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Items You Should Hoard for Barter in Case of Collapse
It’s easy to know roughly what you would need to survive during a long-term societal collapse. For most, food, water and shelter roll right off Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, through your brain and off your tongue. These are the low-lying fruit of preparation, and should be the focus of most as they strive to be more prepared.
But beyond basic needs, what comes next?
For the purposes of this article, we will assume that society has broken down on a widespread scale. A complete loss of electricity due to a massive solar flare has left you knowing that it will be years before the lights are turned back on, and humans are essentlally left to fend for themselves without their regular deliveries of food and water.
After you have prepared your home for the basics of long-term survival, it is time to recognize that you will not have thought of everything, and that you may be forced to deal with a small or large mob that has also not thought of everything. By having a means to trade for things you need, and also to have plenty of small essentials to give away and placate a scared mob, you will have taken a great step towards preparedness.
- Nickels/Junk Silver
- Toilet Paper and Feminine Care Products
- Cigarettes and Alcohol
Nickels/Junk Silver - In the post collapse economy, people will fall back on what they know, and United States coinage will be what they know. Nickels, or 5 cent pieces, have a known quantity of nickel, and at today’s prices, are actually worth their face value in metal. In the past, nickels have been worth more than their face value. Yes, it’s true that 1982 and earlier pennies have about 2 cents worth of copper, but they are difficult to store due to the small denomination. Having many rolls of nickels from the bank will give you a means to handle small transactions.
Many others are hoarding “junk silver,” which for our purposes, is 1964 and earlier half-dollars, quarters and dimes, as well as silver dollars like the Morgan Dollar and Peace Dollar. These can be purchased for their spot value of silver, or sometimes less. The thought here is that these coins have a known quantity of pure silver, which could be used to re-establish a new metal based currency. You would be wise to visit your local coin shop or most online coin or bullion dealers to buy bags of junk silver coins.
Matches - Buying tons of waterproof matches should be part of your preparations - you can never have too many. Buying extra boxes of matches should also be a part of your long term survival plan. If you are the only house lit by a warm fireplace during a cold winter night, you could find yourself attracting hungry families, or worse, violent marauders.
By having extra books of matches, you can use them to trade for food such as meat and fish, as well as to give to a lost soul to encourage them to go elsewhere with hopes of a fire of their own.
Seeds - If stored correctly, seeds can last a long time. Even regular seed packets, if placed in airtight and waterproof containers, will last years. Besides having plenty of seeds for your family, you can trade them for other seeds you desire more, or again, use them to help a family in need. Good seeds for long term storage include beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cucumber, kale, tomato and turnips.
Toilet Paper and Feminine Care Products - One of the most important aspects of survival is hygiene, especially when it comes to bodily waste. In addition to having your own waste disposal needs taken care of, you should buy extra toilet paper each month and store it in plastic bags or totes to keep dry.
Believe me, if we happen to find ourselves in a grid-down scenario, toilet paper, tampons, and menstrual pads will be worth their weight in gold.
Cigarettes and Alcohol - It is no coincidence that when times are tough, sales of sin products do not suffer. In a scenario of societal collapse, those who are addicted to cigarettes and alcohol will have a hard time adapting. For that reason, if you are a smoker, it would be wise to quit now before you are forced to.
Cigarettes can be stored in airtight containers, and for an alternative, you can buy bags of rolling tobacco, papers and filters and store them safely. As far as alcohol is concerned, just buy high-proof spirits like whiskey, bourbon, rye, scotch, vodka and rum, and leave them sealed up in their original glass bottles. High-proof spirits will not go bad, and can be used as fuel or as a disinfectant.
Candles - In a post-meltdown world, something as simple as light, a luxury we take for granted, will be a commodity. After you have purchased enough candles for yourself, buy as many more as you can afford. If you have to turn away a hungry or lost soul at your door, at least you can send them away with a source of light and heat.
How to Protect Your Stash - First, do not ever tell anyone about your survival preparations, especially any details about the supplies you have. If the time comes when you have to barter out these items, always keep a small amount separate from the main stash. That way, a conniving beggar won’t know exactly what you are worth as a dead man.
Having items to barter with, or conduct small transactions, is a vital preparation that cannot go overlooked. Items such as these, if you think ahead, can become the source of a lucrative and lifesaving business opportunity in the aftermath of a collapse.
What you do today will determine if you are the beggar, or the businessman.