Trading and bartering were an important part of our ancestors’ lives. Bartering involved all kinds of items as currency. Furs, silks, perfumes, spices, and tea were some of the more traditional items of barter; human skulls and poisons are a couple of history’s more outlandish trade goods. Bartering also took place during the Great Depression of the 1930s, after credit diminished and bank lending decreased. Should that kind of economic collapse happen again, bartering could become an everyday occurrence again. Here are 10 obvious trade goods, and three that you might not typically think of.
10 Important Barter Goods
1. Medical supplies: First aid gear and medical supplies could be vital, especially if care is unavailable or unaffordable.
2. Food: Shelf-stable, ready-to-eat foods would obviously have a lot of value in lean times.
3. Water purification: Tablets, filters, and other disinfection gear could mean the difference between contracting a waterborne illness and staying safe.
4. Ammunition: If things have gotten so bad that you have to barter for goods, you’ll want to be able to defend those goods, too.
5. Batteries: Assorted sizes that could be used in flashlights, radios, and many other devices.
6. Fuel: Gasoline, diesel, propane and other fuels in portable containers will help keep things running.
7. Lighting: Candles, headlamps, and flashlights will be popular items if the power is out, or if electricity becomes too expensive.
8. Hygiene items: Toilet paper, soap, tampons, baby wipes, and other hygiene supplies are always relevant.
9. Alcohol: Alcohol can be drunk, used as a disinfectant, and serve many other roles.
10. How-to books: Books on gardening, foraging, first aid, and security can teach skills to those who didn’t study up before it all hit the fan.
3 Extra Barter Goods
1. Cigarettes and other tobacco products: These will be very important to those who need their nicotine fix.
2. Entertainment: Fiction books and other things that can pass the time would be valuable to the easily bored.
3. Caffeine: Energy shots, tea, and coffee would feed the caffeine lovers in the way that cigarettes work for smokers.
What items would you make sure you had on hand for trade during tough times? Let us hear it in the comments.