Cash is Out, Bartering is King

Reality tells us that we may soon be coming to a point in which cash is no longer king.  The economy has been drying up for years.  Over one million Americans filed their initial unemployment claim over the last month.  The dollars we bring home are buying less on every trip to the grocery store.

Few of us are completely self-sufficient.  There are always going to be a few things that we cannot make for ourselves.  If your personal preps are in order, consider investing your prep dollars in a new way: purchase barter items!

A lot of things that are inexpensive now will be invaluable later.  As the economy collapses even further, people will be focused on survival and the barter system will reignite.  Barter items will be far better than cash – you can’t eat a dollar!

What kind of items will be worth their weight in gold?  Check out this list for a few suggestions:

  • Matches and lighters
  • Seeds
  • Canning jars, lids and rings
  • First aid items
  • Tools
  • Water Filtration Supplies
  • Sewing supplies
  • Vitamins
  • Salt
  • Feminine Hygiene Supplies
  • Vitamins
  • Fishing Supplies
  • Fuel (gasoline, propane, kerosene, etc)
  • Sweeteners such as honey, sugar and syrup
  • Coffee/Tea
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Liquor
  • Cigarettes/tobacco
  • Small packages of food (baggies of beans/rice, etc)
  • Livestock
  • Cooking oil
  • Firewood
  • Farm supplies (pesticides, fertilizer, etc.)
  • Weapons, Ammo *
  • Batteries
  • Warm clothing
  • Hats/Gloves (think about those little dollar store stretchy items)
  • Soap/shampoo
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Dental care items (toothbrushes/toothpaste/floss)

*Caution: Exercise great discretion when bartering with weapons and ammunition.  It is entirely possible that those items could be used against you to take your supplies.  These are items to be bartered only with someone you trust implicitly or as an absolute last resort.

Barter items can be purchased at the dollar store, the flea market or at liquidation houses.  Don’t forget yard sales – even though you already possess a meat grinder, someone who has ammo that you need might not have one. Items that you can acquire and store inexpensively may one day be more valuable than gold.

Don’t forget about the items that you can produce yourself.  This goes hand-in-hand with the barter of skills.  Stock up on the supplies you need to create the following items for a long-term flow of “income”.

  • Fresh produce
  • Ammunition (see *caution above)
  • Home canned items
  • Preserved meats (jerky, ham, etc)
  • Warm knitted or crocheted items (mittens, hats, scarves)
  • Yarn spun from animal fibers
  • Homemade candy
  • Homemade soap
  • Homemade candles
  • Wooden or clay bowls and plates
  • Herbal remedies

Use this list to get your creative juices flowing.  What items do you possess the ability to make?  Which of these items will be particularly useful if the grid goes down or if the economy crumbles?

What items are you stocking up on for life in a potential barter-based economy?  Please share your ideas below!

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published April 26th, 2012
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6 Responses to Cash is Out, Bartering is King

  1. Dave R. says:

    I suggest a supply of pre-1965 US silver coins; 1. These will be useful as cash, due to their known bullion content, and low, easy-to-use value, when the paper money crashes in purchasing power (PP). A dime is now worth about $3 and may be worth $30 or more after the crash. It’s all about PP, and 2. Silver is less likely to be confiscated by the govt (not worth the political and physical effort). FDR did it for gold in 1933.  Dave

  2. Sara says:


  3. pdxr13 says: to find the suppressed daily price of US 90% silver coins value as scrap silver. The coin should have some premium over melt value because it’s a coin. Trade is much easier when you can instantly trust an easily-identifiable small US Mint silver coin (pre-1965 date dime or quarter).
    +1 on having coins. This is not barter: silver coins are MONEY. You should be able to get a much better deal with silver than with barter.
    A landowner with the ability to feed, water, and roughly house folks could set up a serf/master feudal society. I know some folks who would enjoy being a Lord.

  4. Books!  Children’s primers.  Cookbooks.  “How to…” guides.  Nature Field Guides to plants, animals, insects, weather conditions, night sky, etc.  History, classical fiction, political science, and, of course, economics.  We’re going to have to educate (or re-educate) the younger generations ourselves…

  5. Mumashika says:

    Antidepressants and anxiety/sleep meds.  Think about it.  Our family had to shelter for 7 days once as two hurricanes went past.  All we could do was hole up and constantly listen to the news to try and guess whether our house and possessions would be destroyed or not.  Very depressing, hard to sleep.  It’s difficult enough to cope with emergencies when you get a good night’s sleep, try doing it when you sleep-deprived.

  6. Colleen says:

    Sounds silly, but condoms.  In a real crises, people will not want to reproduce, but still have sex. 
    Sunscreen, lip balm, hair bands, candy, hygiene products, spices.
    People will not think of these things.  You can buy sunscreen sticks that are portable, hard candy and I bought the small zip lock bags found in the craft section of the large retailer and filled them with spices – marked on outside with spice name.  After a week of eating plain rice, people will barter greatly for a bag of salt or pepper or other spices.

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