The 30 Most Valuable Items To Store and Trade in a Collapsed EconomyHarper March 5, 2019 1 COMMENT
During the great depression when the dollar collapsed, basic items became currency. Any trip to the market would be better accompanied with items such as tobacco, or alcohol to be used as barter and trade items, rather than a pocket full of dollars purely because of the fact that they were worth so much more.
Bring the clock forward 80 years and we’re still seeing the same high value placed in everyday items over physical cash in countries that have suffered economic breakdowns, or have been crippled by war. Venezuela, currently the world’s worst economic collapse of this time, has seen an extraordinary surge in the value daily items due to its crippling inflation. A pack of popular brand condoms is more than USD$70 in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas. That value, in comparison to Venezuela’s current USD$4 per month minimum wage, gives brand name condoms an almost-golden value.Here are 23 survival uses for honey that you didn’t knowabout.
But they are not the only items that have become valuable for trade and barter in economic collapse environments. In this post we take a trip through time to find what items have been used as trade items instead of hyperinflated currencies, and what, at best, we can predict will be future household items that you should consider stocking, should times start to get tough again.
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Why do items become more valuable than money in tough times?
Currency resembles a nation’s economic health. In an economic collapse such as the Great Depression, or Venezuela’s economic collapse, the value of currency is damaged. Things become more expensive over time as import, trade and manufacturing sectors weaken. As time goes on, the price of things rise and daily household items become more expensive. When the price of things rise, and the dollar falls, we get inflation.
Inflation is happening to us right now, and for many economically healthy countries, there is still an inflation index. For instance, the 2018 inflation rate for the US is 2.38%. In a year a pack of chewing gum that costs $1 this year, will cost $1.02 next year. According to reports, Venezuela’s inflation rate is more than 4,000%. That means our $1 pack of chewing gum will be $41.
If you couple this, with a supply and trade industry that is ruined by economic collapse, dead markets, and widespread job loss, things start to have a lot of value. This is also interlinked with banks closing down, creditors taking their money out of businesses, and the supply of cash seemingly halting as there is no way to draw money out of that great savings account some people have. As the value of currency declines, but the demand for items that aren’t available as much as they used to be rises, trade and barter in those items starts to occur. For instance, that packet of condoms could buy your groceries for the week. Or a bottle of alcohol could represent a valued trade for a month’s supply of toilet paper.
What do you have with you right now?
For most preppers, looking at what they currently have is important. It is the basis of what we have and what we know right now, that prepares us for anything that might happen tomorrow, next week or next year. For most of us, if an economic collapse happened right now, we’d be in big trouble. A lot of us do the regular shopping every week for household supplies and food to eat, and most of our money, whether it be daily transactions or savings money, is in the bank.
So think about this: if a rapid economic collapse was to occur tomorrow, and banks and food stores were to close, would you have enough supplies to live? What daily things do you use that would you desperately should they run out?
For a lot of preppers, thinking about this circumstance warrants having enough prepper supplies to be well off in a circumstance like this. Most of you who are reading this would have already attempted some form of prepping, whether it be just enough to get you buy for a few weeks, or a whole year’s worth of survival supplies for you and your family.
No matter what size your prepper supply is, the duration of an economic collapse will determine whether you have to start considering trading and bartering for goods and essentials. That is the problem with a financial collapse, we can’t really predict how long they will last or determine their severity. All we can do is make sure that we are best prepared for the issues that they bring.
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A lot of what prepping is about is being self-sufficient, so that should something happen where supplies are cut off, you can still eat, drink, wash, cook, drive and live life. It differs from survival in that survival would be the things you do during an event itself. However as preppers, we act before something happens, so that we are ready for it, should it happen.
A lot of what prepping is, and the concept of barter and trade, is done between homesteaders, both in the past and this day and age. Homesteaders live in the country and are the prime example of people able to survive in a downturn as they are able to produce their own food, have their own water solutions, and have a trade system already developed between them and their neighbors.
As a homesteader, trade can be in the shape of helping out a neighbor with certain skills you might possess (carpentry and woodworking for instance), or it could be to trade fresh eggs from your chicken pen in exchange for fresh milk from someone’s cow. In an economic downturn, having skills and assets like this not only give you the ability to diversify your income, but also as a way to offer something to trade should you be short of supplies.
How to successfully barter and trade
Let’s say you have something someone needs. There is a big risk that comes with this in a post-collapse as there are people who no doubt feel they don’t have to abide by the rules that create a formal civilization (otherwise known as a world Without Rule Of Law, or WROL).
For the most part, I feel like bartering in a SHTF situation will only be amongst friends, neighbors and people in your circle. Unless there is a formal marketing in a popular street set up where you can run a stall, or barter for foods with your own goods, I don’t think there will be many barter or trade situations with strangers.
That’s good because if word got around that you have stockpiles of supplies lying around, you could be in a real risk of being the target of hungry, desperate scavengers, or just plain old greedy gangs or groups of people. This is the problem with being a prepper, it can be dangerous if you are the one with all of the food in a city or town of starving residents.
While this could be a likely risk in a worst-case collapse, the more realistic risks are those of getting ripped off by someone that is ultimately better at bartering than you are or coming across thieves. How can you avoid the risks of bartering in a post-collapse world? I think there are a couple of things, which might seem obvious to most, that you should ensure you do in any transaction where trade isn’t done with money and where sales are governed by laws of misrepresentation and fraud.
To avoid the risks associated with bartering, one of the most important things you can do is make sure it is in a public environment, or have others with you. Any thieves or just basic intimidators are likely to only try their tactics if there is no-one else around. Having that backup would just reinforce the fact that you are there to trade by a fair set of rules.
Second, know the value of the things you are trading for. If there is something you don’t know the value of, or to see if it is quality or not, take a specialist with you that knows about it. For instance, if you know nothing about motorbikes, you wouldn’t just buy a motorbike on your own without conducting a load of research or taking someone that knows what is right and what is not. The same applies to bartering, ensure you know the value of the things you are trading for. This is an important factor if you are considering trade as a way to survive in a SHTF situation, as the price of things will inevitably change, and you need to be up-to-date with those prices, otherwise, someone is going to buy things from you, and sell it elsewhere for twice the price.
When you are negotiating a trade, make sure you have an idea of what you are willing to pay and accept for yours and their items. Make sure you are clear on what it is you need by looking at your current supplies and making a list of what is necessary. No doubt any good trader will try to barter useless items they might say you need or will find useful, scrap them. You are trading for what you need, not what you enjoy.
If you are trading a service, or even just basic items, be clear on the terms of the trade, what you are trading for and the quantity of each item. Having a very clear set of terms is easy when trading items, but when you are doing a service or skill, such as fixing someone’s car, there are a lot of variables that can go wrong, such as if the car stops working a few days after you fix it, if new parts are needed who will pay for them, if it works, but not to your customer’s satisfaction what happens?
When it comes to agreements about services, there is an entire field of contractual disputes and laws. For the most part, having your own set of terms and being clear about them is the best way to be sure of an easy agreement, if it is available, one of the best things you can do is write down the terms, so that should any dispute occur once the agreement has commenced, you can refer to your contract in writing.
The difference between investment items and trade items
A lot of prepper blogs recommend investing in precious metals such as silver and gold. This is primarily because prepping is about investing. You invest time, invest research and invest in a supply that you hope will pay off for you and your family should a natural disaster, economic collapse or any other SHTF situation ever occur.
For precious metals, I don’t think there will be much worth for them during one of these situations. As a trade item, it bears no useable feature, unlike bullets, diapers, condoms, food and water, which are items that are traded as valued items in collapsed economies. But don’t get me wrong, gold is an important item for preppers. Why? Because while gold and silver is not very useful during a SHTF situation, it becomes very useful as society starts to rebuild itself. Seeing gold as an investment to sell is a much stronger and practical preparedness strategy that seeing it as a barter item during the event.
The reason why I use gold as an investment item rather than silver, is that out of the past eight significant biggest economic declines, six of them had significant increases in the value of gold, whereas the value of silver fell. The price of gold correlates with the value of currency. Gold benefits when there is an economic downturn. When stock markets fall, investors buy gold, in turn, driving the price up.
Trade items, however, are different to investment strategies such as gold, as they are survival items used during an event, as a means of exchange, and are a method of investment to ensure that you are able to trade efficiently, should an economic system crumble. There are, however, different investments you can make, rather than just in a stock of supplies.
As a way of bartering, you might be able to trade a service or skill you have, which might be in plumbing, electrical work, woodwork, or some other specific skill you have. Not only can this be done for food and supplies, but you can also trade that skill for cash-in-hand work, which gives the skill the benefit of being able to be used if you were to lose your job in an economic downturn.
So while you are preparing for rough days ahead and checking up on your prepper supply of non-perishables, water, and supplies, it might be worth stocking up on something can actually be free, which is to learn a new skill. There are a lot of valuable skills out there, from gardening, material work, animal husbandry skills, nursing skills, repairs or even defense. Whatever your hobbies might be at the moment could also become a formidable skill, should society change to the point where that skill comes in demand.
What are good bartering items to be used in a SHTF situation?
I have a lot of things in my prepper supply that would be very valuable should everyday supplies start to run out. But the issue is, do I want to part with them? Probably not, especially if they are something I need.
So it puts me in a hard place where I would have to balance need over the value of trade. But we can prepare for that circumstance by preparing a seperate section in our supplies for trade. This might be a small collection of things you use every day, which can be added upon as time goes on and you find new goods to add to the list.
There are a lot of preppers that keep an excess amount of everything, adequate to what they need, rather than stockpiling a separate pile of tradeable items. However, separating those supplies ensures that you don’t dip into your trade items should the SHTF, and that you can identify how much value you might have in your trader’s wallet, for the lack of a better term.
If you are just starting out in your collection of trade items, or you are looking to add to that supply, I have compiled a list below of 30 items that I have found have found will become valuable commodity items in economic collapse and SHTF environments, and why they would be useful. Many of these items have been used as trade and barter in historical post-collapse events for instance, during the Great Depression, in Venezuela’s economic collapse, or in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War.
30 Best Valuable Items For Trade
In an economic collapse or SHTF scenario
I have made this list based on research on what items have become valuable in past economic collapse and SHTF situations where supply lines shut off and resources become limited. I am sure that a lot of advanced preppers out there that have a good stockpile of food, water, and supplies will no doubt have many of these items in their stockpiles already. I also have many of these items not only in my own stockpile, but in a separate section designed to be a backup, to be used either as trade, or to help out others should they need it. I feel as though a ‘help others’ stockpile is a good way to make a community and build a team of people you can work with to regain existence as a self-sufficient community.
While these items have been seen as valued items in the past, or they are currently highly valued items in SHTF places in the world (such as Venezuela), I would not call this list definitive by any means. There are a lot of other items that have had, and will have equal value to these in a SHTF scenario. If you do know of any other items for trade and barter that you have identified, or you believe will become useful in a SHTF situation, please leave a comment below to inform the community.
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