What Can You Barter When The SHTF?

Our entire culture is awash in money. I don’t mean that we are flush with money (though, certainly, some people are). I mean that the use of money is everywhere and involved in everything. So, when the SHTF, will the pieces of paper and coins that we call money still have value?

Without going into monetary theory (which can get both confusing and boring), it’s likely that our currency, if it retains any value, will have much less value than before. This means that you are going to have to look for other ways to exchange value to get what you want.

In other words, you had better get comfortable with barter.

Of course, even if you’re comfortable with barter, you need to have something that other people want so that you can barter out to get what you want. But what to barter? Fortunately, Nick O’Low has some thoughts to consider when deciding what to barter in a disaster situation. O’Low writes,

When deciding what to pack specifically for bartering there are three things main things to consider. The first is demand and supply in a survival scenario.  Matches are a great example: in a survival scenario demand will be huge, so you could reasonably expect something very valuable (say some unusual meds the other person happens to have) in return for a relatively small number of matches.

O’Low continues,

The second consideration is demand and supply now (in a safe environment). Sure, really strong painkillers would be a great bartering item, but their purchase is restricted and they are very expensive. Focus on stuff which can be stockpiled relatively easily.

Finally, consider how easily the values of different barter items (those you have and those of your trading partner) can be compared. One of the reasons that money has been so successful as a mode of exchange is that it is economically ‘liquid’, which means it can be subdivided into different denominations, so one payment can carry exactly as much value as necessary.

When it comes down to it, yes, there are certain items that it makes sense to stockpile for the purpose of bartering later, but not all items are going to be of equal barter value in every situation. For example, someone living on the coast is going to have more use for certain items than someone living in an landlocked area. Similarly, someone living in a cold area is going to need different items than someone living in, say, Florida.

Prepping isn’t a game, and there aren’t a lot of easy answers. Having firearms, matches, and water purification methods are a given, but, otherwise, your best options will vary from place to place and situation to situation. So, the answer is to think ahead and make intelligent choices.