Cash After the Collapse: Maximizing Your Bartering Potential


Hey there, Ready Nutrition Readers!  I hope you enjoyed Part 1 on post-societal-collapse barter.  Today’s article is going to delve more into the specifics of what you’ll need to do and how the providing of services can also be “banked” for your use.  There are many fine reference materials to be found, especially some comprehensive lists that go into minute detail.  We want to provide basics here with a common-sense no nonsense approach that will enable you to maximize your potential.

Some Items Should Not Be Bartered

First, I wish to state some of the things that JJ does not think are good ideas to trade, and the reasons why.  They are as follows:

  1. Alcohol/spirits: the only way it should be traded is if it is to be used as either a base for a tincture, or for antiseptic/anesthetic purposes. For just a drink? You do not need to “feed” anyone’s alcohol addiction.  When it runs out, they will return…again and again…maybe not so nicely every time.
  2.  Bullets: JJ states absolutely only if you are bartering to family or someone you can trust implicitly with your life, because that is what you are doing. BULLETS THAT ARE BARTERED CAN COME BACK AT YOU!
  3.  Highly-sought medicines: This would include your antibiotics, such as cephalosporins and your penecillins. Remember: after the collapse you are not a medical dispensary nor a pharmacy. You need to be able to take care of your family first!  Surpluses of these are not easily found.
  4.  Additionally to this last category I must add any special medications for a special need of a family member.  Many of you may disagree with this mindset; however, you are welcome to practice charity on your own terms.  They are your supplies.  I merely point out that if you do not take care of your family first you are doing them a disservice.  You will have to weigh what you wish to do with your survival and that of your family.  There are many comprehensive lists that you can come up with for bartering materials.  Small things, such as matches, sewing kits, small first-aid supplies (such as band aids, aspirin, etc.) are always  barter friendly and hold their value.

Services are just as important as goods.  If you have special training and skills, you need to do several things in order to market them in service for supplies you may need.  Such things are as follows:

  1. Ensure you have certificates and diplomas to attest to your level of training. Photocopy them and laminate a copy to protect it.
  2. All school and training records (especially summaries that explain the parameters of your field of training) should be copied and a laminated copy kept for perusal
  3. Identification cards and a payroll stub (the latter to document you serving in your role, the former to prove it is you) should also be available

These bona-fides can be supplemented with things such as military service records (DD Form 214, Certificate of Honorable Discharge), letters of reference, etc., all can corroborate your ability to perform a service.  And what services are we talking about?  All of the medical professions (doctors, dentists, RN’s, CNA’s, etc.) can be highly sought after in a post-collapse scenario.  Your trades (carpenter, mechanic, plumber, etc.) are equally valuable in the right sets of circumstances.  The biggest challenge you will find is to match what you need with a person who needs your services.

Delivering the Goods

Another of JJ’s rules:  Let them pay/deliver the goods, or place the goods in front of your eyes before you do the job!  Have you ever seen the movie “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” with Humphrey Bogart?  Boy, did those guys get worked over…working a month and then the guy wanted to stiff them on the dough!  You do not need for that to happen!  Also, when performing this service, you need an “assistant” that in reality is your security guard.  You do not need to be grabbed and then exhorted by force to perform labor.

Skills are important, and they are something that can put bread and butter on your table if you market them wisely.  Another important consideration for all of this friendly exchange is that you are not trading on Sesame Street!  This is a post-collapse environment!  You must make sure that the area where exchanges are to take place are safe for you.  Always in a neutral place.  Never in or near your home!  The “friendly exchange” on the front porch can suddenly become a raid on your home.  Avoid that at all costs.

In addition you do not want anyone…I mean anyone…to see what you have and where you keep it.  These may seem the most rudimentary of fundamentals; however, I can assure you it is that lack of maintaining them that are usually the first things to get a person killed or cause him to lose all that he has.  When trading with people, “vet” them as best you can, and always…always…have security watching both them and watching out for anyone who may be lurking around nearby.

Part 3 will give you a method for setting up with “shop” in your safe location and a few tips on how to get out of Dodge if that location becomes compromised.  Until then, take care and have a good day!




Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published June 22nd, 2015
If you found this article useful, please Vote for Ready Nutrition as a top prepper web site.
share this article with others
related reading
featured today

Leave A Comment...
Ready Nutrition Home Page

  • FalconMoose

    Good advise on the booze….Hadn’t thought of that aspect. In addition, I may have to take my Confederate Battle Flag in off the house when SHTF. 🙂 :0

    • bill lopez

      First – you don’t barter stuff on your front porch or out of your garage.
      Second – you maintain a level of security when coming and going from your location.

      I have and plan on using alcohol for trading. I don’t give a shit what someone wants to use it for now, and I’m certainly not going to start after the SHTF.

      JJ isn’t always the smartest or most knowledgeable guy in the room. I highly suspect his credentials.

      • FalconMoose

        Thanks, Bill.

52 Weeks to Preparedness
Ready Nutrition Articles By Category
Looking for something specific on our site? Start your search in our list of articles by main category topic.