Bartering for Survival

Bartering for Survival

Bartering as a means of Survival

There is a lot of information on the Internet and even on some reality shows about the benefits of precious metals during a crisis. Certain Preppers depicted on some reality shows have hoards of coins buried here and there, as a hedge against something not clearly defined. It is assumed that anyone that possesses gold or silver coins, ingots or even jewelry during a crisis will have the means to purchase goods.

Of course, if the crisis is a short-term disaster then any money, paper or gold can be used to purchase goods and services. There will still be a structure for commerce in place. There will be someone to produce the goods and a sector to buy those goods. Manufactures make the goods, sells them to retailers who in turn market those goods to the consumer.

Some people stockpile metals because they fear the financial markets will collapse. However, one would have to assume the markets would recover otherwise there will not be a market in which to sell your precious metals. Once the manufacturing in the country or world is disrupted because of an energy crisis or the destruction of the infrastructure or power grids then the financial markets would collapse anyways. Gold, silver and paper money would no longer be the currency of the day.

The crisis has been going on for six months and you have enough supplies for another 90 days. It is time to think about obtaining more supplies. However, there is no transportation hubs, trains, planes and automobiles are grounded. You have a small area in which to operate because you have to walk everywhere. You cannot walk to far-off lands where gold and silver may still hold some value.

In the beginning, there was a constant flow of people through the area and most had no idea where they were going but fleeing nonetheless from large cities and towns. Now only a few stragglers move through the area and most of them are begging for supplies. Some have money, but money does you no good. You could not barter with those moving through the area because they had coin and paper money so essentially nothing of value for you to trade for. You cannot give up food or other supplies for a gold coin because then what, who do you in turn trade the gold too?

The garden is coming in and you plan to trade some fresh produce for a few chickens and possibly some fresh eggs. You need help digging a well so you thought you would trade some bottles of Kentucky’s finest for a few hours of labor. You have some coins buried and even tried to trade a few for some eggs and fresh milk but the one selling asked you what were they supposed to do with a hunk of metal, they wanted tobacco and medicine. The coins went back into the ground.


Bartering is the trading of goods and services, where money never exchanges hands. Goods can be things like rope, candles, food, medicine, diapers and alcohol among other things. Information and skills can be bartered, as well. If you have medical training, carpentry skills or even engineering skills you can trade those skills for materials or for a skill you do not possess. Communities can trade as well if your town needs a dam rebuilt to supply water then the town can collectively provide lodging and food to a person or persons to help. It was quite common years ago that small towns would provide lodging and other compensation to school teachers, ministers and law enforcement if they would stay in town and provide help to the townspeople.

Everyone essentially places the same value on food and water because no one can survive without them. It will be difficult to trade something you have for something that the other person needs to survive. It is important that you develop a food and water source almost immediately so you always have a surplus that can be traded. You cannot afford to trade away the stockpiles of food and water you have unless you have a renewable source.

Stockpile Items Even If You Do Not Need Them

Alcohol, baby clothes and other children’s supplies, tobacco and certain medicines will become goods that can be traded along with flashlights, tools and anything solar operated. Clothing, sewing kits, shoes, gloves and hats will have value and can be traded for things you need such as a bag of seeds, or a small chicken.

Hand tools will become valuable because power tools will be useless. Soap, shampoos, laundry soap and any type of personal hygiene items are items that you should stockpile as well.

Precious metals will still have value but it may take years before it becomes currency once again because society will have to rebuild itself and that will take years.