Bartering is one of those things that many people avoid. It seems too confrontational.
To the contrary, if it’s looked at as a sport – something fun and goal-oriented – it can be quite enjoyable. And profitable.
Once the SHTF in any form – from losing your job to economic collapse – it is likely that bartering will become your new currency. Trading items for another item of higher value to you will probably be a common occurrence in a post SHTF world.
However, storing items specifically for this purpose can be time and space consuming. Not only that, but most items for barter have a limited shelf life – meaning that at some point, they will eventually be worthless. One way of overcoming this issue is to possess skills that you can barter with.
The best thing about bartering skills is that you can do the same trade over and over again, without diminishing your supply. For example, if you have plumbing skills – no matter how much you use them you will still be a plumber!
Now is the time to learn and hone skills to barter. Possess and maintain skills that have great value to other people in preparation for unpleasant events.
Here is a list of skills that could be used to barter:
- First Aid/Medical – In my opinion knowing basic first aid is the most important skill you can have. In a SHTF situation, hospitals are likely to be over run and some will eventually close. In a world with limited or no hospitals, doctors, surgeries, etc., people will be looking for others to help them with their medical issues. Without easily accessible medical care, small cuts and grazes can lead to pain, infection and even death. By being able to help people with medical needs you put yourself in a very strong position and you will likely have the upper hand in any trade.
- Gunsmith – Imagine how many guns will be used in a SHTF situation. Some people will rely on them more than anything else for survival. At some point their gun is likely to need a repair of some description – without a gun it will be harder to protect your bug out location and your family. What price would someone put on protecting their family? If you are able to repair guns you are likely to become pretty wealthy in terms of bartering after a catastrophe.
- Weaving/sewing – People will have to work hard after the SHTF. This work will be physical in nature, so good quality work clothes will be needed. While working hard, it is inevitable that eventually clothes will rip, buttons and zippers will break, etc. These will need repairing in order for work to be continued. By being able to complete these repairs, you are indirectly making sure all of the important work that needs to be done is continued. A consideration to bear in mind is that eventually new clothes will need to be made, so if you are able to do that – you will be of great value to a lot of people.
- Mechanical knowledge – Being able to take things apart, repair them and put them back together again will be a valuable skill to barter. If you can fix watches, generators, farming equipment, etc., you will be highly valued by most people. Also fixing cars will be important, if only for a short while after the SHTF. Some people will bug out in a vehicle and if they have a store of fuel or if they can create their own, then cars will likely need to be repaired until they are no longer fit for use.
- Teaching – If a catastrophic event occurs where the entire world is changed forever, it may take some time before society starts to reform in some way. When this does eventually happen, children will need to be taught basic life skills such as reading, writing, counting, etc. Being able to teach will be a great bartering skill. You could potentially set up a type of “school” where you teach a group of children on a regular basis in return for food, shelter, water or other valuable assets.
- Tradecraft (plumbing, electrical, blacksmith etc) – Being competent in a number of trades will certainly increase your value to others in a survival situation. Having a basic shelter is fine for a few days or maybe weeks but eventually people will start to want home comforts like electricity and plumbing. If you are able to assist with this, you will be well looked after and you will take the lead for naming a fair “price” in a trade. It is also likely that transport will revert back to man or animal power, so if you can look after a horse’s feet and hooves, again you will probably be calling the shots.
- HAM radio operation – Using a HAM radio is highly likely to be one of the few methods of communication being used after the SHTF. If you can set up, use and maintain this equipment you will be able to find out what is going on around you. If a HAM radio needs repair and you are able to do this, you will be involved in a high number of trades.
- Alcohol production/beer brewing – Alcohol has many uses besides the obvious one. It can be used as a disinfectant, pain relief, among others. Although a lot of people will trade for alcohol for these reasons, there will be some people who will want beer, wine or spirits for leisure use. Producing your own alcohol will be a good bartering tool due to its many uses.
- Hairdresser/barber – Managing long or unruly hair can be a difficult task. From a mental health perspective, most people feel better and more refreshed after a good haircut or styling, so if you can do a good job, you will be able to make some good trades. This skill could also mean improved hygiene around your group so it is a valuable skill to know.
- Survival skills – Fire lighting, shelter building, hunting, fishing, etc., will play a vital part in the survival of your group. Immediately after a SHTF event, these will be skills of some of the highest value for bartering.