Swap, Not Shop: Mastering the Ancient Art of Bartering
Ever tried swapping your home-baked cookies for a friend’s hand-knit scarf? That, my friend, is the magic of “Bartering Skills” in action.
In a world ruled by credit cards and e-wallets, the age-old practice of bartering is making a spirited comeback. Why?
Because sometimes, cash isn’t king; skills are!
Whether you’ve dabbled in bartering at local trade markets or are completely new to the concept, mastering the art of skill-based exchanges can unlock doors you never knew existed. How do you ensure a fair trade or make your skills irresistible to others?
How can you leverage this in today’s digital age?
Let’s dive right in and explore the how-tos, the dos, and the definitely-don’ts of the bartering world. Ready to trade those questions for some actionable answers?
Let’s get prepping.
Bartering Supplies: Elevate Your Bartering Game to New Heights
A lot of times, in a need-to-have situation, the goods you have in your house can be more valuable than cash or credit cards.
If the stores in your city are not open or if they are open with empty shelves, what kind of buying power are you going to have with all that cash and credit?
While bartering is not as convenient as using cash, you don’t have to worry about the needed goods losing value.
In fact, some needed goods will actually gain in value, offering the opportunity to make a profit from the situation. Just remember that you will most likely need things too, so it will not always be a ‘make money’ situation.
However, to take advantage of the situation, you have to have a stock of trade goods available to you that you can trade for other things of which you need or you know are going to need in a day or two, or three, or four.
13 Most Valuable Items For Bartering
- Alcohol. People will put their addictions and desires above their needs. There are few better ways to ‘escape’ the uncomfortable situation of sitting through the ‘aftermath.’ Even when starving, they will still seek out those things that give them an escape, like alcohol. Historically, alcohol sales increase in the aftermath of any disaster. It is somewhat universal as stock in trade because just about everyone wants it. This will be even more valuable to you if you don’t thirst for the stuff because you won’t mind getting rid of it.
- Cigarettes. I am not suggesting you start a bad habit, but how much space will a few packs take up? Money in the bank when your nicotine-starved neighbor has something you really need. While not as good as alcohol, cigarettes have been used as trade goods for years. Early traders used it with the American Indians. Even today, it is the “money” used between prisoners in our jails and prisons. Packs can be broken down with individual cigarettes used as smaller value increments.
- Condoms. Yes, that’s right. Where will you get those birth control pills when the store is closed and you just ran out? Any more kids in your future? While many will forgo the use of any birth control, there will be those who still want to prevent unwanted births. The value of condoms is universal, like alcohol, due to the universal interest in sex.
- Food. Food shortages are common during any crisis. I have mentioned the importance of food issues during emergencies elsewhere on this site. Distribution networks become unreliable, and stores are short or completely out of all the things people may need or want. Any foodstuffs will trade well, especially canned goods.
- Coffee. Probably more people are addicted to coffee (and its caffeine) than any other chemical substance. Since going to the local coffee shop will be out of the question, demand for coffee will rise.
- Chocolate. This is another addiction that you can take advantage of. While almost everyone loves the taste of chocolate, it’s also known to release endorphins, promoting happiness. But you knew that, right?
- Disposable Diapers. This is a no-brainer. Whenever a hurricane hits, it never ceases to amaze me on how many people do not stock up on these. We have become a disposable society. Few still use cloth diapers, and many parents wouldn’t even have an idea of how to go about using them. How many of those ‘big pins’ do you think they have lying around? For those with babies, disposable diapers will become extremely valuable.
- Toilet Paper. Yes, the humble roll of toilet paper will become highly desirable, just like those diapers, especially if there are shortages of store stocks. You would be amazed what people, especially women, will be willing to trade to get their hands on this precious item. It’s not just those diaper-wearing babies who need hygiene.
- Personal Hygiene Items. Hygiene is important for maintaining health, as well as for social reasons. Soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoo will all become valuable items for trade. Don’t forget feminine hygiene items, which will undoubtedly be in high demand.
- First-Aid Supplies and Over-the-Counter Medicines. Most crises overload the medical services available. A financial crisis will be no different as people will do unusual things to provide for their needs. Having basic first-aid supplies on hand and common over-the-counter medicine could become quite valuable to you and others.
- Fuel. Fuel tends to become scarce during these times because gas stations ran out before the full brunt of the crisis and also because they will not have the power to run those pumps. While you will probably need whatever fuel stocks you have for your family, any extra will work wonderfully as trade goods.
- Fishing Supplies. Fishing is the easiest way of harvesting food from the wild. If people are going hungry, you can be sure that many of them will turn to fish to feed themselves and their families.
- Common Repair Items. Whenever there are weather-related difficulties, one of the first things that suffer is the integrity of your house. Your shelter. People will not have the proper supplies to repair even the simplest of things. Having common repair supplies, even jury-rigged solutions, will go a long way.
You can trade your barter supplies for other items your family needs or for things that will regain their value when the situation returns to normal.
During World War II, people in occupied Europe traded silver, jewelry, and other valuables to farmers out in the country for food. After the war, those farmers could sell those items for a tidy profit.
Be careful about how you do your business. You don’t want to tell people how much you have in your storeroom. If you let them know, you could open yourself up to attack.
Desperate people do desperate things, and you don’t want to become a target.
Bargains Beyond Money: The Untapped Power of Skill Exchanges
It is not always about the things you can hold in your hands and store in the basement.
When most people think about bartering, they limit themselves to thinking about what goods they can give away. That’s fine as far as it goes, but there is an inherent risk in bartering goods in a crisis situation.
That is, others might get the idea that you have something they need and decide to try to steal it from you.
On the other hand, you can barter skills just as well as you can barter goods. While bartering goods may invite attack and cost you supplies, in the long run, bartering your skills may make you valuable enough to the community that nobody would think of attacking you.
Instead, they will want to protect you so that they can continually benefit from your skills.
Of course, being able to barter requires skills people will need during the crisis.
What skills might those be?
10 Survival Skills You May Barter After A Crisis
- Survival Skills. If you are preparing for a disaster, you are clearly learning many skills necessary for such a time. You will learn many skills, such as starting a fire, which your neighbors won’t. Those skills will be valuable to them, as well as to you.
- Water Purification. Most people don’t know how to purify water other than to boil it. You could easily trade with a neighbor: You learned how to purify water right here. They haul water for both families, and you purify it.
- First-Aid and Minor Medical. Medical services are often overrun during a crisis. Cleaning and bandaging a wound, splinting a fracture, and treating minor sickness might even save a life. You must be careful in this case not to put yourself in a situation where you could be legally liable for causing someone harm or for being unable to save their life.
- Midwifery. Babies come when they want to and won’t stop for something as small as a crisis. Being able to help women give birth could be invaluable, especially if they can’t get to the hospital.
- Home Repair. Many types of disasters cause damage to people’s homes. And if you have been paying attention, home preparedness home preparedness is an essential part of survival prepping. The ability to perform even rudimentary temporary repairs could help keep them in their home when others don’t have a roof over their heads.
- Mechanics. Vehicles and small engines break down at the most inopportune times. Fewer and fewer people really understand how to repair their own vehicles and lawnmowers anymore, depending upon mechanics to do it for them. This provides you with a great opportunity if you have the tools and knowledge.
- Small Engine Repair. Small engines are just different enough from car engines that most mechanics don’t know how to repair. During a crisis, more people are likely to use them for generators and other equipment. How many times after an event that when someone goes to start that generator, it does not work? This opens up the opportunity to be able to repair their non-working engines for them. That non-working generator? That happened to me, and I took the time to learn how to pull the fuel supply apart and clean those clogged parts.
- Gardening. If you plan on growing a survival garden for food issues to help feed your family, you can be sure your neighbors will have the same needs. Get them started with vegetable seeds, and trade your expertise for their assistance.
- Animal Husbandry. Just like gardening, your ability to raise chickens or goats can be something you can use to help your neighbors.
- Home Defense. Every neighborhood will need to organize to defend themselves from attack. If you are the expert in your neighborhood, you could take command, develop a plan, and get everyone on board to help each other defend your neighborhood from any attackers.
Survival Of The Best Prepared
Others will also need any skill you and your family need.
Keep that in mind as you prepare yourself; you will see opportunities to leverage those skills. The crisis may eliminate your current job. In that case, your skills in other areas may develop into a business you can use to support your family as society rebuilds itself.
If your skills require special materials or supplies, putting in a stock of supplies would be good. You can’t put in a whole auto parts store in your garage, but you can put in a stock of the most common items you’ll need.
Immediately after the crisis hits, supply chains may be cut. That stockpile will give you something to start working with while waiting for the supply lines to be reformed.
That will provide you with the opportunity to put your skills to work immediately rather than having to wait until materials are available.
Bartering In A Collapsed Economy
One of the greatest risks many developed countries face today is that of a financial crash.
Venezuela’s economic collapse is a case in point. As of this writing, a dozen eggs in the USA is about $1.49. In Venezuela, a dozen eggs are about $150
Could that happen to us?
Many talk about this eventuality and point to various indicators in today’s economy and global markets. Based on those indicators, some say society is well on its way to a complete fiscal breakdown.
There are certain telltale signs of these financial crises, as we can see by looking at others around the globe. Amongst them is runaway inflation as a nation’s money plummets in value.
When that happens, one of the ways that people deal with it is to return to a barter economy rather than using money as their means of exchange.
Always keep that in mind.
Trade Secrets Unveiled: Mastering Bartering’s Unspoken Rules
Bartering isn’t just about swapping things; it’s about the human connections forged through the dance of trade.
Imagine the joy when your neighbor cherishes the hand-crafted jewelry you’ve exchanged for their delicious homemade pie.
You’ve got the knowledge, the drive, and the tools to make bartering work for you. Your first step?
Start small. That book you’ve read? Trade it for a plant. That painting you did? Swap it for a lesson in cooking.
The world of bartering is rich and yours for the taking. Dive in, trust your instincts, and remember: every good deal is a story waiting to unfold.
Ready to trade your doubts for confidence? Go on, make your first trade today!