simple barter, you look for someone who is looking for particular kinds of goods or services in exchange for goods or services that you may want.  For example, let’s say you do plumbing work but you need some gardening equipment.  A simple barter would be exchanging some plumbing repairs for a used plow or rototiller.

Getting started is easy.  One of the simplest things to do is to put up a small ad on the local community bulletin board, perhaps at the grocery store or bowling alley.  (And by the way, I don’t know why but bowling alley’s are particularly good for this sort of thing.)  You can also peruse Craigslist or the Little Nickel want ads for people trying to sell the item you need.  The next step is to simply phone them ask and suggest a trade.

One of the very best ways to barter, though, is to put the word out among like-minded friends, relatives, and neighbors.  Let them know what you have for trade and see what they offer in return.  What I am describing here is bartering in its most simplistic form but I think you get the gist.

Beyond simple bartering, there are more complicated and dare I say sophisticated scenarios such as three-way barters and barter clubs.  But that gets beyond the scope of this article which is merely to get you into the bartering mindset

The Best Items to Use For Barter in a Post-Collapse World

There are a lot of different opinions as to what items will be best for barter in a post-collapse world where the underground economy may be the only viable economy for the passing of goods and services.  That said, consider this a starting point as you begin to acquire goods for barter.

There are plenty of reasons and economic collapse could happen. A lot of people assume that this is political but there are plenty of other reasons a collapse could occur.

 

What You Can Do To Be Prepared

There are a lot of items that people are very used to having. What we take for granted, as being the basics can seem like major luxuries during an economic collapse. Here at Backdoor Survival we want you to be educated and prepared for such circumstances so we have compiled this list of supplies that we feel are worth it to have on hand for bartering for the items you don’t have.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

Food is important but water is first on the list of concerns during any type of collapse or economic distress. While you can live without food for quite some time, no water for a few days can be the end of anyone.

While it is impractical to expect to be able to put back expensive backpacking water filters, Lifestraws are a remarkably good deal. For $20 you get a filter that fits into your pocket and can give you 1000 liters of clean water. At this price you could put back 10 of these for $200.

Besides the trade value these straws could literally save the life of a lot of people. Even if someone is drinking 3 liters of water a day, a Lifestraw would last 330 days.

Some businesses such as Camping Survival offer discounts if you buy more than one Lifestraw at a time so you can cut your costs a bit.

Extra Food and a lot of it

A lot of people have never known what it is like to do without food for more than 12 hours and that is a fact. During an economic collapse most grocery stores will have bare shelves within 2-3 days with some items being bought up even quicker than that once people have even the slightest clue what is going on.

You need to have your food ahead of time and some extra for barter. If you plan on helping out a family member then you need to tally them in when determining how much food you need.

During an economic collapse it is crucial to have calorie dense nutritious foods available. Those on special diets can have an especially hard time getting what they need during a crisis so if you are in this position you need to plan your emergency food accordingly.

Ready to eat items are good to have on hand for those times when cooking is not practical or even possible.

Just remember to take care of your own food needs first and then put back extra for trade. Food is the most important thing you need to put back as it will be in the shortest supply.

As stated before, grocery stores only have enough to keep food on shelves for a day or two at most without regular delivery. Panic and crisis can cause shelves to be bare within a few hours.

NOTE: To Stock up on longer term survival food, check out our top recommend brands here.

Medical Supplies

Antibiotics

As a society we are very reliant on antibiotics to fight infections. The problem is that not all infections respond to the same antibiotic. Gathering some information about what each type of antibiotic treats is crucial to have during any crisis.

That being said you need to have a variety of antibiotics on hand for you and your family as well as for trade. That $20 bottle of antibiotics is priceless in a real collapse because it can literally be the difference between life and death.

I suggest getting a mixed pack of antibiotics or possibly two mixed packs so you have one for your own self and family and a whole other pack for trade and barter. Camping Survival based in North Carolina offers very good prices, free shipping, and mixed packs that make putting back these essential antibiotics quite easy.

When buying antibiotics they will be labeled for fish or even birds but they are the same drugs given to people. The main thing to pay attention to is the exact milligrams of each pill. A 250 milligram bottle of pills is going to be cheaper than the 500 milligram bottles but you will have to take twice as many to get the same effect.

Disinfectants and Bandages

Curad Silver Solution Antimicrobial Gel, .5 Oz.

Triple Antibiotic Ointment such as Neosporin, , and [amazon

_textlink asin=’B0010WNMHU’ text=’Bacitracin‘ template=’ProductLink’ store=’bdsamazonlb-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’515131c0-4fb5-11e7-bd45-b1fa72489dcc’] ointments are all recommended. Silver gel might not be as well known to some readers but it is worth mentioning that it is effective against some antibiotic resistant bacteria like the dreaded MRSA.

Amazon has a good deal on this but you may be able to do just as well at a local store. We have a small chain pharmacy and misc. store called Fred’s nearby that has it for a mere $4 a tube.

works the same way as the silver solution but is more concentrated and in liquid form so you can always put back some of that as well.

Bandages are important for protecting against infection and further injury. You should have everything from Band-Aids in various sizes to rolls of gauze and tape. I speak from experience when I say you can never have enough gauze and tape. For most wounds this is all you need barring the use of blood stop powder.

Vitamins

During difficult economic times it can be hard to keep diets balanced. Multi Vitamins can fill the gap in nutrition and ensure that someone doesn’t suffer vitamin and mineral deficiency that can lead to medical conditions.

Rainbow Light - Just Once® MultivitaminAny multi vitamin is better than not taking one at all, but if you can include high-quality brands it is ideal over the generic options. Cheaper vitamins don’t always offer the highest quality ingredients so your body can have a harder time absorbing them.

offers quality vitamins in both small and large bottles. On Amazon a 150 supply on vitamins is about $40 or a mere $8 per month. For trade purposes I suggest getting some smaller 30-60 day supply bottles.

Further Reading: You can learn more about the best vitamins and supplements for hard times here.

Blood Stop Powder

Cuts and scrapes are common but when one is quite bad or if you just need to get it stopped quick, blood stop powder is a blessing.WoundSeal Powder and Applicator

You don’t have to get a jar of powder necessarily but there are a lot of Band-Aids and bandages or wound dressings that come with it. The Curad Blood Stop Packets take care of most minor cuts such as those you get when preparing food or similar.

Battle dressings are what you need for major trauma and they can be a literal lifesaver. They are not cheap medical supplies but they make a good trade item during a major crisis.

Gold Or Silver Chains Made With Links

This may seem like an odd one but consider this scenario. You need something but cash and cards are not worth anything due to an economic collapse. Fiat currency such as the dollar is just paper. Gold and silver have always had some value but with a single gold or silver coin being worth so much, it is more practical to do business with a small amount of a precious metal. Gold chains can be taken apart a link at a time and be used to trade for what you need when your paper money is worthless.

Further Reading: What prepper’s should consider when buying gold and silver for survival.

Hygiene

Toilet Paper

While having some toilet paper on hand if you have the space is a great idea, long term it is not the best use of space. Some survival minded types have suggested using bidet bottles to help toilet paper go further or to use when none is available. There is no question that toilet paper is going to be a very desirable thing, but don’t take up too much of your storage with it.

If you are going to put it back I suggest ordering the 27 roll packs of Scott Tissue via Amazon. You can put 4 packs of 27 in a fairly small space and the cost will only be about $70. Don’t waste money on the rolls that have little on them because they take up too much space.

Further Reading: Are you really Toilet Paper Prepared?

Toothpaste and Brushes

Dental health is important and toothpaste and toothbrushes may be cheap now but they could easily get to be hard to find during an economic collapse. Individually packed and multiple packs of brushes are good to have on hand. Even if there is no crisis this is something you are going to use regularly regardless of any crisis at hand.

Toothpaste is not expensive. A few dozen tubes of name brand toothpaste will cost $60-$70 if you are careful with your shopping practices.

Feminine Products

Us ladies are used to disposable feminine products and during an economic collapse. A pack of maxi pads or tampons is under $4 so putting back $100 worth of these supplies means 25 packs which goes a long way. This can be stored in a very small storage tote but be invaluable as a trade item.

Liquor

People love their vices and we all have them. Alcohol in particular is an item that always has outstanding trade value. Name brand liquor such as Smirnoff, Jack Daniels, Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, Tanqueray Gin, etc. are all appealing and will fetch top trade value during difficult times. 750 ml or if you can get them at a reasonable cost 375 mL bottles are your best bet for trade.

Liquor is the best alcohol to put back from a space savings and practical standpoint. Beer is good but it is a lot of water and takes up a lot of space, making it more of a luxury and it doesn’t keep indefinitely like liquor will. During an economic collapse, any alcohol will be sought after and appreciated by a lot of people.

Salt

Although there is often a lot in the news about how a lot of people eat too much salt in their diet, an economic collapse can quickly turn the table on salt. During past difficult economic times such as the Civil War, salt was hard to come by. You have to have some salt to survive and it is essential for food preservation as well. You can even sanitize wounds with it although it is painful, but that being said it is much better than suffering a catastrophic or even fatal infection.

The cheapest way to put back salt is either buying containers of iodized salt and sealing them in waterproof containers. If you want to put back a large quantity on the cheap for food preservation then go to your local hardware or home improvement store and get the 40 lb. or 50 lb. bags of water softener salt. These are only about $5 and you can do a lot with that much salt.

Dog & Cat Food

There are more dogs and cats in the United States than people. Everyone loves their pets but all too few think about how they will feed them in the event of a true economic collapse. Those of us with larger dogs have to put a lot of food back to do six months but those with small dogs can keep 100-200 lbs. of dog food on hand to get them through some tough times. Here is my method for dog food storage.

  1. Get a 30-55 gallon barrel with a locking ring or at the very least a Brute trashcan.
  2. Fill with dog food, but make sure to sprinkle some diatomaceous earth into the container with the addition of every bag and mix it around some. This keeps out bugs and it serves as an all natural parasite eliminator and preventative, which is very important to your dog or cat’s health.

Further Reading: Pet Survival Kits and Products

Vacuum Seal Method

While it may not be the most practical for those that have larger pets, you can use a vacuum sealer device to make sure dog or cat food stays good for a long time. Those 3-5 lbs. bags of dog or cat food work best for this. You can also always dump out the contents of dog food and repackage with a vacuum sealer device and bags.

Entertainment

During an economic collapse the enjoyment that electronic methods of entertainment such as Netflix and digital devices provide are not going to be available all the time or even at all. This means you need some old fashioned ways to entertain. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Paper and Pen or Pencils

Drawing, writing, playing some games and more can be done with pen and paper. This also doubles as being useful for communications.

  1. Playing Cards

Regular old playing cards or some other card games are very cheap and it doesn’t take up much space to put back a dozen decks.

  1. Simple Board Games

During the holidays plenty of stores or Amazon have cheap traditional board games on sale. A few of these can be a good trade item to have. The sets that are 7 games in 1 are particularly nice to have.

LED Flashlights & BatteriesLED Tactical Flashlight Akaho 900 Lumen

Flashlights should be an essential part of any disaster kit. Thankfully we have inexpensive LED flashlights that are readily available. Usually when you buy these, if batteries are included, they are packaged outside of the flashlight. If the batteries are already in the flashlights then you should remove them for long-term storage.

Further Reading: Learn about the best EDC Flashlights to look for.

Means To Make Fire

Lighter and matches are worth a lot during any disaster. A 50 pack of Bic lighters is about $50 but in an emergency situation they can be worth far more than you could imagine. Matches are good to have as well but if they get wet or damp you are out of luck.

Further Reading: Learn about the best easy to use fire starters here.

A Full Running List of Barter Items Worth Stockpiling

In no particular order, consider accumulating some of the following items for barter purposes.  And keep in mind that in a post-collapse world, the items do not necessarily have to be new, but simply serviceable.

  • Water purification supplies including purification tabs and filters
  • Hand tools including hatchets, saws, machetes and general fix-it tools
  • Fire making supplies, including lighters, matches, flint fire steel
  • Sanitary supplies including toilet paper, feminine products, and diapers
  • Disposable razors and razor blades
  • Fuel, any and all kinds (gas, diesel, propane, kerosene)
  • Prescription drugs, painkillers, and antibiotics
  • First aid remedies such as cough syrup, cortisone cream, boil-ese, calamine lotion and topical pain relievers
  • Spirits such as bourbon, rum, gin, and vodka
  • Coffee and tea (instant coffee is okay)
  • Solar battery charger and rechargeable batteries
  • Standard Batteries
  • Reading glasses
  • Paracord
  • Bags, including large garbage bags as well as smaller zip-close bags
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Tie Wraps
  • Heavy plastic sheets and tarps
  • Toiletries including toothpaste, dental floss soaps, shampoo (tip: save those small sized toiletries that are provided by hotels and motels)
  • Condoms
  • Latex or Nitrile gloves in a variety of sizes
  • Fishing supplies
  • Knives of various types including fixed blades, kitchen knives, and box cutters.
  • Condiments and Spices
  • Paperback books on a variety of subjects
  • Tobacco and cigarette rolling supplies
  • Pepper spray
  • Garden seeds
  • Flashlights
  • Vinegar and baking soda to use in DIY cleaning supplies
  • Empty spray bottles and squirt bottles
  • Hand pumps for both air and liquids
  • Mylar blankets and tents
  • Hand warmers
  • Sewing and mending supplies
  • Knitting or crochet needles and yarn

One thing you will notice that I have not included firearms or ammo and for good reason.  In a post-collapse society, you might not know your barter partners well and may run the risk that they will use these items against you so that they can steal the rest of you stuff.  One person’s opinion, anyway.  (Here is another view on this matter.)

Poor Man’s Barter Items

If resources are limited, here are a few “poor man’s barter items” to get started with on any budget.

  1. Candles
  2. Fly swatters
  3. Insect spray
  4. Rat & mouse poison
  5. Rodent traps
  6. Scissors
  7. Needles
  8. Straight pins
  9. Safety pins
  10. Buttons
  11. Thread
  12. Elastic-material
  13. Dry beans
  14. Rice
  15. Noodles
  16. Flour
  17. Spices such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice, sage, parsley etc.
  18. Coffee
  19. Cooking Oil
  20. Coffee filters
  21. Pepper
  22. Sugar
  23. Salt
  24. Hand crank or manual can openers
  25. Canned food – any type
  26. Wooden, strike anywhere matches
  27. Old newspapers
  28. Wax for fire-starting
  29. Large cotton balls with soaked in petroleum jelly (also for starting fires)
  30. Bleach (or freshly made pool shock)
  31. 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)
  32. Cocoa
  33. Baking Soda
  34. Coloring books & crayons
  35. Scrap paper
  36. Pencils
  37. Ballpoint pens
  38. Copy paper
  39. Lined notebook paper
  40. Tooth paste
  41. Toothbrushes
  42. Dental floss
  43. Combs
  44. Hard candy
  45. Hair brushes
  46. Disposable razors
  47. Nail clippers and files
  48. Feminine products
  49. Bars of soap
  50. Toilet paper
  51. Hair pins
  52. Cigarette lighters
  53. Tobacco seeds
  54. Aluminum foil
  55. Plastic sheeting
  56. Socks – all sizes & colors
  57. Shoe laces
  58. Reading glasses
  59. Garbage bags (can’t have too many)
  60. Brooms
  61. Dust pans
  62. Clothes pins
  63. Clothes lines
  64. Garbage cans
  65. Dryer Lint (to use as firestarter)
  66. Rope of any type
  67. Honey
  68. Popcorn
  69. Kool-aid
  70. Ibuprofen, Tylenol, and aspirin
  71. Essential oils
  72. Cough syrup
  73. Eye drops
  74. Band aids
  75. Laxatives
  76. Lip balm or chapstick
  77. Nails, nuts, bolts, & screws
  78. Heirloom garden seeds
  79. Fresh garden produce and herbs
  80. Herb plants
  81. Hand garden tools
  82. Two cycle oil
  83. Automotive oil and air filters
  84. Paperback books
  85. Plastic tarps
  86. Duct tape
  87. Fels naphtha bar soap
  88. Washing/laundry soda
  89. Borax
  90. Oxyclean
  91. Home made laundry detergent
  92. Garden compost
  93. Garden fertilizer
  94. Plastic tubs & containers
  95. Petroleum jelly (Vaseline)

A Caveat for Businesses

As you get started with bartering in a pre-collapse world – and after all, like any other survival skill, you should hone your skills now – keep in mind that in the United States, the IRS does have some rules for business bartering and most certainly, states probably do as well as it pertains to Business and Occupation taxes.  Just something to keep in mind.

How to Barter: The Art and Skill of Bartering and Giving Freely, by Donna

Editor’s Note: We have included this section courtesy of BDS Contributor Donna, because bartering is an Art (not just a list!).

This will not be a list of extra items to store for bartering when times get tough.

We’ve all probably read through those suggested lists, given it some thought, and taken appropriate steps to have at least some of those items on hand.

to do list

Sometimes we check things off on our preparedness and bartering to do lists, which can be a great habit, but:

  • How often do we think through how those bartering transactions would take place?
  • Can we trust the person with whom we need to barter?
  • Will they follow through?
  • Am I giving away too much information that might make life more dangerous for my family?
  • Should I just give freely, expecting nothing in return?

These are all questions worth considering in advance of a situation and have been well discussed on this site previously.

Just what does it mean to barter anyway? It’s just trading goods or services without the exchange of money, right?

Technically that’s right but there is more to consider, especially when times and relationships become unpredictable or unsafe. Or there are situations where you have the skills and know-how to make a difference.

There is probably someone in your life with whom you have already created a bartering relationship. I know that I have. I have a friend who is a retired hairdresser. When I asked if she’d be willing to trim my hair, she agreed.

After the haircut she refused payment – she was just doing it as a friend, she said. I wanted to do something nice for her and so later in the week I stopped by her house and gave her a jar of my canned chicken, a pint of red pepper relish and a jar of applesauce.

apple jam sauce in a jar

She was thrilled, and so was I. We have been doing this for about five years now and it works for us. We both feel good about the “deal” and about one another.

That exchange met the criteria of a barter transaction. Goods and services were exchanged without money. However, there was a subtle difference. It didn’t begin as a barter deal. We knew and respected one another and neither of us wanted to “make the better deal” or come out ahead. This situation made me stop and reflect on what a real barter system could be like, at least some of the time.

On another occasion, I was asked to babysit one day a week for a family member’s child. I was happy to do it. A few months later, my car had a brake problem and this busy husband took my car to his home garage hydraulic lift and did the full break job. He would not accept payment.

Services were exchanged without money. Barter! No one called it barter, it was merely helping out another person, but in this process we both learned more about a real barter “relationship” and about one another.

We often think of bartering as something tangible that is traded in a shortage situation, so we stock up on things like flashlights, ammo, water filters, batteries, toilet paper, soap, extra food and the list goes on. Planning for that kind of bartering is needed since it may help to sustain us in hard times.

helping hands neighbors family

In the prepper community, we put a heavy emphasis on preparing ourselves and our families. Nothing wrong there at all. That is what we need to do. By preparing ourselves, we are able to be more self-sufficient, thus putting less strain on possible limited resources later on.

My husband and I regularly teach classes to friends and neighbors about what to consider when striving to be more self-reliant. In this way we are making our neighborhood more independent. We all know each other better, skill-sets are known and shared, and trust is forged.

However, this article is two-fold.

1. Your Skills

Think of your own list of based on skill sets.

  • What are your skills?
  • Are they skills that others might need?
  • What kinds of services do you provide for others right now, today?
  • Would they be needed skills in a grid-down or crisis scenario? Or are they perhaps services you could give freely or use for barter after a disaster in a rebuilding time?

This kind of unnamed barter happens every day. People help other people in need. That is just the way most of us operate although we hear all of the horror stories on the news of people looting and taking advantage of strained situations. My experience has been that most folks are more than willing to lend a hand, noted by the selfless giving during disasters, even to the risk of one’s own life.

helping senior assistance

What are the skills you don’t have? What skills would you have to rely on someone else to provide for you? Can you learn at least something about that skill now?

How about basic plumbing or small engine repair, perhaps the old-fashion skill of darning or mending clothing? In a crisis situation, people probably won’t be purchasing new items, but old ones will eventually need repair.

Is that a skill you might learn now so that you are in a better position to use that to help others and in the process trade that for something your family needs or simply do it to be helpful, expecting nothing in return?

There was a “barter” that happened to me very recently. I’ll share it with you here. A friend who was retiring and moving out of state told us he had a cord or so of wood, already cut and we were welcome to come and get it within the next two weeks.

This amount of firewood, would provided a nice cushion for our winter’s supply. During this time, both my husband and I were a bit under the weather and realised that we probably could not get the wood in the time specified.

wood logs piled up

Then today I was talking with a friend and asked if he’d like the wood since we couldn’t get it. He said that within that time frame he and his teenaged son would pick up the wood, bring it to our home and stack it! He did not have to do that but was more than willing to take a Saturday morning and do it for us.

He told me that they were looking to fell some trees on their property soon. I offered him our hydraulic wood splitter, which thrilled him. Not strictly barter, just being helpful and building relationships.

Do I know more about this friend’s character now? Yes!

Did his willingness to give of his time without expecting something in return build trust? You bet it did!

2. So What is Bartering?

Some of this may sound counter-intuitive and contrary to our common thoughts of bartering, but think of the recent disasters that have happened like mass shootings, floods, wildfires, hurricanes. Thousands of volunteers from around the country gathered to give assistance in whatever way they could.

Neighbors whose property was not damaged as extensively, gave food and shelter freely, expecting nothing in return. They pulled together, helped and uplifted one another.

Is this bartering?

Perhaps not in the true definition of the word. But I would argue that each person who has been helped and each person providing the help, came away with something of great value that will prepare them for even more difficult times and challenges.

army military helping natural disaster

One gave their time, substance, and energy freely and the other gave their heartfelt gratitude. It will be a time neither will soon forget. We never know if we will be the giver of help or the receiver if it. This kind of “bartering” builds trust and hope.

Those who exploit others vulnerability to get gain, are fewer than we are lead to believe by news media. Acts of real heroism and selflessness take place in every crisis. People just want to help and give; they think about others and step up to do whatever is needed.

To Sum It Up:

Building relationships of trust now can be the backbone of safe “bartering” practices both now and in the future. Learning to recognize our strengths and increasing our skill-sets will be helpful to our family and friends and will provide for a more independent, self-reliant life.

Just by reading Backdoor Survival and talking with others in the self-reliant community we can all develop more knowledge and share the skills we already have developed. Together, we are a community of learners and givers.

Probably most readers have already experienced the kinds of natural give and take “bartering” that we’ve discussed in this article and have developed, to some degree, the respect and trust that is an essential part of safe bartering.

hands holding helping support

You have already given without thought of return. These are the relationships that can provide the support we will all need at some time in our lives. It just pays to think about bartering from this angle and lay the foundation and build the trust that will be helpful now and in any crisis situation.

An added plus in pulling together is the added uplift it can give when things begin to look bleak. That is not to be discounted.

The Suggestion:

  • Make a list of the things you do well, there are probably more things than you realize.
  • Consider a second list (we’re good at making lists) of things you feel would be beneficial to add to your working knowledge, based on where you live and your current lifestyle, and circumstances. Then set out systematically to develop them. Move at your own pace.
  • Find a mentor, become a mentor. Learn and teach. Active prepping is much more than accumulating equipment, food and gear. It is sharing, planning, learning and expanding our understanding of real life situations and the people around us.

What unique experiences have you had in the art of bartering?

The Final Word on Bartering in a Post-Collapse World

Times can get tough. We need only look back to the recent recession! And many have had their retirement funds decimated by the sneaky (and dare we say corrupt?) Wall Street types.  Perhaps you have a useful skill. Or perhaps you have a healthy flock of egg laying chickens that provide more than you can consume.  Whatever you have in excess capacity, now is the time to learn to trade your skill or extra commodities for something you either need or covet. In relatively “good times”, now is the time to prepare…

man worried about money economy

There are lots of resources online, at the libraries, and in eBooks to help you acquire bartering skills.  Start small but start now, beginning with those items that you have the least access to currently.

 

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  1. Excellent list. I did up a list once and it wasn’t nearly this comprehensive – I’ll definitely be revisiting my barter list after reading this.

  2. Always be careful trading ammo or liquor they may come back to haunt you. With liquor only trade small bottles for medical use, you don’t want to have to deal with drunks.

    1. I would also question the safety of trading Machetes, and other equipment commonly used as weapons. Red Flags pop up all over large knives, etc… Just for me, and in my opinion of course, you may have different support or defense than I do.

  3. buy items like small hand tools from alibaba dot com (China) in bulk quantities. Buy $5 hammer for 50 cents (example). MUSTS: 1.never wear out, rust, break, etc. 2. small and not heavy 3. $1 to $20 each. 4. things people MUST have NOT would like to have.ie toilet paper, matches, knives.

    do NOT barter away items you may need yourself. water food guns ammo beware of “authorities”. They may not arrive to help but to take your supplies to give to those who did not prepare. Be stealth. Do not bug out! bug in! After 2 weeks in woods your bag is empty – what do you do? stay in fortified home with 5 to 10 people. trained.

  4. I read a very interesting article by a guy that lived through the Bosnia conflict on a prepper website. He talked a lot about bartering as that was the only way to get things you needed/wanted.

    One item that really stuck with me is that you never barter at your home and you never discuss/show/divulge your entire stock. Doing this may compromise your safety as someone may see that you have plenty, they may come back with a gang and take everything (including your life).

    This man talked about dressing and acting the part of being homeless and having nothing, despite having enough and a place to live. He would bring a single can of tuna to trade for 10 rounds of ammo instead of bringing 10 cans of tuna to trade for something larger. It was all about keeping up the perception that he had nothing worth stealing.

    1. I read the same, or a similar, article. The author of the one I read said that in a SHTF situation, he would want to have lots of disposable lighters to use for barter because of the high demand for them. I now have over 200 “Scripto Views” lighters in my barter supplies and am adding more each trip to Walmart. At $1.97 for a pack of 7, they are a bargain and each could be worth as much as a full days worth of food, for example. “Views” are cheaper than Bics and transparent so the person you’re bartering with can see that they’re not getting ripped off.

      1. Dodger: FYI: you get what you pay for. Being a avid prepper, I put a number of cheap lighters in freezer bags(vacuum type) and set them aside. Months later, guess what???? The cheap lighters were leaking fluid as evidenced by the bags looking like little balloons! Don’t believe me, do your own testing.

      2. So why not, as you trade these lighters, just say you aren’t sure how much is in it? Also, how long do these lighters store before leaking?

      3. Even empty lighters have barter value as the flints last 3x as long as the fuel so they still make excellent fire starters. Often they work far better than those cheap pieces of hacksaw blades that are packaged with magnesium fire starters.

  5. The article on the guy living in Bosnia was great! Something most would never think of doing. I see this as a great way to keep what you have stored and gaining more that you may need. Thank you for sharing! DR

  6. I didn’t think, but I guess almost anything is barter power. Because , realistically, how many people prepare for serious emergencies……I mean seriously. Most have their heads in the sand; example, my daughters who live in So.CA. Two of which live in highly populated areas.
    They think I’m nuts….fine!! I’m preparing for all of us, in case they have to bug out to our place. Hey, it’s highly possible. Seeds ( all varieties ), seasoning, coffee beans ( green ), fishing poles, bows and arrows ( even homemade ones ),jeeze, most anything or everything. I’m preparing, but I don’t think anyone is prepared completely. Sorry about the blathering on. Thank you for the very practical list, Gaye!!
    Knowledge is Power!

    1. I agree with you.My daughter thinks I’m a little off when I start talking about shtf.Thats ok I will gather for us and when the time comes we will be ready and you will see that dads not as crazy as I thought

  7. nobody needs shampoo. you can use your own urine as it contains ammonia. never use condoms as the pull out method works very well.enjoyed the article.

    1. My sister got pregnant with twins using the pull out method. If the pee in your hair doesn’t keep women away from you, you’ll end up with a lot of kids!

  8. how about wasp or hornet spray small can about 3 dollars and small water bottle holder with clip about 1.50 at dollar store will cause blinding and discomfort in any attacker human or not

    1. try YouTube on hornet spray. It doesn’t work anywhere as well as pepper spray. Also you just broke a federal law by recommending using a pesticide on a human. Not that I personally care but FYI

  9. Shampoo is not needed if you have vinegar or baking soda and water.. We just have to know that there will be people who will kill for what they need……would you? It’s a given, if it comes to chaos!
    It would take a whole community or neighborhook or block or road to committ to looking out after each other. Even then…….

  10. we barter, sometimes for items, sometimes labor for labor. something to think
    about in a post shtf scenario is having someone go off somewhere to a concealed
    position to cover the transaction, just in case. get there first and get situated. never divulge your bugout location,or be followed, or what you have, most of all, never allow yourself to be vulnerable to attack or kidnapping. be aware of your surroundings, be very observant of what others are doing, learn to read body language, so you can better anticipate your own actions so you can act, or react. I really hope we never have to experience what people in many other countries have had to live through.

  11. Another thing i noticed that no one mentioned P-38 or P-51 military can openers. The greatest military invention ever! Buy them in bulk and see them fly off your trading table! What do you do when you have all these canned goods and no way to open ’em? Savvy???(With apologies to Capt. Jack!) lol

    1. You don’t need a can opener. All you need is any flat stone, concrete or asphalt surface that is rough. Place can top down and rub rapidly in a circular motion. This wears down the crimped sealing ring quickly and you can pop the top off easily after that. For cans that contain liquid poke a couple of holes in the lid by the edge and drain the liquid into a container first.

    1. A lot of folks believe that bartering weapons and ammo is a bad idea. One reason is that your barter partner could use them against you. At the end of the day (if it comes to that), we will all need to be careful in picking and choosing our barter items.

      Bartering skills will be very important.

      1. I agree it could be a bad idea. If a have a lot of 9mm and I’m low on 556 or if I really need food it might be necessary… If a know the person I might be willing to chance it.

      2. I just don’t understand the logic behind the “possible dangers” of bartering guns and ammo. “They could use them against you”. Well, yes, they could. They could could also have their own loaded firearm with them, or bash your face in with whatever object when you go to barter ANYTHING. Guns and ammo are simply items to barter, but will be extremely valuable. As for alcohol, that’s just as ridiculous. Not everyone who drinks is a belligerent drunk. And, if you meet someone to barter anything and they’re already drunk, that is when you avoid the situation. Alcohol would be a very valuable item to have to barter as well. ALL bartering situations in a shtf scenario with unknown persons should be carefully scrutinized.

  12. A lot of people will need cheesecloth for a number of uses, primarily for straining water. If you have clear plastic jugs, you can set them in the direct sun for a minimum of 6 hours. Ultra-violet light from the sun will kill most everything. Add 8 drops of bleach (eye dropper method) to each gallon to be sure.

  13. Another useful barter question for you after you run out of “store-boughten goods” or lose big in an accident, etc.:

    What can I learn now, suited to my abilities or nature–what homeskills–what specific wisdom–what objects can I become good at constructing or shaping now–what services in demand could I learn to provide–that would make me valuable to others BOTH in a post-SHTF situation OR later in this life when money could get tight or I am old, disabled or in foreign scenario?

    It’s about asking yourself, what value can I start creating in myself and how can I help to build a better community or network in my life now?

    Gaye your articles are so informative, thank you very much. Could you write a series on what PRODUCTS people could learn to make or what SKILLS they could learn over the years to make THEMSELVES valued in post-SHTF scenarios?

    How about a simple self-assessment quiz to go with it? This doesn’t have to be only an article by the way…

  14. I would include children’s shoes on the list… they grow out of them so fast, and they are needed. You can cut down adult clothes, or sew new things for kids, but shoe making takes special talent.

  15. I’m surprised you didn’t mention ammo. I’ve got a bunch of extra ammo that will be like currency in a post-SHTF world.

    1. Nark – Actually, that was intentional. I personally would not want anyone to know I had a lot of ammo so I would keep it hidden and not let anyone know I had extra. I suppose among friends, but even still, who will really be our friend if things get desperate? YMMV of course.

  16. Thanks for another great post, Gaye! I particularly love the insight for current businesses about watching out for the IRS/State.

    1. I’ve recently learned I can buy our preferred toilet tissue from Amazon by the case cheaper than I can from Walmart or anywhere else locally. If you are a Prime Member there isn’t any shipping to pay for on many brand name types. Anothe great thing is the case isn’t marked with the contents so OPSEC remains intact.

  17. I’ve posted this before but it’s one of the most practical, cheap and easily stored barter items…disposable lighters! The demand among “non-preppers” will be high & each will be worth a “fortune” in trade goods, such as food, ammo, etc.

    1. If you look at the inert ingredients of painkillers, drugs, and antibiotics; by Googgling them you’ll find that the first item listed is the main ingredient. This should be your sought after item. Some are OTC. Example baking soda which is sodium bicarbonate is the main ingredient of alkaseltzer. One tea spoon of baking soda mixed with water will cure an upset stomach. Other ingredients can be found in the field once you’ve identified them.

      1. I’ve worked in healthcare and that’s not true. Most non-refrigerated drugs are good for years and years. Any of them beat nothing. Hang onto them!!!

  18. also remember your pets..I keep 6 months worth of food for them. I also look at the expiration labels on everything. Something that we need and also a good barter item would be small sewing kids..I have put back old jeans and scrap material for patching and thread, needles will be needed. I also have several hand grinders to use to grind wheat & grain. Can openers, and matches. I really enjoy this site and thanks Gaye for informing so many, I send to friends who are beginning to see the light after thinking I had gone nuts! 🙂

    1. I use the once-a-month flea/insect repellent drops i put o my pets back each month to repell fleas. I have bought extra ..if your pets bring in fleas becaue you run out of the medication it can cause BIG problems.

  19. I have bought outside solar lights and if we lose power, let the sun charge lights during day for inside use at night. You can also make a solar oven with cardboard box and aluminum foil (go to YOUTUBE for instructions)

    1. Those foil covered reflective sun screens for car windshields are much better for making solar ovens, solar water heater boxes and solar reflectors than aluminum foil. They can be refolded and stored hundreds of times. Aluminum foil tears too easily and is better suited for making acid based batteries.

  20. This might seem way off base to some people, but I also think it would be beneficial to stock several clothes pins and some sort of clothes line. In a post SHTF situation, everybody will eventually need to wash their clothing(probably by hand) and dry them somehow, even if it is indoors.

  21. I’ve thought a lot about the things I would miss and I believe one of the best things to barter would be spices.

    pepper, cinammin, etc.

  22. Really??? No one has said CHOCOLATE yet??? Post SHTF, that’s the first thing I’m going for, is a bite of bittersweet to preserve my morale. Order of survival: chocolate, shelter, water, fire, food.

  23. I have put together quite a catche of quality essential oils and use them in my practice. I also know the healing and edible flora of my area. In a post SHTF situation, I think this will be beneficial. I am also a holistic medicine practitioner and I hope that my skills can be traded for something useful.

  24. 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.

    1. Found this amazing app on the app store (//itunes.apple.com/us/app/salt-bartering/id972418947?mt=8) where I traded many of my old stuff with my neighbors. The best part is the app will intelligently and automatically find the best matches for my items. You have to try it.

  25. 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.

    1. Carrie. I have always thought a good skill to have in a SHTF world, will be being able to deliver babies. 9 months after the lights go out, there will be a big need.

  26. “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.

  27. 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!

    1. 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.

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

    1. 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

    2. 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.

  29. 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.

    1. 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!

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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. 😉

      1. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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!

  34. 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’?

  35. 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”.)

    1. I like the idea of ‘Samaritan bags’. I’m making reuseable produce bags, so I’ll be making some of these from some of my scrap fabrics. 🙂

      1. I’m almost done writing that piece, if Gaye wants to share it here, I’m fine with that. Otherwise I’ll find another public group to put it up at. Perhaps if we cared about each other as we should our own brothers and sisters I imagine we may not only have less crime but fewer wars. IMO.

  36. 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!

  37. 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.

  38. 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?

    1. 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????

      1. What do you recommend as quantity and type of packaging for bartering situations? One-pound packages? Ten-pound?

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

  39. 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!

  40. 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?

    1. 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?

      1. 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’ 😉

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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??

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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?

    1. 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.

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

  48. 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!

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. I didn’t see these:

    Bartering for things is fine, but to stretch your “assets”, consider simply bartering for services.

    Eg., use of ham radio to send message relays.
    Performing “fix it” jobs for trade.
    Exchanging temporary safety for resources.

    I would be loathe to actually give up an item that I cannot remake easily, like tools, ammo, or fuel.

    The analogy is the Blacksmith. Without tools or supporting resources the Blacksmith cannot render aid to herself or others.

    In a nutshell your skills are your greatest asset to barter.

    $0.02

  52. I know this article is old but I wanted to add my two cents. I don’t hoard barter items, Instead I learned skills that will allow me to trade what I make. I have carefully learned skills that allow me to make brooms, arrows, blacksmithing, herbal medicines, basketry (think fish traps), wild foraging, carpentry and wood carving, pottery, how to find flint, hunting, I can now make pretty much anything from scratch. I am hoping to learn many more things as well.

  53. 1.)Sand and boxes to layer and bury your veggies. They will keep fresh for over a year. An onion in water in a room with someone who is sick will turn black pulling out the poison in their body. This is how the Black Plague was stopped in the U.S. in the 18th. century. 2.) There is a product sold on Amazon made out of crushes seashells. You can buy this very inexpensively. It’s great for your plants, pests, yard, fleas or parasites on your animals and even gets rid of bed bugs. Diamataceous Earth, may not be spelled correctly. I buy it in 4, one gallon containers and think it will be a great barter item. I am buying any and all garage sale canning jars and canners for bartering as well. Also, all paper plates, plastic eatery and adult diapers. Any cheap used towels, sheets, blankets, or cast iron cookware. Cast Iron will hold up better on an outside grill if wood is used. Teflon will or the new stuff will anodize, melt or give off odors that make your foods taste badly after several uses. I’m talking about the little cheap wood burning or coal burning BBQ pits that are most portable. Save your plastic bags as you made need them for personal waste, and bury them! Dental Floss is good for many things besides your teeth, don’t buy the waxed for these purposes. It cuts clean. Download and learn CPR, and how to suture and handle basic combat wound skills. All of these are barter items. Thanks, Tina

  54. I am an older person but need to be prepared for anything. so heres another thing I have been doing beside diapers is baby bottles, diapers,baby clothing, baby blankets and how to make formula out of evaporated milk and reading how to delivery baby if needed. Lots of baby items that may become handy.

  55. 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.

  56. Gasoline is a fool’s bartering tool. It spoils after four weeks and would be useless to run anything smaller than a car.

  57. 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!

  58. Don’t forget salt, rope, stomach ache and flu pills, blanket, underwear, sandals, nails, screw, etc…small but essential things

  59. what about stocking up on fire wood for winter. If you have a wood stove for heat (should the electric go off) you will have a source of heat. Alot of people still use wood stoves for heat and you can also cook on top of some of them. Put you would have to stock up a lot since you don’t know how long you will have to survive before things come back to normal…or as close resemblence of normal. Also what about filling up all your propane canisters you use for your grills? Do they go bad? Could you stock up on those?

    1. Propane NEVER goes bad…but the 5-gallon variety may only last you a month before you’ve used it all up. Better to get the larger bottles, if possible. Check with your hazardous waste depots, sometimes they have serviceable containers with a few years left on them. Actually, even if they’ve expired, if they are reinspected, you can get new life out of older ones.
      Charcoal never goes bad either (though the easy-lighting variety will eventually dry out and you may need charcoal starter fluid). Here’s a thought…how about stocking up on starter fluid and 2-cycle motor oil–a needed item for chainsaws?
      Always use seasoned wood in a home fireplace…a chimney fire and your abode burning down is the LAST things you need. Here’s another thought, buy a quality chimney brush, learn how to use it, and barter your new skill set.
      To save on firewood, google “rocket stove” and make a couple from used tin cans…a rocket stove will burn a LOT less wood than wood stoves (but only use them outdoors!). They may only last a couple of months before the tin burns through, but they’re EASY to make and require only simple tools (a nail for a punch, metal-cutting shears, hammer, pliers, work gloves). More permanent ones can be made if you can weld metal. You’ll burn one-twentieth the amount of wood for cooking purposes, I guarantee it!
      Mr Buddy makes an indoor-use propane heater that may be worth looking into.

  60. 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.

  61. 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…

  62. I would suggest ‘temporary filling’ for cavities that can be purchased at any pharmacy with limited or no access to a dentist.

  63. 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.

  64. FINALLY a post that says DON’T barter your guns and ammo!!! Alcohol is stupid too. Everyone says, “Oh my but it’s good for cuts and other medical things!! SO IS RUBBING ALCOHOL AND MUCH CHEAPER!! There will be enough chaos going on why would you want to stock up drunks with guns?

  65. I read through all the comments. Good ideas folks!

    What I found missing (though someone mentioned screws and nails) is construction materials. You’ll need a garage to store them in, but I’d think that plywood and MDF and particle board would be VERY much wanted. Unless you’re planning to loot the Big Box store or the local lumber yard, these items will be in HIGH demand for boarding up windows (and maybe even your doors that have glass in them).

    You’ll also need a supply of nails, or caulk, or screws, lag bolts, etc., to fasten materials over the windows of your home. A solar charger for your drill and screw gun would also be helpful. Maybe you can simply barter your skills at making someone else’s place more secure?

    Alternatively, if you’re on a tight budget and have the time, invest in a pry bar, crow bar, hammer, etc. so you can disassemble nearby homes for those same building materials.

    Keep thinking outside the box, people, you’ll then survive where others may not.

  66. Do not barter any firearms without knowing someone completely. That means knowing how they react in panic settings. I’m ex military. Not everyone should have firearms. A panic situation is very different from theory. Also be very honest with yourself if you should have one.

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

  68. 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).

  69. I did not see it mentioned here, but you need decide what you are going to do with trash. I suggest burning or burying it. Do not let it visibly accumulate as a large amount of trash just lets others know you had and may still have a lot of stuff.

  70. Nothing else will matter if you don’t have “WATER”. Stock up on clean water bottles, great for bartering too. Consider 8oz for better storing. Also, lemons/limes(& their seeds) plus honey have antibacterial/antibiotic properties.

  71. Is this story a joke? Where is the wire, .22, utility bow with arrows and an air pellet gun? $23 for a KNIFE? and $7 for a FLASHLIGHT? You obviously have NO idea of how to survive. It seems to me you are simply advertising overpriced items. I can go to ANY yard sale and get 50% of what I need for under $50. a handful of old, rusty knives of HEAVY stock for around $3 or 50 cents per knife. I can disinfect them in any Pepsi product and get ALL the rust off within 2 days. I have a sharpening stone and within 5 minutes have a razors edge that I can literally shave with. Wire, cordage, tools, scissors, SHOES for God’s sake! SOCKS ! DETERGENT ! Most of what will save you is other people’s “JUNK”. I can get EVERYTHING I NEED FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR INCLUDING BASE FOODS (SUGAR, FLOWER) FOR AROUND $600! What you are suggesting would cost the LIFE SAVINGS of an entire family. I give you an F for this story.

  72. I basically save two items and lots of it, recycle items works fine, I currently live on the Island of Borneo for 14 years now and originally from Maine, USA, There are unlimited coconut trees on our land and everywhere near us, most people here just eat its flesh or drink the juice from it and other cooking items with it. they throw the rest away, Thats a gold mine for me because i use the husk hairs after drying it out few days in the sun, i rip it from the husk and put them in plastic bags and toss them in the corner in my shed, you be amazed how well fires start with dry husk hairs, the coconut shells can be used as bowls,cups,candle holders and oil lamps which brings me to my next saved item, i save all plastic bottles to store used cooking oil in it, you be amazed how fast fires spark with these oils.
    I currently have about 140 bottles of used cooking oil in many bottle sizes. Imagine if no fuel to lite fires to cook your foods in wet weather or snow…The best part of both items it can be stored for unlimited time and have still use for it. I have other objects i use too, like wood shavings, bark, newspapers. I also like to have wood shavings soaked in cooking oil and store it in plastic bags.
    My shed is roughly 132 feet away from my home in case anything sparks flame and it all goes up in flames, but i doubt it because i have 14 years of stock and no mishaps happened yet, no lighters allowed near shed. Last year we had a power outage that last 4 days due to a typhoon and people had heard i sell these items or barter. My mind is weeks ahead of my body..lol Anyhow if done correctly you can have use for about 90% of waste you toss in trash, some people even go as far as saving their own feces and mix vegetable and floor dust with it to make soil for planting, sounds gross but when snow is on land and you are low in food what are you going to do do? worry about how gross it is or feeding your family weeks to come… My suggestion, Take items you want to toss and put it on table for few minutes and just think about what it can be used for, try to think besides yourself, one mans trash is another mans treasure, plastic,glass bottles are great, used tin foils as well. There is never an end to useful garbage, Some people may want that but you dont and you could barter with it. One gallon of used cooking oil when bartered got me a lighter, 2 apples, roll of TP and pack of gum. in store the value of it all was $6. not bad for used cooking oil. but as times get harder and less items are available the price of those items may be very high, a pack of Wrigley gum may be 30 dollars. I posted this info once before and I got much ridicule for it, its those city folks who will go first because all they know how to do is grow a farm on Farmville on their cellphones and laptops, give them a pack of seeds and they be clueless what to do next in real life, most at least. Think wisely.. Good Luck

  73. I don’t think I would barter anything that I could not replace. Therefore, my main barter item of choice will be SEEDS. I practice seed saving so I have a good inventory of them on hand….

  74. Great topic, thanks for covering it.

    For gaming supplies, don’t forget dice – the regular 6 sided dice that you play craps, monopoly or any of hundreds of board games with. They are small and lightweight, and yet people have been using them for millennia (at least 2000 BC, maybe 6000 BC) These days most folks have games on their smartphones, but in a grid-down situation, a bag full of dice can be a nice barter item.

    I also regularly check out the clearance tables at stores and will pick up any board games that are battery-free..normally around New Years is the best time since the Christmas season is over and stores don’t want to keep stale product around when they are about to do inventory for tax purposes. But different stores do their inventories at different times, so I make it a habit when at the store to walk by their clearance table. 🙂

    As for playing cards, I was able to get both regular decks and large visibility decks in 10-packs at my local wholesale club. I was tempted to get pinochle decks too, but decided regular decks are more flexible. Large print decks will be useful the longer the event since glasses break, or eyes change and need different prescriptions, or even just poor lighting conditions will make reading harder for some folks during a long term event…

    Love the idea of gold chains with easily broken links for buying stuff. Personally I’ve hidden away silver dimes as my small change – I went with Mercury dimes as they are instantly recognizable as 90% silver (without worrying if the dates are readable or not.) I do have some half dollars too, but primarily I stuck with dimes because they are more compact and each unit is less silver at once.

    Thanks for the great site, and remember to keep preparing folks…the world is getting crazier all the time.

  75. While there are many folks who can drink responsibly there are many who don’t. Drunk people are not known for making wise decisions. After downing enough booze to make one “ten foot tall & bulletproof” they just may decide to come back & take whatever else you might have. I would never barter alcohol or weapons/ammo. I’m going with meds.

    1. Linda S. :Agree, even in the old wild west, shoot outs were common when drinking and playing poker, or fighting over a woman. I’m going with meds and toiletries. If power stays off long term and nuclear power plants melt down, all the food storage will eventually run out. The globalists may release bio weapons like bird flu, etc.

  76. Regarding buying the large bags of water softener salt, wouldn’t we want to be careful on which type to choose? Many brands contain other ingredients which might be harmful. There are some “solar” salt products out there, just sun dried with no additives. Wouldn’t it be better to keep an eye out for something like that?

  77. one of the things people will run out of you mentioned is toilet paper. toilet paper seems to fall apart within a year or so, for long term it would be impractical to try to save large quantities so I pick up extra phone books that are in racks outside of stores. they have a soft paper and you can store many of them in a small space. with them you will at least have something to wipe with.

      1. It would be better to make hankies for your own use and for barter. Find a soft knit fabric that feels somewhat like kleenex and cut it into whatever sizes and shapes you’d like. Use knit fabric because it won’t ravel and therefore you don’t need to hem the hankies. I haphazardly made some a few years ago as an experiment and was so pleased with them that I’ve been using them ever since. No more store-bought tissues!

  78. You haven’t mentioned the most precious metal of all, lead. AKA bullets. My wife says that if our house catches on fire, she will leave the county as fast as possible to keep from being blown to smerines.
    Gold links sound great, but they will have to be weighted and analyzed. Most people dont have that ability. You can buy a sack of junk silver that contains the old (pre 1964) coins that have a know amount of silver. Buying a sack of silver runs into money, but get to be friends will your local coin dealer and he can sell smaller amounts of the coins. I like to buy silver dimes because the have the smallest amount of silver. My feeling is that we will go back to silver as our monetary system. A dime gets you a gallon of cow’s milk and maybe a loaf of bread.

  79. I would like to add cloth/clothing/terry cloth. And shoelaces…all kinds. Sewing needles and thread.

    I have a bin of clothing that is wearable but faded. If things are really bad folks are going to be working harder and hard work wears clothing out faster. Even clothing that doesn’t fit can be used to patched clothing that does fit, getting more wear out of the garment. If you roll the clothing you can fit a LOT of extra clothing in a bin and spend NOTHING to do so. (check out the free stuff beside the road for extra clothing for people in your group that are still growing)

    Old nightgowns/towels/washcloths can be cut into squares and used to replace toilet paper; sometimes called “family cloth”. (Not sure why tho) Get yourself an old diaper pail (again, along side the road for free) or other container with tight lid to soak them in until washing day. When it comes to barter…cloth squares vs corn cobs? Might get you something you need….again, free if you save the items now. (some people say old t-shirts….used them while trying out my preps. Not so good…soaks through too fast….flannel and terry are the best I have found so far)

    I don’t have an extra $100 laying around. But I can afford an extra $10. For $10 I can have 50 pairs of shoe laces at Dollar tree. (Try and find the synthetic ones, they last longer) Shoes can be patched, if required, but if they don’t stay on your feet while you are working they are not overly useful. Shoe laces will be valuable. Want FREE shoe laces to save for barter? (cuz who doesn’t love free preps, right?) If you are a runner, know a runner or have growing children save the laces out of the shoes that are being discarded by those you know.

    Needles and thread will allow people to patch their clothing and other fabric items around the farm/house. So many people don’t have a sharp needle around and fewer have enough thread to hem a pair of pants (and alternations will be necessary if clothing isn’t going to be a danger to workers) Again, the dollar store will yield you a LOT of barter items for very little money.

    This list did not mention skills. Anything you can teach another person (or do for them) will be far more valuable than any gold or silver you might have sacrificed to obtain. Sewing, carpentry, gardening, seed saving….Learn skills and barter them when the time comes…skills don’t have to be replenished, don’t spoil and aren’t diminished when bartered.

  80. Make herbal tinctures now for medicinal purposes because they last for years and are very inexpensive to make as compared to what you buy in health stores. Make and store them in mason jars and then buy 1-oz. and 2-oz. dropper bottles to fill as needed when bartering. Buy the bottles in large quantities from online specialty companies or on eBay because they’re expensive to buy in small amounts in local stores.

  81. I second the comment about gold and silver links. Unless I can WEIGH AND MEASURE them, I would not take them as someone may cover lead with gold. The gold needs to be in a circular form such as a coin. Since lead weights more, to get one ounce, the “coin” will be smaller than a standard gold or silver coin. I can’t measure a link.

    The problem with bartering most things, is you are giving away the fact that you not only have enough for yourself, but have surplus to barter. That is just begging to be robbed. I would barter things that look like they were salvaged or just old and saved. i.e. old clothes, shoes, blankets, matches, cheap ramen noodles etc.

    Even bartering in a neutral location requires getting to and from there with your stuff and receipts. Someone can easily follow you home. I think the “Getting Home” series failed to address this. Until stability is restored, opsec over rides bartering, – unless absolutely necessary. But that is the idea of prepping, to avoid these situations where you have to take a risk like that.

    My final problem with the whole bartering thing is I have much of what I need to survive. I have many gaps. However, A vast majority of unprepared people will have nothing I want from them. Or, if they do, they will only have enough for themselves. Only a few with specialty items or skills, such as farm fresh food, medical knowledge would be helpful to me. Farmers and ranchers will probably be willing to trade labor for food as they cannot do as much as they do now without their modern machinery. They may also need security and patrols to protect livestock. Doctors can only take so many chickens or tomatoes and other products and will switch to asking for gold and silver.

    If you want to trade your food for someone to perform chores, security or some other work for you, you have just hired a full time permanent employee. You either have to keep them on, or let them go. Knowing they may talk about the “person with all that stuff”. Will they believe you if you say you traded your last water filter? I know that one of Rawles books has the couple doing just that; providing security for food and shelter over winter. But the farmer was taking a huge risk with people he did not know. Also, too many people have an entitlement attitude. They are not going to change quickly. People who plan ahead and prep will become the new 1%ers. I will do what I can to avoid placing a target on my back.

    Perhaps this article was intended for the time when things a more stable. It did not say so. What people will need then, are consumable items that you can make and trade: candles, soap, oils, metal tools, leather goods, honey, produce, clothing, etc. By that time, all of the water filters will probably be past their life expectancy. Being able to make activated charcoal will be necessary. matches will be long gone and lighters will be empty. Everyone will be using bow-drills for starting fires. Magnifying glasses will be in demand. But good ones. I purchased one of those small “survival” magnifying glass (plastic) and could not start a fire. I could not even get smoke. My big old magnifying glass started a fire in about 1-2 seconds. My smaller ones took a little longer. Those and magnesium bars would be great for bartering when you can do it again. Iron Tripods or grates to hold pots over an open fire will be in demand. I agree with the needles. Thread you can get by un-weaving a garment. Gloves, lots of gloves of all kinds. lots of Tarps. Tarps don’t last long once you start using them. I would not barter medical supplies freely. They are insanely expensive now and require specialized manufacturing to replace. How much would you pay to have an alcohol pad to wipe off your wound apply a dab of antibiotic and a band-aid? 1 oz of silver? To avoid an infection, you bet!

  82. first off – don’t start in with stockpiling for bartering unless you’re not adequately prepared yourself – just common sense – don’t plan on bartering away your reserves unless it’s for an unexpected emergency emergency ….

    secondly – figuring out items for bartering isn’t the hard portion of the exchange equation – the sheeple will want and need everything once the trucks stop rolling …

    the bartering will center on what to accept from the sheeple that will be worth anything to a well prepared prepper – do you trade a pound of rice for that pair of pewter candlesticks? – a DVD collection? – antique firearm? – questionable jewelry? – a vehicle? – power tools?

  83. I know this article is very old. I guess this list is good if you have some kind of inside knowledge of a collapse coming that most do not know of. But other than that I think people in general will know what they need and what they can part with in exchange when the time comes. The list seems like common sense to me.

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