Back before there was money people still needed things that others had. There wasn’t a form of payment but there was a transaction of goods and/or services. People would take hay as their payment for working on someone’s farm. They would give their neighbor flour in exchange for eggs because they didn’t have chickens. This still happens quite a bit today but it’s definitely more rare. Personally, I absolutely love this type of “currency.” Just recently I gave someone eggs and cookies in exchange for her empty egg cartons (which I desperately needed). Do you know when bartering made a comeback? The Great Depression. Even the mainstream media is now warning that there could be a food crisis soon which means we could find ourselves in a bartering or trading economy again. While you’re stocking up on the essentials it might also be helpful to stock up on some popular trading & bartering items too.
90s in Bosnia
To be honest this wasn’t even on my radar until I read an article about a man who survived the 90s in Bosnia. This was during the Bosnian War and it was truly a SHTF situation. No electricity, food, water, etc. Basically, the worst case scenario that we all think of but really hope doesn’t happen. There were a lot of things that I loved from the article and I found it very informative. It paints a pretty bleak picture so make sure that you are in a position to read it. If you’re already feeling fearful I would save it for a day when you feel more confident because it can be a little bit of a bummer.
I especially liked where he said people even died just from lack of hygiene issues! I never would have thought of that. Here is the link, I highly recommend you give it a read: https://lulz.com/surviving-a-year-of-shtf-in-90s-bosnia-war-selco-forum-thread/
Trading & Bartering Services
The other important piece to remember here is you will also be able to barter and trade the services. If you have some abilities like plumbing, electrical, or even sewing they might be able to come in handy. However, they’ll only be handy if you have the tools and equipment that is needed to be able to perform those tasks. A good example of this for our family is mechanics and sewing. My mom is especially skilled with a sewing machine so we keep extra fabric and thread on hand so that she has what she needs to be able to mend clothes in exchange for goods. My husband and my dad are good with mechanical fixes. If someone needs their car to run they will both have the tools and ability to be able to keep it going. Around here, it may become imperative for them to help keep the tractors running. We’ll be able to trade those services with the farmers for things like milk, meat, and grains.
Popular Trading & Bartering Items List
- Garbage Bags
- Duct Tape
- Medical Supplies (antibiotics especially)
- Cups & Plates (paper or plastic)
- Water Purification Pills
- Hygiene Items (think femenine hygiene items too)
- Cigarettes/Tobacco Products
- Entertainment (books, games, puzzles, etc)
- …most importantly FOOD.
Quantity Over Quality
It’s important to point out here these can be cheap items. Maybe there is some body wash that is on clearance for $0.50 but it’s full of chemicals and you’d never use it in your house. Pick it up! In the worst case scenario you can still donate that to your local pantry (yes they need these items). Think about how cheap lighters are and how easy it would be to stock up on them. Each time you go to checkout somewhere grab a lighter. It won’t even make a blip on your bill! Grab some canned food from the dollar store. It might not be the highest quality but in a food crisis people will be thankful for any type of nourishment.
In Summary: Trading & Bartering Items
Admittedly, this is not my strong suite. I tend to try to stockpile only the things that we will need and my brain hasn’t even gotten to the things that others might want. As the world gets more chaotic I start to realize these types of things might be more important. We live in the middle of nowhere so if gas gets so high that people can’t travel it will be imperative that the community turns back to bartering and trading. It feels like a lot. There are days where I feel like we are barely getting to the levels that we need with the imperative things (food, water, shelter). Then add in the fact that I’m supposed to get extra on hand just in case. Ahhhh!
This list is more of a mindset shift for me. It’s a reminder to grab these things when I see them and they are a good deal. I always shop the clearance section so now I just need to keep this philosophy in mind when I’m shopping or at least grab a lighter or two when I’m checking out. What do you have that you can trade/barter? Do you use this method currently or would it be totally new? We’d love to hear if you have some experience with good items to trade!