Barter Items for Better Barters

Venezuela, May 2016

“It’s a normal sight to witness businessmen clamoring for tampons when a shipment arrives. In some cases it’s for their wives, but many of the men have said they hope to trade the tampons for other toiletries.”  
Learn more:

And in Greece;

“In Greece there’s a major liquidity problem,” Thodoris Roussos, a Greek butcher who bought a new truck with his own meat, told the Times. “People are finding it more convenient to trade because money is not readily available.”

Greeks switch to bartering because there’s not enough currency

During the Depression years in the U.S.

One day when I was about 8 years old, my dearest Grandmother left the bathroom door open while she was  putting on lipstick. As she leaned in to get a closer look at her artistry, I  asked “Gramma, why are you getting all dressed up?”

She took a moment to look down at me, “I’m getting dressed to go into town. We are going to McIntosh’s Grocery to do our trading.  Then we may go over to the five and dime for lunch.  Now go get ready?” She said.

Lunch counter at Kresge’s  5&10

The word trade has always stuck in my memory. It confused me as an 8 year old, Gramma paid for her groceries with cash. 80 years ago, depression and war had inserted into this generation a mindset that is totally different than of ours today. The families of that era didn’t buy groceries, they traded for them. They traded cash and things for groceries, supplies and services.

My Grandmother was raising her children (my father was about 10 years old during the last great depression)  between WWI and WWII, so they did a lot of trading.The language of trade stuck with them forever, however, in this day and age we buy our groceries.  As I see it, we will in the very near future need to change our mindset again.

Better Bartering

Barter is a system of exchange where goods and services are directly exchanged for other goods and services without the use of FRNs. (Federal Reserve Notes/ money)

  1. The colonial era. During the 17th and 18th centuries, money was scarce, so the colonists relied primarily on bartering, with commodities such as beaver pelts, corn, musket balls, nails, tobacco, and deer skins (from which we get our modern slang, “buck,” meaning “dollar”). Colonists also used the money of other cultures — the Native Americans’ wampum, (which consisted of beads made from shells), and the coins of foreign countries.
  2. The Great Depression. During the1930s, money was scarce. People established barter groups like The Unemployed Citizens League of Denver (with 34,000 members) and the National Development Association.
  3. The early 1980s. During a long recession, bartering regained popularity; it was featured in many magazine articles and many new books. Hundreds of barter clubs were created throughout the nation. More companies learned about the the advertising industry’s “trade-outs,” and international commerce’s “countertrade,” and the other possibilities for bartering in business.

In the above article the author discusses barter being in it’s 3rd cycle, however, this is an old article. I see the world going into a 4th bartering cycle very soon.   In today’s free flowing markets, if our just in time delivery system stops, what would you and your family miss the most? Most would be necessities, that is obvious. Some things would be luxury items and fit into a higher caliber category of Better Barters.

True Lemon – 100% crystallized lemon. one packet = one lemon wedge. When the stores are closed and you live in the far north this product is the most convenient way to add fresh-squeezed lemon to your water, tea and cooking.  then enter code 1097900125. Tree Citrus will donate through its network of local food banks. Add to this other flavor enhancing spices, such as vanilla or almond extract.

Iodized table salt – This product will be worth it’s weight in silver. Stock up on this! A few hundred pounds wouldn’t be out of the question

Water filtering supplies – A jug of clean filtered water will be worth life itself. Large corporations are buying up rural water streams and waterfalls. Nestle is one of the offenders of this practice.

Castor oil and recipe – When people find out what manual labor is all about there will be plenty of aches and pains. This recipe will relieve stress on joints, especially beneficial for arthritic joints.                                                                                                      Pour about a 1/4 cup of pure castor oil into a pan and heat slightly. Next put a washcloth into the heated oil and soak up the oil. Place the cloth on the offending body part and cover with plastic wrap or a plastic bag. Use a heating pad set on Medium heat, put over the castor oil cloth. (A hot water bottle or a second heated cloth will work, too) Relax for at least 30 minutes. Repeat if possible, twice a day until joint has more mobility.

Options– While the oil is heating, stir in an 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.   Or mash dried Chamomile and dried Chickweed, add to oil while it is heating in the pan. Let simmer 30 minutes without boiling the oil. Let cool a little, then place in the cloth and lay on the suffering joint. Cayenne, Chickweed and Chamomile add extra anti-inflammatory properties. Castor oil has so very many other uses, too.

Toiletries and soap – In the above article a man claims it has been several months sense he had been able to purchase deodorant. You’ll get hugs from trading off your partial bottle of shampoo or hand lotion. Use your imagination here. Tampons, condoms, toilet paper, disposable diapers etc. Businessmen clamoring for tampons.

Essential oils, tinctures and dried herbs – When antibiotics are unavailable, these will be your best bet. It would be a wonderful idea to learn how to use them also.

How to Survive and Thrive When the Power is Out -

Hot water bottle – It is important to keep warm. Hot water bottle can be filled and placed inside the jacket at the core level. These will be very popular when winter hits. As well as those iron powder and salt hand warmers.

Vitamins and supplements – Staying in good condition is the very most important thing a person can do for themselves. It is really hard to handle stress when one is ill.

Cayenne pepper – Cayenne pepper can mask the bad taste of boring food. Also, cayenne pepper can be used to stop heavy bleeding in a wound such as a gunshot. A handful of powdered cayenne into placed in the wound and a 1/4 teaspoon added to a cold glass of water and swallowed quickly has been reported to stop the bleeding from a through and through gunshot wound.

Pens and pencils – The last thing people seem to grab on their way out the door during a crisis is something to write with. Writing paper should be in this list too.

Packaged food – I have put together a recipe that works well for camping and hiking expeditions. These little packages will make great barter items.

Start with sandwich sized plastic baggies. Add 1/2 cup white rice, 1/4 cup lentils, two beef bullion cubes and 1/4 cup chopped dried broccoli.  Put into the baggie. When ready to use, simmer dried ingredients in 2 cups clean filtered water for about 20 minutes or until rice and beans are soft. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

How to Survive and Thrive When the Power is Out

Kids toys – Children will need some entertainment when the power is out. Not only for their wellbeing but your sanity as well.

See Cabin Fever- How to Survive and Thrive When the Power is Out

Bicycles and parts – Just knowing how to repair a bicycle will get you far in your community. Having the extra parts will make you king.

Solar panels They are all over the place right now, those small solar charging panels/stations for cell phones and computers. You’ll have teenagers surrounding you.

Bic lighters – This is ideal for the average (fill in the blank) that is unable to start a fire any other way.

Oils – All kinds. Cooking oils, motor oils, bar and chain oils, heating oils, lighting oils etc.

This is but a small list of great barter  items in the first stages of a societal collapse or long term power outages. The list will change as the collapse progresses and our lives change yet again. Knowing how to organize and be a leader would be an asset to any community. You will be on that list of most sought after items.

An idea that came to me just before publishing;  Back during the 1930’s depression HoBos developed a code for their travels. It let others know what was safe and where to find food etc.  Check out this really cool code system;

What are your thoughts?

How to Survive and Thrive When the Power is Out


One thought on “Barter Items for Better Barters

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