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Barter Items

April 12, 2012 by  

One of the advantages of having a preparedness plan is the opportunity to stockpile items that can be used in a barter economy. I have written many times that, at least for a while following an economic collapse, a barter economy will develop.

That is why I recommend having a large quantity of pre-1964 silver coins. They will be recognized as “money” because they look like the coins we are familiar with, but will also retain value because of their silver content.

There are other barter items that would prove valuable, including: tools, cigarettes, liquor, salt, flour, sugar and ammunition. But this list is as endless as one’s imagination. So sit back and consider what things might quickly disappear, and stockpile a sufficient quantity for your own needs. Then collect more and set it aside to use as barter to replenish any supplies you may run short of.

And don’t forget that your skills and expertise can also be used for barter. Skills in construction, as a blacksmith, a machinist, in gardening, raising livestock and many others will be in short supply, particularly in city environments.

In the comments below, please list any items you believe will be valuable barter items in a disaster scenario. You might list something that others had not thought of that they can add to their stores.

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • Kevin

    I have plenty of the precious metals, gold silver and lead stocked up. Water and food are top on my list also. But one thing I think many people don’t think to store is propane. I use it all year long with my gas grill. I have 5 tanks that I rotate through, always having 4 full tanks and the one I’m currently using. When the power goes out and your electric range no longer works, a few tanks of propane might be all you have to boil water or cook your food.

  • Carol Sechriest

    how about toilet paper?

    • elda

      we have stock piled rags and bleach in case paper becomes hard to find.

    • Steven Narbonne

      Good idea or own several cats! LOL

  • D. Kline

    Maxi pads, pain killers (aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, Aleve), hand-operated can openers, matches or lighters, Clorox and other water purifiers.

  • bob

    Some of the items on my list are toliet paper,rice, dried beans,charcoal,generator,gas, oil,lighters,matches,and dated canned goods[rotate by date]. Still building my list, so always open to more suggestions.

  • dan

    …and gas still is worth the two-bits that it was in 1971…in 1963 silver.
    Beans ,bullets and silver….snare wire ,fishhooks and a zippo. Knives ,axes and saws.
    Handtools,nails , buckets. Salt,spices and sugar and flour and coffee….think old sourdough’s or prospectors.

  • Bobc

    How about voting this guy out of office,, then none of this is necessary!

    • Walt-2

      Ockham’s Razor confirms your statement sir.

  • Ma Kettle

    A simple portable stove can be cobbled by taking a candle fueled fondue set up ( I bought mine at a yard sale ). I buy generic sterno when on sale at Party City.
    the amount of heat is controlled by adjusting the lid.

    • Proud to be a Believer

      Make your own sterno cans. When I was a girl scout we made tin can stoves and buddy burners for our camping trips. The buddy burners which replace canned sterno. Use tuna fish cans, fill with cardboard twisted in a circle with the ribs up then pour candle wax into the container. For the tin can stove use a large can (I don’t recall the number, but the type that you get 3# of coffee in or restaurant (sp) size) turn can upside down and
      poke air holes around the top under the lip. Take tin snips and cut a small door on the bottom, this enables you to place the buddy burner inside. It is great to fry bacon and then using the grease for the eggs. Also to make a camp fire oven, use 3 shiney cookie sheets and place in a v with the one in the middle that will hold your cake pan. Put in front of the fire and wallaha you have biscuits, or cake, or whatever you have baked. Doesn’t work well though for meats, those are best wrapped in aluminum foil and put in the hot coals along with potatoes. Now I am getting hungry again!!!! Stock up on the aluminum foil also.

  • PioneerWife

    We had a similar discussion over at Here are the results.


    -Solar Pannels
    -Car Batteries
    -Small Batteries
    -Grain Processing Equiptment
    -Wood, Gas, and Solar Stoves
    -Lighters and Matches
    -Dental Floss
    -Shaving Razors
    -Nail Clippers
    -Flint & Steel
    -Water Filters
    -Toilet Paper
    -Guns and Ammunition
    -Shoe Goo and Other Shoe Repair Items
    -Precious Metals
    -Industrial Metals
    -Medical Supplies
    -Vitamins & Minerals
    -Waterproof Hiking Boots
    -Rechargable Batteries
    -Guitar Strings
    -Toothpaste (Fluoride Free)
    -Soldering Irons
    -Electrical Tape
    -Nuts, Bolts, Screws, and Nails
    -Oil Lamps
    -Old Coins
    -Cooking Oil
    -Electrical Generators
    -Chicken Eggs
    -Printer Ink
    -Canners, Canning Jars, and Lids
    -Water Heaters
    -Bicycle Tubes
    -Fishing Lines and Hooks
    -Hairbrushes and Combs
    -Watches (Preferably Wind-up)
    -Shoe String
    -Muscle Rub
    -Aspirin and Other Medicine
    -Backpacks, etc.
    -5/50 Parachord
    -Zip Ties
    -Cotton Balls
    -Stock Barrels
    -Knife Files and Whitstones
    -Canned Meat and Vegitables
    -Canned Dairies
    -Dried Beans
    -Feminine Hygene Items
    -Baggies, Plastic Rap, Tin Foil


    -Tool Maufacturing
    -Self Defense Training
    -Well Drilling
    -Fertilizer and Compost Production
    -Defense and Security
    -Ethanol Production
    -Farming and Gardening
    -Shoe Repair
    -Technology and Computers
    -Smithing, Forging, and Machining
    -Sewing, Knitting, and Stitching
    -Home Heating and Cooling (HVAC)
    -Toothpaste Production
    -Water Collection
    -Bullet Manufacturing
    -Electrical Production
    -Scout and Guide
    -Soap Production
    -Dentistry and Hygenics
    -Aquaponics Construction and Maintainance
    -Ink Proudction
    -Ink Cartridge Refilling

    You can view the discussion at:

    • Joe H

      Added to your list should be a cheap magnifying glass. good for removing splinters, good for starting fires when you are tired of striking your flint and out of matches. That’s right, I didn’t see a flint on your list, either. Life is gonna be miserable without some kind of heat.

  • OneDamnAngryAmerican

    Yup, a basic camp stove with butane will work. Try all of these things out, first. Also, silver can be used to purify water, as will bleech (chlorine). Look it up on the Internet to see how it is done. Also, old junk coins, as discussed here, have the following value (I know so, because I have been hoarding metal for years): This is an industry standard. $1.40 face value of old pre-64 silver coins are worth exactly one full ounce of silver. So, keep those halfs, quarters and dimes in little baggies of $1.40 each, and figure out how much each one is worth when you use them to barter with. (Also remember that the value of an ounce of silver changes, daily, so you will need to know what this value is, also, when determining the worth of your coins). The $1.40 face value will always be the standard. LOOK IT UP! Then, figure out what the value is of the item you are bartering for, so you don’t overpay for it! Also, the Mormon Church (sorry folks, but they are into this stuff) has a store in Idaho, somewhere, where you can purchasee bulk foods for families of 4, as aan example, for a year, etc., and other items you would need. they even have cook-book that tell you how to prepare meals and maake your own Bisquick and other baking needs. Do you know how to make your own breads, bisquits, etc.? Better learn now. I even grow my own sprouts! And use them in my salads. It only takes about a week, and if you buy sevenn sprouters, you will have sprouts for every day of the week (coming out of your ears!!) I think they are called Walden Farms, or something like that. Look it up on the Internet. Lots of good reading.

    • Jeanie Avery

      The name of the place is Walton Feed, in Montpelier, wich is in the SE portion of Idaho. It is not owned by the church, it is privately owned.
      They have a great range of products and good prices. I use them regularly.

  • OneDamnAngryAmerican

    TY for the clarification and the correction. I used to use them regularly, before I was diagnosed with leukemia, given to me by the US Army in the form of Agent Orange as a Gift from my grateful country for serving two combat tours in Vietnam. I have used them, and others, to stock my 3 b/r, 2ba, 1,000 sqfh on an acre of land I used to own in the central part of the state I used to call home. Pop. 125, give or take. No cops for over 200 miles and we all took care of each other. My little Jericho, except that all the other people who lived there were from calfornikatorville and did not even know how to check their dip-sticks. It was pathetic. Noboddy could figure out why/how a “guy” could exisst by himself in the middle of nowhere, without asking for help from anybody. After spending half a decade of the VA delaying, denying, and billing me for my healthcare, they finally discovered I had HCL leukemia, put me on 60 hours of chemo and told me to stay real close to doctors and “services.” So, here I am living in the big city with the most pathetic people on the planet. Guess where they are all from? AND, DON’T “THANK” ME FOR MY SERVICE. I came home fro VN as a 20 y/o Sgt. with 5 decorations (one for Valor) and all I want to be is left alone. When the time comes, I’ll do what I was trained, and tested and found true,…..I will dig in and take no prisoners. To the scum in DC — BITE ME!

    • Joe H

      From one VietNam vet to another, welcome home brother!!!

  • Tish

    These are some of the things that I think will be needed in a crisis: a water purification system, portable generator, propane stove, fondue pot with sterno (for burning), matches, stock up on
    toilet paper,handiwipes, plain soap (such as ivory that can be used
    for bathing, shampooing and brushing teeth). Lotions, rubbing alcohol, antibiotic cream, hydrogen peroxide and a good, basic first
    aid kit with instructions. Rice, dehydrated vegetables, non-hybrid
    seeds, a couple gallons of gas, bartering items such as precious
    metals, tobacco, alcohol and chocolate (candies). Old magazines and
    books for reading, good flashlights and batteries, blankets, tarps,
    aspirin, tylenol and over the counter paid medications. Powdered
    milk, rice and dry beans, canned goods, jerkey, vaseline, scissors
    and sewing kit. Having a good survival manual is a blessing too.

  • Carole

    Don’t forget to stock up on oil lamps and extra wicks! Vinegar is also good for cleaning and disinfecting. Buy some Jack Daniels, coffee and cigarettes to use for bartering. Jack Daniels can be used medicinally if needed.

  • Heather

    Compass in case you have to walk somewhere, binoculars, vitamins, cotton balls (to start fires), duct tape, Mini pry bar, crank light/radio, camping cooking equipment.

  • elda

    I have been going to thrift stores and buying very good clothing for about $2 a piece. Shoes in every size and lots of coats and blankets. I have kids so we use some not but do not get rid of anything still in good shape. No one seems to think things will be bad long enough to have to buy clothing for growing kids. We have also converted out carport to a green house and grow hydroponically using droppings from all our farm animals to grow greens, strawberries and some tomatoes. We dry most of what we grow all year round.

  • elda

    Many families around me and ours have gotten CB radios and setting them up to run off solar power.

    • Joe H

      If you want to depend on those radios in all instances, better build a cheap faraday cage. If we have and EMP those radios will be electronic junk without it!

  • FreedomFighter

    Aluminum Foil

    Plastic baggies all sizes, boil in bags…

  • be prepared but be not afraid

    Instead of donating some of the clothing you don’t wear any longer, keep some in storage. Can be traded OR used as fabric to make quilts and then traded. Quilts will be a necessity again, no longer an art, so quilters should have a good stash including batting and thread.

  • Renee

    Here is a website that has a great list.

  • Deb Stanley

    Baking soda, yeast, temporary tooth filling, Orajel, ham radio (cb airwaves are gov. controlled), pressure cooker for canning meats and fish. Cast iron fry pans and dutch oven for cooking over open flames.

  • OneDamnAngryAmerican

    50 gallon drums for gasoline, diesel, water, etc. Learn to hunt! Super glue (Gorilla Brand is liquid in large bottles for your 1st aid kit. Dip a q-tip in it, aand smear it over a laceration or abrasion, it acts as scab and will not sting or hurt you (surgeons use it and charge you $100 a drop for it), eat your storage food now, and replensish with new, rotating your sstock (same with everything else you have), little solar panels that can be used for car battery “tricklers,” tire inflaters for $20 bucks at Sears, learn to repair your own vehicles, but ones that are easy to repair and that you can crawl under, move to a town where other like-minded people live and run for city office, don’t hire outsiders/illegals foranything! Start yourown business that have “local” discounts and exclude highway-trash (tourists) from all town activities, sign up for home schooling with your county’s ssch to learn how to do it, then when the time comes, pull your self and family out of the state programs, AFTER you’ve learned how to do it, live somewhere where county officials won’t/don’t have the money to “come nd visit” to see what you are up to. Join/start a “clan” in your own communities that are social clubs now, that will turn iinto communial living groups when the time comes, live/work/exist under the radar, buy once or twice a year from places like Costco in $1,500.00 purchases in bulk, and then split up and store with members of your group, screw wasting your money on toilet paper or other paper goodss, cheap terry cloths can be had at Wal~Mart, to be used for everything, as it can be washed and cleaned, learn how to make your own soaps, look into DC lights and applianves, as well as propane appliances, wind/hydro/solaar all do the ssame things, they charge batteries that can have invertors to convert DC to AC, learn to do all repairs by yourself. Learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones and bone up on your state’s self-defense laws, take CCW/Hunter Safety classes, just for the knowledge and experience factor. I can go on and on. If you own a truck, have six tires on it, 4 on the wheels an two in the bed on full rims. Rotate all six tires when needed. Learn how to use spoons and a ($39.95) static tire balancer to fix your own tires, BY HAND. Put your kids into Scouting programs and kick out of the program those parents who sign-off badge requirements that their kids did not do. Accept the fact, when the time comes, that your country has been invaded (1/3 of the population of Mexico alread already lives here. Conduct fire drills with your family, and practice climbing dowwn fire ladders, learn where to meet if a fire or emergency exists, ALWAYS STAY UNDER THE RADAR WITH ALL THAT YOU DO! Remind your children that you have laded guns in the house aand that you are aa “family” and if they tell their friends (even under the penalty of “cros you heart and hope to die) your friends and their families will come to “kill” your family to get what you have. Teach your kids responaible gun ownership. Teaach them to shoot at 5-7 and to hunt by 11. Have them clean out their “harvest” and teach all of them how to cook. Buy any kind of sewing machine, electric or not, because aall aa sewing machine does, is sew in a straight line and is a time saver to make repairs. Look at your town’s phone book that lists all of it’s depaartments and enssure that your group has people that can perform these tasks, so you can have your own town when th time comes, with people who now what needs to be done. Find all kinds of medical people who are like minded and willing to work on the barter system and live with “your town” when time comes. Learn all DIY skills needed to survive. Home Depot has free/little cost carpentry classes and you local Red Cross has all kinds of classes from how to be a baby-sitter all the way up to EMT/Para Medics. Take every free class you can and learn about everything, even your local Sherrif’s “Be an Auxilirist” or “Reserve” cop “Know your local police and what they do” classes. Have everydoy learn at least 5 unrelated “occupations” that can and will ve needed when the poop hits the fan. Saying, “Tht’s my job, I’ll just sstay home and lt somebody ele ddi it!” won’t cut the mustard. Prepare now for anything and everything, even if its just having a “bug-out” bag for each family member in the front closet, so you can grab-and-run to grandma’s house when the time comes, etc., and etc.

    • Joe H

      you just reminded me of something I saw on preppers the other night. The guy had installed a safe room under his garage under cover of night and got rid of the dirt by hand. He stated that “nobody knows it’s there.” HE WAS JUST ON TV SHOWING THE WHOLE THING!!! Everybody in his neighborhood knows its there now!! They know he has all the stores he has saved, they know he has the safe room, they also know he has a sail boat stocked and waiting less than 15 miles away!!! What an idiot!!!

      • Renee

        I know just what you mean. I saw that episode as well and personally, I don’t see how these people would want to go on t.v. I can understand them wanting to share with others about getting ready but to show off what they’ve worked so hard for. It will be gone in a minute. The boat is probably already gone now that this show has aired. Best of luck to them and all those others that have given away all their stuff via t.v.
        BTW- thanks to all those that have given great advice. God bless you all as you prepare!

  • TheRightIsRight

    Lots of good info here but I don’t see anyone mentioning Ammo and extra Ammo for bartering, if needed.

  • Dave

    How about having someone to face it all with, instead of having to face it alone. :(

  • s c

    Add reading material (books, magazines, etc.) to your list(s). A bored mind can be hard to endure.

  • Bob

    WATER! If you have a well, buy a hand pump! The old style pitcher pumps are good to 30′ . If you have a deep well sells hand well pumps good down to 200′ You can have all the food and other items listed here but with out the water your DEAD!

    Also you should be able to purifly water, bleach is fine about 8 -10 drops per gal of water. The problem with bleach is it loses it’s strength very quickly, it has a good usable shelf life of about one year. Look into Calcium Hypochlorite granulars. (PPG Induclor Granulars)
    a 10lb. pail will last you a life time. Look on youtube for videos to show you how to mix it, very simple. Instructions are also on the Induclor container it’s NSF 60 certified for potable water use. VERY IMPORTANT you can’t just buy any Calcium Hypochlorite (pool Shock) it must be for potable use/NSF 60 Cert. or it will KILL YOU!! Stick to PPG, Induclor Granulars.

    Good luck and GOD bless us all!

  • Janet

    Stockpiling precious metals is fine but how many of us can tell 24K gold vs. 10K gold? Ever buy “silver” down in Mexico? It turns green. You can show me a pre-1964 silver quarter but odds are I won’t believe you if the SHTF. I won’t be trusting anyone. I think actual barter items that people will use are what you need to stockpile. You all have listed many items on this page. Go with what you have room for and what is most valuable for your area. As for bartering talents…hunting, medical, cooking (you’d be surprised how many people can’t cook without a microwave or electric stove), mechanical, engineering (all types), gardening, animal husbandry, etc.

  • s c

    Also, be sure to include older pennies (generally, no later than 1981). Someone will always be looking for an easy source of copper. Does anybody have what amounts to a master list of barter items?

  • loriwy

    You can also pick up antibotics from your local feed stores. Meant for animals but could be used for humans.


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