When you think about disaster preparedness, keep in mind that a lot of cheap stuff we take for granted in today’s world will be extremely valuable and desirable after SHTF. This is the stuff you want to stock up on now. Not only will you need it for yourself and your family, you could also use it for bartering.
Here are just 40 examples of cheap items you’ll want to stock up on while they’re still available. I’m sure there are plenty more, so if you think of any, be sure to leave a comment below or on our Facebook page. Now on to the list…
1. Toilet Paper is pretty self-explanatory, unless you are fond of leaves and what-not.
2. Hand Sanitizer will be very useful when water is in short supply and you need to keep your hands clean.
3. Soap is so cheap today that we tend to take it for granted. But when it’s gone, people will miss it badly. It is crucial to maintain cleanliness after the SHTF to keep diseases from spreading.
4. Lighters will be useful as well as an excellent barter item. Buy them in bulk and keep them on hand.
5. Duct Tape has all sorts of uses. Buy several rolls because you’ll need more than you might think.
6. Glow Sticks can serve as night lights, trail markers, or signals. They are very cheap, but very useful. (Bonus tip: These are really cheap right after Halloween.)
7. Kleenex or some tissues. You’ll continue to get colds or have allergy problems after the SHTF, and you don’t want snot everywhere or a raw nose.
8. Vitamins will help keep your immune system strong. Remember, most survival food isn’t very high in vitamins, and your body desperately needs vitamins to stay healthy. Especially Vitamin C.
9. Aluminum Foil has dozens of usess. Buy lots so you can use it for gardening, cooking, cleaning, etc.
10. Cigarettes may not be healthy, but after SHTF they are going to be in high demand. A single pack could be worth a great deal of supplies, and they actually have some survival uses.
11. Cheap Wine is easy to come by and will store forever. After fighting all day, a nice glass of wine will go a long way toward calming the nerves.
12. Bandages are only a few bucks for dozens of them. Buy lot so you can treat minor wounds without being stingy.
13. Ammunition is fairly inexpensive right now for certain kinds, so buy it while you still can. Folks who are looking for .22 will tell you the benefit of buying when it is plentiful and cheap.
14. Condiments like ketchup and mustard can sit on the shelves for a while and make an ordinary meal taste a lot better.
15. Spices like oregano, garlic powder, and the like will turn that bland soup or stew into a delicious meal.
16. Candy will be an excellent way to keep the kids happy and reward them for helping out during hard times. It’s fun for adults, too.
17. Lotion can help prevent cracked and chafed skin, which can become a serious problem if left untreated.
18. Chap Stick is more important than many people realize. When you are outside working in cold or windy weather, your lips will become chapped and it can be very painful. Plus, there are many otheruses for chap stick.
19. Ziploc Bags will be helpful to store leftover breads and other treats you make, or for keeping socks, tinder, small electronics, etc. dry.
20. OTC Medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen do expire eventually, but the first few years of a post-apocalyptic world will be a little easier if you have them.
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Collapse currency is a necessary shtf insurance policy we need to invest in for our long-term longevity. With this idea in mind, when we look at the concept of investing and wealth preservation for uncertain times, we want to employ a strategy that will provide as much coverage as possible so that if we are hit out of the blue with something totally unexpected, we’ll at least have the basic necessities to survive.
One of the most popular shtf currencies many have invested in is gold and silver. While these are the currencies of kings, many believe it may not be the only form of currency in a shtf scenario to prepare for. In this type of scenario, you must take into account to our everyday lives will have changed. We will longer have access to our modern conveniences: medicine, clean drinking water, food and, in desperate times, we will do what we can to trade or barter for it.
If we are facing an event where there is a capacity of millions of lives killed and take decades to recover from like a nuclear war or an EMP strike, then things like gold and silver may go on the back burner for a while. It’ll still have some value, but when survival consumes your every thought, your priorities tend to change. Valuable commodities like medicine, sugar and salt, seeds, knives and tobacco are a few of the six kinds of currency that will be tradable in a long-term emergency. Another important item to stock up on is alcohol.
SHTF Uses for Alcohol
- Alcohol has long been used in place of antiseptic and can clean wounds, sterilize needles, knives and other instruments.
- This barter items can also be used as fuel for engines (use as fuel on small equipment, generators, etc).
- Alcohol can also be added to medicinal herbs to make tinctures and elixirs.
- Use alcohol as a solvent to use to clean guns, razors and other tools.
- In a dire situation, alcohol can also be given to an injured person as a numbing agent so medical or dental procedures can be performed.
When all else fails, knowing how to make your own distilled spirits could save your life or provide you with a handsome barter item. Knowing how to make your own alcohol will ensure you have a tradeable item for future currency exchanges.
Alcohol is made with two simple ingredients: sugar and yeast. Yeast, should be stored in a cool, dry place. If kept in its original packaging it can last for two years. If stored in the freezer, it can last up to five years. Learn how to make your own yeast for long-term sustainability. Sugar is an forever food item and can last indefinitely.
Steps to Make Your Own Moonshine
- Boil water and add cornmeal. Don’t go beyond boiling point or you’ll kill the yeast. It should just be warm enough to touch.
- Now that you’ve made the mash, add sugar and yeast. If there are 2 ingredients you need to appreciate, it’s these. These are the very two things in charge of providing that special kick.
- Ferment it for 5 days or until the bubbles stop forming. Now, you have the sour mash. Don’t let the name fool you because this mix is designed to make life sweet!
Heat the sour mash in your pressure cooker and set it at 173 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes the alcohol rise to the surface.
- Attach one end of the copper pipe into the pressure cooker vent and dip the other end into a container filled with cold water. Make sure the pipe doesn’t touch your precious mash.
- As the vapors course through the cold copper tubing, the alcohol formed is now what we call the moonshine.
- Filter the drink through charcoal and remove gunk.
See graphic below for detailed reference:
Keep your alcohol in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. Keep the bottles upright and do not open them. Once opened, the liquid will evaporate and lose its flavor after six to eight months.
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 ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.
This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition
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Occasionally while reading survival forums or prepper blogs I run across the following 5 criteria for barter goods, typically accompanied by a list of over 40 goods that match the criteria. Although the posts or articles tend not to provide attribution for the criteria, based on those that do I believe they come from Joel Skousen’s pamphlet, 10 Packs for Survival. I think these 5 criteria for barter goods really nail it:
- High consumer demand
- Not easily home manufactured
- Durable in storage
- Divisible in small quantities
- Authenticity easily recognizable
Let’s consider why these criteria are so useful:
High Consumer Demand
iPads and HD televisions may be in high demand right now, but if our currency fails the economy has failed and chances are the power grid is failing as well. Look for items that will see soaring demand in the face of likely disaster scenarios–bicycles, for example, or solar panels or wood-burning stoves or water filters.
Not Easily Home Manufactured
It’s not hard to imagine the sorts of things people will start making at home when times are hard: more people will be sewing their own clothes, for example, or growing their own food, or brewing their own cider. But how likely are they to be making their own batteries, pliers, or aspirin? Items that are not easily made will be worth more simply because of that difficulty in manufacturing.
Durable in Storage
Several groups of items, including food and fuel, have relatively short shelf-lives. It makes little sense to stockpile goods for barter that could easily go bad before they are needed. Sometimes an item can last over a decade if packaged one way, but less than a year if packed another way; guess which items will be useful in barter? Sugar and salt will last forever, properly stored; but powdered milk and beef jerky will only last a few years. Knives and binoculars will last; dynamite and cardboard will degrade. Freeze-dried food in unopened #10 cans will outlast the same food by the same manufacturer packed in Mylar envelopes.
Divisible into Small Quantities
Many people would love having a horse for transportation and to help with work around the homestead. However, a horse is the smallest useful unit of horse, unless one just wants the meat for food. Few people willing to trade will be able to offer something as valuable as a horse in exchange. Compare this with something of similar value, say 1,000 pounds of wheat: one could easily dip into the store of wheat and come out with enough to trade for a needle, a roll of toilet paper, or a bic lighter. The wheat is divisible into sacks, pounds, or cups, and so in this regard it fits this barter criteria where a horse does not.
Authenticity Easily Recognizable
I often hear people recommending silver or gold for purchasing goods after the collapse of a currency. But while precious metals can help one retain wealth through a crisis, they may not be the best for barter, even if they meet the other criteria. The problem is that most people won’t know the value of an ounce of gold or silver, or how to know if what you’re offering even is gold or silver. You could try to educate them, but you know how people are–they won’t see you as the most objective source of information in this scenario. You’ll probably have to accept less than you think your metals are worth, rather than much more than you paid. Even when bits of gold or silver are hallmarked or stamped or coined to attest to their purity and value, people will feel more comfortable knowing the value of a candy bar or an axe.
In a similar vein, chemical compounds or common liquids can be hard to assess. Is that codeine or aspirin powder? Is that gasoline still potent? Is that whiskey watered down? Is that water pure or contaminated? Unless you want your barter goods assessed at the lowest possible rate, it’s best to stick with things that almost all people can easily assess.
Personally, I plan to start my barter goods with items I’ll want extras of for myself: medicines, ammunition, firearms, canning jars and lids, and the like, with the thought that if there’s something I forgot to stockpile, I’ll have an abundance of such things to trade. But eventually I see myself stashing small portable items such as needles, tools, salt, and others that fit these criteria for no other reason than to barter.
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People sometimes forget that the smallest and most convenient storage space is in their own heads. If you find yourself in the midst of a disaster and you need to either build or fix something, having the necessary knowledge and experience in your mind instead of in a book will hugely benefit your ability to survive. And if there’s something you need from your neighbors but you’re not willing to trade any of your supplies, you could do some work for them in exchange.
But what sort of skills will be the most useful after TEOTWAWKI? Knowing Microsoft Office won’t do you much good, but knowing how to make soap could mean the difference between health and sickness. Or maybe you could trade your soap for more food. The point is, you need to learn a few skills that will be useful in a post-disaster world. I suggest you take up one as a hobby while you still have time.
Here, then, are 20 skills you can trade after TEOTWAWKI, listed in alphabetical order:
- Animal Husbandry. The ability to raise animals such as chicken for eggs, rabbits for meat, goats for milk, etc. There is a limit to how much meat and dairy people will be able to store, and there will be a huge demand for for fresh food.
- Cleaning. Not just washing your hands, but the ability to wash clothes without a washing machine, make cleaning products to use around the house, and keep your home germ free.
- Clothing. If times are tough, people won’t be able to go out and buy new clothes and shoes any time they need them. They’ll have to fix shoes, patch torn pants, and mend shirts. This is an important skill that has become very rare in modern society.
- Communication. If the infrastructure breaks down, common means of communication like cell phones and the Internet will be unreliable, if not gone completely. In that case, people who know how to use all kinds of radios, especially HAM radios, will be in high demand.
- Construction. Especially without power tools. It’s worth knowing how to properly fix roofs, board up windows or build outhouses using only basic hand tools.
- Cooking. People are going to get sick and tired of eating canned soup and freeze-dried food. If you can cook a tasty meal and dessert without power, people in the neighborhood will thank you with favors or with supplies they don’t need.
- Dental. Most people live their entire lives without realizing how much misery they would experience if not for the dentist. A perfect example of this is in the movie Cast Away where the main character has to knock out one of his own teeth. Someone who knows how to clean and remove teeth could be a great help.
- Fire Making. Most people won’t know how to start a fire once they’re lighters run out of fluid. People in your area will be safer and healthier if you can help them get a fire going so they can boil water and cook food.
- First Aid/Medical. People tend to take doctors for granted, but it will quickly become apparent how important they are. Without doctors, people will need help sewing up wounds, setting bones, performing CPR, and determining which herbs and medications help with which ailments.
- Food Storage. Canning, dehydrating, sealing, smoking, etc. Most people don’t know how to store food without a refrigerator. Offer to preserve someone’s leftovers in exchange for help or supplies.
- Gardening. Yet another skill that has become more and more rare. Learn to grow fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables, preferably indoors unless you have a secure backyard.
- Gathering. The main thing here is knowing which naturally-occurring plants in your area have nutritional and/or medicinal value and which ones are useless or poisonous. But you’ll also need a MacGyver-like ability to find and use trash and items that might otherwise be ignored.
- Gunsmithing. If you’re facing a long-term disaster, people are going to need guns for hunting and self protection. It will help if you know how to repair guns and reload shells. But only help people you completely trust.
- Hunting and Fishing. When food supplies get low and gardens fall short, people are going to have to hunt and fish. If you can provide meat for your friends and family, they’ll have time to take care of other necessities.
- Mechanic. Even if we have a depression worse than the one in the 1930’s, most people are still going to have jobs (remember, unemployment only got up to 25% in the 1930’s), which means they’ll need a way to get to work. The problem for many people is that they won’t be able to afford to get their cars fixed. If you learn how to work on cars, or any machine for that matter (lawnmowers, generators, etc.), you’ll have a particularly valuable skill.
- Plumbing. People will still need their sinks and toilets, even more so if they’re washing clothes in the sink. Learn to remove clogs, fix toilets and replace leaky pipes.
- Security. You can make your home more secure, but after TEOTWAWKI you’re still going to need someone to stand guard when others are busy or sleeping. This person will need to know how to use weapons and be practiced in hand-to-hand combat.
- Soap and Candle Making. If the disaster goes on for long, soap and candles will be in high demand and a valuable trade item.
- Teacher. If the schools are closed, it’s still important that children spend time reading and learning. Remember, these are the children that will grow up and rebuild the world.
- Water Purification. One of the most important skills of all! In the weeks after a major catastrophe, many people will die from dehydration or from drinking unsafe water. It will help a lot if you learn all you can about cleaning and filtering water.
There are several other skills I thought about including in this list such as bee keeping, brewing, and electrical work, but I think the 20 listed above will probably be the most in-demand skills. Thoughts or comments? Share them below.
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Here is a Instructable Link to another version
First, loosen up the honey.
Pour the honey into one gallon of water.
Pouring the honey in…
Time to mix it up.
Here is what we have so far.
It puts the must into the flask
Place the hydrometer into the flask.
Time for a yeast cocktail
Add a wine nutrient blend.
Mix it up
Add some must.
Add more must.
Prepare the apples!
Add yeast cocktail and apples to the must.
Shake, Shake, Shake!
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I would be preaching the choir if I told you that it is wise to gather extra supplies that you can use for bartering in a post-collapse world. The issue for many, however, is that their budget allows no room for extras. Finding funds for long term personal preps, let alone daily needs can be an ongoing challenge.
Let’s face it. We all know that the middle class is disappearing. Food and health care costs are up and even those with comfortable nest eggs are finding that their funds are rotting, earning virtually no interest and suffering the ravages of inflation. So what are we to do?
The first rule of thumb is to acquire skills that can be bartered for goods. That is the smart thing to do regardless of your financial situation. Beyond that, there are a number of low cost items that you can accumulate over time, even if you are poor.
Backdoor Survival reader Elaine K. sent me her list of “poor man’s barter items”. It gave me so many ideas that I expanded the list to include even more items. Here it is: 101 low cost items to barter if the stuff hits the fan.
Poor Man’s Barter Items
- Garden tools
- Fly swatters
- Insect spray
- Rat & mouse point
- Rodent traps
- Straight pins
- Safety pins
- Dry beans
- Spices such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice, sage, parsley etc.
- Cooking Oil
- Coffee filters
- Hand crank or manual can openers
- Canned food – any type
- Wooden, strike anywhere matches
- Old newspapers
- Large cotton balls with soaked in petroleum jelly for starting fires
- Bleach (or freshly made pool shock)
- Baby wipes (Note: these can be used to clean face, hands, arm pits, groin in case there is no water. If dried out, pour in a cup of water into container)
- Baking Soda
- Spirits: wine, whisky, been, vodka, brandy
- Coloring books & crayons
- Scrap paper
- Ballpoint pens
- Copy paper
- Lined notebook paper
- Tooth paste
- Dental floss
- Hair brushes
- Disposable razors
- Nail clippers and files
- Feminine products
- Bars of soap
- Toilet paper
- Hair pins
- Cigarette lighters
- Tobacco seeds
- Aluminum foil
- Plastic sheeting
- Socks – all sizes & colors
- Shoe laces
- Reading glasses
- Garbage bags (can’t have too many)
- Dust pans
- Clothes pins
- Clothes lines
- Garbage cans
- Rope of any type
- Hard candy
- Ibuprofen, Tylenol, and aspirin
- Essential oils
- Cough syrup
- Eye drops
- Band aids
- Lip balm or chapstick
- Nails, nuts, bolts, & screws
- Heirloom garden seeds
- Fresh garden produce and herbs
- Herb plants
- Hand garden tools
- Two cycle oil
- Automotive oil and air filters
- Paperback books
- Plastic tarps
- Duct tape
- Fels naphtha bar soap
- Washing/laundry soda
- Home made laundry detergent
- Garden compost
- Garden fertilizer
- Plastic tubs & containers
- Petroleum jelly (Vaseline)
The Final Word
Elaine K. is sixty-six years old and has been a widow since 1985. Like many of us, old and young, times have been tough and she has had to teach herself survival by embracing plain old common sense. Sound familiar?
When she first wrote to me, she indicated that she wanted to do something to help others. I am sure you will agree that her list is an inspiration to get started gathering low cost items that will be invaluable in a barter-society if and when the SHTF.
Now tell me, can you thing of more inexpensive if not downright cheap items to accumulate for barter purposes?
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