In a survival situation, it's important not only to have all the necessary supplies for yourself and your family, but to have bartering chips, too.
Bartering Chips All Survivalists Need For SHTF Scenarios: Part 1
All survivalists worth their salt have a stockpile of things he or she has identified that they may need to survive a natural or man-made disaster. However, it is extremely important that you realize the value of maintaining a barter store, as well.
When things go south, particularly in an economic collapse where the dollar is nearly worthless, a number of non-monetary goods will be more valuable than a fistful of dollar bills. Gathering non-monetary goods for your bug out bags ahead of time is a crucial survival step.
It’s also important to recognize that no matter what you do, you can never store enough of every item to account for every scenario for an extended period of time. What you can do, however, is keep some items on hand to use as bartering chips with friends and neighbors. It will help to plug any unforeseen gaps in your preparations.
Imagine a neighbor with a large garden and some chickens, trading half a dozen eggs and some squash for a box of ammo or a small bottle of Vodka. Who got the better end of the deal?
The truth is, they both profited by trading for something that was more valuable. Not all bartering situations will be mutually beneficial, but this is the best you can hope for.
I have read many “Complete Lists” of survival and bartering items over the last few years. Frankly, I am sick of most of them. The main problem with these lists is that they are just that: a list of things to stockpile.
They spout lines of text and say you need these items on your prepper's checklist… But WHY do you need them? I have compiled my own list of items below, including why and how to use them after a crisis.
Consider stocking up on these bartering chips. Even if you have no plans to use them yourself, this list has the best items to stockpile for bartering. They are inexpensive now and will be worth more than you can imagine later!
16 Items of Barter That Preppers Should Stockpile Now For Later
I hate smoking. I can’t stand the smell. Having said that, I do recognize that after a crisis situation, many others will be cut off from their access to cigarettes… and would be willing to trade valuable items to get them. This makes cigarettes extremely valuable bartering chips.
One caveat to this is that factory made cigarettes, much like most other things in life, have a limited shelf life of around two years.
To store them for the longest possible period, keep them in the freezer in an airtight container. In a grid down situation, you should probably offload these first. People will immediately clamor for creature comforts, but will soon be forced to wean themselves from the habit.
If you have the land and the ability, you could also learn to grow your own fresh tobacco. Your skills will be in high demand when SHTF!
Alcohol will be one of, if not the chief bartering commodity in a post SHTF situation.
Aside from being used as a temporary escape from the reality of whatever crisis you may find yourself in, alcohol has a vast amount of alternate uses as a bartering chip. Anything above 40 proof will ignite with the smallest spark. That makes fire starting a breeze.
If you have low sugar liquor, you can use it as an antiseptic to treat wounds. It is also a mild pain reliever that can treat anything from a toothache to the flu. While they will not cure the ailments, the liquor makes the ailments a bit more bearable, so it's a necessity for your emergency survival kits.
Home brewing kits have been made widely available thanks to the gain in its popularity. Becoming a Homebrew master is a fun skill to have, and in any situation where alcohol is worth more than paper money is a very handy and lucrative ability indeed.
A few key things to note include the fact that in the U.S., most states permit home brewing. They allow 100 gallons of beer per adult per year, and up to a maximum of 200 gallons per household annually when there are two or more adults residing in the household. Legally, you are restricted from selling any home-brewed beer.
As far as distillation or “moon shining” goes, owning or operating a distillation apparatus without filing the proper paperwork and paying the taxes carries federal criminal penalties. I do not agree with breaking the law in order to further yourself.
When I speak of home brewing and home distillation, I am strictly speaking in terms of a WROL situation. With that being said, if you want to look into home distillation, there is an absolute ton of research and books available to get you started. I have not delved too deeply into the world of a ‘shiner,’ but I have read some of the reviews of the top books available on Amazon and found that “The Home Distillers Workbook” is a fairly good beginners' guide.
3. Antibiotics and Medicines
I am by no means an expert on medicines, but I do know that people will always need them. This makes different medicines FANTASTIC bartering chips. Having a good amount of ibuprofen and Tylenol available will put you in a much better spot than being without, especially if you want some valuable bartering chips in a SHTF scenario.
There are also many alternative methods of obtaining medicine, such as using fish antibiotics for human use. While this is technically illegal, if you want to hone your survival and alternative first aid skills, you should purchase The Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Handbook.
This handbook is a guide to staying healthy in situations where help is NOT just around the corner. Since its first publication, it occupied the #1 Amazon Bestseller spot multiple times in both the Survival Skills and Safety and First Aid categories.
4. Sanitation and First Aid Supplies
Proper sanitation is a major element in survival.
During normal times, a small cut that is quickly bandaged and cleaned usually heals in a matter of days. Alternatively, in a situation where you don’t have anything to properly clean yourself, a cut or even a small scrape can quickly get infected and drastically reduce your efficiency.
Survival stresses will tax your body and health severely. Use anything you can to stay in tip-top shape!
I am not saying that you need to hoard enough first aid supplies to fully stock an emergency room. You just need enough for yourself and a few extra that you are willing to part with.
The next time you are eating BBQ or chicken wings, let the server know that you are extra messy. See if you can score some of those moist towelettes. They are free, last indefinitely, and could have value in a SHTF scenario.
Also consider stockpiling some rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide for leverage. They are cheap, small and last a long time. Peroxide can treat water as well as your wounds. Alcohol can start a fire and clean a work surface.
Another good thing to stock up on is feminine hygiene products. Tampons can make a rudimentary straw or fire starter. The cotton batting can clean wounds as well as rifles and shotguns. Feminine pads and lines can function as a makeshift bandage for larger wounds.
Neosporin is also an important item to keep around, both for personal use and in a barter situation. It helps stave off infection and has a decent shelf life of around 24 months, according to the manufacturer. Unopened, it may last much longer, but you take a risk using anything past its expiration date. I recommend storing antibiotic ointments in your refrigerator to help prolong the shelf life of it, unless otherwise stated on the packaging.
If you decide to stock guns for home defense or hunting, you first need to make sure you know how to use them.
After you have the appropriate training, it is obviously a necessity to store a decent amount of ammo representing all calibers of the weapons you own. After all, a gun without ammo is just a glorified club.
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My personal choice for guns is a good old .22 caliber long rifle and a .22 caliber pistol that takes LR rounds. The reasoning for this is that the .22 is the most commonly available and cheapest rifle round on the market.
While you may not have the knockdown power of a shotgun, you can easily carry 20 rounds of .22 caliber ammo inside a single shotgun shell. If you are accurate enough, you don’t need a lot of knockdown power to take out a small game.
Whatever gun you choose, it’s a good idea to store extra ammo in common calibers (9mm, .22, .38, 12-gauge shells, etc.) for high value barter items. You'll still need to initially focus your purchases around what you intend to keep, but having options will help you in the long run.