Bartering… the Great Exchange!

barteringA possible real scenario not too far down the road: “Things are really dire right now. Money is virtually useless because store shelves are empty and banks have closed their doors. Despite all I’ve done to prepare for the worst, there are some things I lack, partly because I didn’t correctly estimate amounts, and partly because different scenarios require different resources. I need some help. On the other hand, I have some supplies and “know-how” skills to help someone else. What am I going to do?”


According to the dictionary, the definition of bartering is: the exchange of goods or services for other goods or services without using money.

In reality, bartering has been around for a very long time, even when the economy isn’t bad. Simply put, you have something (a good or service) that someone else wants and they have something you want. So, you make an exchange.

bartering2However, if the economy does collapse or some catastrophe makes tender hard to get, it would be important to have some things on hand in case you need the goods or services of someone else. You may need some propane, or medical assistance, or something as simple as a haircut.  Below is a list of bartering items you will be glad you had on hand. Even though you may not necessarily use or need them yourself, others will. A note of caution: don’t barter with firearms or ammo. It sounds like a good idea, but they could come back and use them against you.

  • Cans or Mylar packets of food, including milk packets
  • Small bottles of liquor, such as Vodka, bourbon, rum, or gin
  • Tea or coffee (regular or instant)
  • Cigarettes (or materials where they can make their own)
  • Water (plus purification supplies like tabs and filters)
  • Fuel of any kind (gas, propane, diesel, kerosene)
  • Any medical supplies or first aid items, including antibiotics, painkillers, etc.
  • Batteries (standard or rechargeable) and/or use of a solar battery charger
  • Duct tape
  • Garden Seeds and miscellaneous tools
  • Other hand tools such as a hatchet, saw, axe, hammer, etc.
  • Hand and foot warmers
  • Mylar blankets
  • Inexpensive but good flashlights
  • Fishing or hunting supplies
  • Fire making materials, including matches, fire starters, lighters, etc.
  • Disposable gloves in a variety of sizes
  • Toiletries (bar soap, shampoo, toothbrush and paste, floss, etc.)
  • Personal, sanitary supplies, such as toilet paper, feminine products etc.
  • Baby items (including diapers and food)
  • Salt and Vinegar
  • Bags of Hope / Blessing (Care) Packages

Choose only those bartering items above (or others you might think of) that you feel would work best for you and your family. The list is only a suggestion. My guess, food will be the greatest bartering item. However, be careful. Desperate people will believe that if you have “some” – you surely have more. So, be clever and very careful in how you distribute what you have.

The above list shares tangible, material items. Bartering is interchangeable; goods for goods, goods for services, or services for services. You can easily barter if you have a special skill or profession. Of course, doctors, dentists, mechanics, etc. will always be in demand, but if you know how to fish, hunt, change a tire, cut and style hair, garden, bake, home-maintenance, beekeeping, and so on, you will have the skills to barter for some much needed food, supplies, or service. Think what yours might be. NOW might be the time to learn a new skill or seek out others who have specialized skills and can help out when times get tough. Don’t wait until it’s too late.



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