Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Top 10 Barter Goods

During an economic meltdown, a wide spread Power Outage, Hurricane, Terrorist take over, or any other long term serious event, barter will be necessary.  With out electricity, credit and ATM cards are worthless.  The only reason a paper bill (dollar) has any value at all, is the confidence the public has in it; that it is worth more than the paper its printed on.  Isn't it a bit amazing how the same piece of paper with "20" printed on it is worth much more than with a "1" printed on it? The same paper and ink with just a slightly different image makes a huge difference in the perceived value. But what is true value?  Obviously things that are necessary to survive (see Rule of 3) like air, water, food, shelter and security are very import.

So what are the characteristics of ideal Barter Investments:
  1. Low cost, but certain to increase in value after a collapse; essential to survive
  2. Stable over a many years; made from stainless steel; long shelf life
  3. Unlikely to flag you as a Prepper; secrecy is critical to avoid making you a target
  4. Used in your every-day life so that they can be rotated like other stockpiled items
  5. Contributes to (not threatens) you, such as seeds traded to a neighbor in exchange for a bushel of food as opposed to a gun or ammo that could be used to shoot you.
Here are some Top 10 items that should be valuable to barter with, listed in what I believe might offer the best return on investment. 
  1. US Silver Coins - the most stable form of currency throughout history.  Gold is too valuable; what would you buy with a $10,000 bill if no one could make change?  A low cost alternative might be copper pennies, which they stopped making in 1982 because the copper in them was worth about 3-4 cents. One-gram gold might also be good for protecting wealth but for barter would be like having 100 bills where not many people could make change for them.
  2. Ammo - there is debate here that you don't want to arm potential enemies and so you should not trade any ammo, but it will offer a substantial return on your investment being worth more than gold in a "Walking Dead" type break down. A counter to the argument is that arming your neighbors could serve and an outer layer of defense. A solution to this concern might be to barter a limited number of small caliber, short range ammunition like .22 LR (or 9mm) and not long range sniper rounds.  Barter individual rounds, not boxes of ammo. Some suggest popular magazines, which will be critical in the early stages, but not longer term as casualties mount and weapons are readily available.
  3. Manual Can Openers - cans of food will be an important source of salvaged food, but you need to be able to open them with out injuring yourself. See our post on Salvaging Supplies.
  4. Seeds  - one of the most valuable items long-term along with chickens and other livestock. Save low cost seeds of fast growing Prepper foods that can be preserved.  Short term, they are not worth much, but long term they would be priceless. See our posts on seeds for survival and gardening in the Blog Table of Contents.
  5. Hand tools - shovels, hoes, rakes, post hole diggers, crescent wrench, pipe wrench, hand saws, hand drills, hand planer, axe, machete, water hoses, hand water pumps, sprinklers, etc.  A good garden hoe will be priceless when trying to grow your own food.
  6. Handheld radios for communications  at $23 for 2, you can't afford not to have a set for you and a set or two for your neighbors to warn you if a threat is coming. Be sure to have rechargeable batteries and several $5 solar powered battery chargers
  7. First Aid/Medical Supplies, bandages, disinfectants, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, antibiotic creams, Listerine mouthwash - rotate them as they will expire over time (their Achilles heel). Have a still to make your own disinfectant and purify water.
  8. Books of all types, but especially educational ones and those that teach basic skills like gardening, farming/ranching, food preservation, hunting, fishing, firearms, reloading, chemistry, carpenter, military experience, ham radio, bio fuels, medical care, the ability to fix broken mechanical devices, tying knots, teaching and other important skills. 
  9. Maps, especially water proof ones are valuable during migrations and a good Silva compass
  10. TBD - to be determined - I will complete this with your suggestions 
Here are some additional items that are good to have and valuable for barter, but are not necessarily a good investment because they don't meet our criteria, so they didn't make the top 10 list: 
  1.  Items like tobacco, alcohol/whiskey, chocolate; too expensive and not essential, however for people who are addicted, these are important.
  2. Cross Bow or Bow and Arrows for long term for stealth and security after, ammo runs.
  3. Bicycles with trailers, padlocks, chain and parts for them (along with horses) will be essential for travel. But these are far too expensive to invest in for Barter, unlike can openers.
  4. BB Guns (higher powered) and lots of BB's for hunting birds and small game but which also do not represent a security threat to you like trading ammo does.
  5. Rolls of heavy PE film (black & clear)
  6. Pesticides for gardening and insect repellent for security watch (short term) but develop natural sustainable sources for long term needs.
  7. Fly Swatters, old fashion pest control before other means were available.
  8. Lanterns, candles and matches, especially waterproof ones.
  9. Pencils, paper, and a sharpener.
  10. Smokers for preserving foods
  11. Mason canning jars & lids.
  12. Fishing line, hooks and nets.
  13. Duct tape, glue, screws and nails
  14. Camping, travel supplies, and collapsible water containers.
  15. LED flashlights, both battery and crank dynamo powered.
  16. Para cord
  17. Salt
  18. 12-volt electrical components, LED bulbs, AC inverters & Solar Panels
  19. Your suggestions? 
Credit/ATM cards and paper money will be worthless.  There will be swap events, traveling salvagers/traders and resale shops along with fix-it shops that will be popular.  No nail salons, gyms or video games.  Only Silver and Barter are sustainable over time.  Our post on Investing for Preppers talks about the value of goods in terms of silver coin.

By this time, it obvious to the few who have survived that things have changed, reset you might say, from an era of stupidity and laziness.  The degree of the break down will largely determine the length and slope of the recovery. Foreign "help" (a.k.a invasion) is likely, whether wanted or not. Not only will we have to fight to survive, we will have to fight to keep our freedom from Communist China, Socialist Europe or the Muslim Middle East. But that is a topic for another post.

For additional information see the following links: 
Blog Table of Contents;

Top 10 List of Prepper info
Top Rated Prepper Handbook Posts of all time
Top Rated Prepper Website

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