Household Barter Goods
Once the SHTF, it is likely that our current currency will become less valuable or maybe even completely worthless. What use is money if there is nothing left to buy?
One important part of your prepping should be gathering some supplies for barter – i.e. things you can trade with others to keep your own resources fully stocked. Below is a list of items to be considered for this purpose. They shouldn’t take up too much room and most will be readily available now meaning they are cheap to buy.
1 – Needles – Besides the obvious use of clothing repairs etc, needles may be needed for medical purposes e.g. stitching a wound closed. Needles are unlikely to be easily accessible in a post SHTF situation. Especially early on, stores will be closed (and likely already looted) and as needles are so readily available now, not many people keep spares. There are very few ways to make something the size of a small needle in the natural world, so if someone needs one – you have a great bartering tool.
2 – Medicine – Having a supply of basic medicines e.g. paracetamol, ibuprofen, etc., can be a massive advantage for you when bartering. Hospitals, pharmacies, doctor’s surgeries, anywhere medical treatment is available now will very likely be one of the first places to be closed and/or looted in a serious emergency situation. Once this happens any small medical ailment can turn into a serious condition quite quickly. Imagine having a tooth ache and not being able to just pop a tablet in your mouth, wait half an hour and then the pain goes away. Imagine that the pain will be there all the time, day and night with no let up. There wouldn’t be many things people would refuse to trade in this situation, particularly if a child is in pain. One thing to remember about medicines is that you can barter with doses rather than the whole packet, bottle etc. If someone has a headache, you can offer them two tablets in return for something of value that they have. You then still have a supply of the same tablets to barter with in the future. As a side note – if you are looking to stockpile antibiotics, some fish antibiotics are made with exactly the same ingredients as the human form. You may just need to alter the dosage levels accordingly.
3 – Reading glasses – You can buy these in many stores now and they are not that expensive. If you need glasses, you will appreciate how valuable a pair of these will be in a post SHTF situation and your current pair have been lost or broken. You can also use the lenses from the glasses as a fire starting or signalling tool, too.
4 – Honey – This is a great bartering item because if you store it correctly, it has an indefinite shelf life. Honey also has many medical and health related benefits including soothing coughs, boosting energy and killing bacteria that can cause infections. Once your local stores close, unless people keep their own bees, this will be difficult to find. See “13 Non-Sweetening Uses For Honey”.
5 – Cigarettes – As a non – smoker I wouldn’t normally buy cigarettes, however seeing how some of my smoker friends act after going just a short while without one makes it clear to me how much value a cigarette would have to some people. As with medicines, I would barter per cigarette, so you probably won’t even need to buy that many to be considered “rich” in a post SHTF world!
6 – Candles – As soon as the SHTF and the lights go out, people will want candles. Once all the looting has ended, it is unlikely that people will be able to go to the local store and purchase new ones. Having a supply of candles to barter will put you in a great position. People won’t like sitting in the dark – things always seem easier with the lights on!
7 – Seeds – Once food runs out, people will start looking for ways to keep their families fed. Having seeds means you are able to offer them the opportunity to have a continuous supply of food which will come at a high price! There aren’t many things people wouldn’t trade in order to keep their family alive.
8 – Salt – Not only can salt be used to flavor food, it can also be used to disinfect wounds, help sooth a toothache and much more. Many long-term food preservation techniques (i.e. jerky, salted fish, sausage) require salt. I recently discovered that Roman soldiers were paid in salt and I think that says more than anything I can write here. Salt is a powerful bartering item.
9 – Alcohol – People will want to get their hands on alcohol for both leisure and medical purposes. Alcohol can be used as a disinfectant, to sterilize tools, etc. As it is flammable, it can also be part of a fire starting process. Alcohol will be the first choice for some people to steal once looting begins. Once this has been consumed by the looters, a high price will be placed on any being offered.
10 – Soap – Hygiene is important in a world without regular medical care. The smallest piece of dirt in a cut can become a major problem if infection strikes. Not only that, most people feel better and more relaxed once they have had a wash. A great way of storing soap for bartering is by keeping a supply of the little moist hand wipes you get in some restaurants and hotels. These come in small packets so it makes bartering very easy as portions are already set. Other toiletries like shampoo, toothpaste, etc., work the same way.
Bartering is a great skill to have but make sure you practice doing it now while it is not a necessity. When the SHTF, you are thoroughly prepared to become a successful bartering business man or woman!