Like most things about survival, bartering is something that needs to be practiced now before our lives depend on it. The adage of “beans, bullets, and Band-Aids” is a good one. However, it oversimplifies our needs. There are several categories of items we should consider for bartering. Bartering items can be considered on a scale of needs vs. wants. There are a few things that we will need to stay alive. There are many others that people will want very badly so they will rank high on the scale of desirable barter goods. As you go through these categories,it will become apparent that many of these goods are ones that are not suitable for bugging out, but rather to store now for a sheltering-in-place event.
First Aid Items
Without the ability to get adequate medical care, each of us will become our own medical first responder. This will require heaping amounts of first aid, trauma, and continuing medical care education and supplies. If you have extensive medical training such as an EMT, paramedic, nurse, or doctor, you will be able to barter your services. Sterile supplies will also be of high importance. Infection is going to be one of the biggest killers in a post-collapse society. Therefore any medical supplies that can help keep both internal and external infection from growing are going to be a must-have category of goods.
Supplies to either keep or get clean will be of necessity. This will include cooking areas, restrooms, and medical assistance. This is the most-often overlooked consideration. It is so easy for us in our modern homes to get clean water and cleaning supplies to couple with it. A huge pot capable of boiling several gallons of water is not considered a hygiene product in most circles, but it most certainly is. With access to a water source, fire building supplies and materials, and a large pot, you can help clean or sterilize yourself, or tools. This is again a service you can barter for other items needed or any of these items will also be needed by others to do the same. If you have multiples you can spare, including a large pot, it will be a great tool to trade.
Shelter items range from clothes to building supplies. Those building supplies can be temporary such as tarps, and garbage bags or more permanent supplies such as wood, nails, and screws. Waterproofingsupplies are also of importance for environments where considerable rain is a concern.
Many are addicted to items that are legal to obtain and store for bartering opportunities. Items such as alcohol, nicotine and will be in high demand beyond the short term as the supplies that most will have run out by then. In the long term, several weeks to months post-event, people will most likely get past their addicted state. Therefore, you can utilize items in this category to obtain more of the items you will need in the long term.
Anxiety medication will be highly sought after during a post-collapse event. If you have adequate supplies and determine you do not need them, then you can utilize them for trade. Illegal addicts of drugs will go to great lengths to obtain just one pill. This is an indicator for us on how even average people will act if they lose or run out of their prescription’s drugs. It is worthy of emphasis for us to understand that this should be considered in a without the rule of law situation.
While these items are not needs-based in the short term, they are huge moral boosts. To be able to use toilet paper, brush your teeth, or even rinse with mouthwash is a step toward normalcy that will become increasingly valuable post-collapse. This short of normalizing is advantageous to increase a survivor’s mindset and is therefore very valuable trade goods. They are also small and easy to store for trade later.
Vitamins and Minerals
These are items that we typically do not recognize as being needed until they are no longer in our water and our food. Once we are deprived of items as simple as vitamin C, salt, or even spices for foods, we begin to understand how important they are to both our mental and physical health. Whereas spices are a morale boost, salt and vitamins are a must have to continue through mid and long-term events. Without them, we are less than optimal in how we function, which leads to worse efficiency in everything that we do. They make easy, bartering items and do not take up much space or weight to store.
In the long term, event batteries will eventually run out. In a short- or long-term event, they are going to be important because they are seemingly important to our daily lives. When people are desperately looking for batteries, you can barter with them to obtain things that are more important to your well-being.
Small comfort foods are easy to barter, and longer-term foods are even better. Pre-packaged survival foods are easy to trade goods and come in a variety of flavors and nutritional content. This makes it easy to find food that people will want to trade for. Current society is heavily desirous of sugary snacks. Therefore, they make excellent trade options.
As we move forward through our lives, most people are dependent upon some form of electronic entertainment option. Whether it be TV, hand-held device or similar, these are things that will most likely not be available in a post-collapse scenario. Therefore, if you have smaller trade items for entertainment purposes, people will enjoy the opportunity to escape their predicament. Playing cards, board games, paper, pencils, and even books or comics are all very simple items that are easy to store and utilize for trade.
We have an inexhaustible amount of content here on the topic of bartering, including some fantastic videos on the Survival Dispatch YouTube Page. Utilize this content here to understand some of the basic categories. You can readily think of items within each of these categories to start gathering now for use later. One strategic approach is to simply use items such as these, that appeal to people’s wants, to obtain your needs. In this manner, you are utilizing their “needs” in the short term to help strengthen your need in the long term.