Barter - The Forgotten Skill
April 4, 2013
Since the dawn of civilization, barter has been a useful means for people to attain items essential for survival. As societies grew, people found that a universal medium of exchange was more practical, and thus money was invented. Money has taken various forms, from clam shells to beads and tally sticks. More recently, governments, in collusion with banks, have developed fiat currencies--that is, currencies that derive their value through fiat, or decree. Greed and corruption have inevitably led us to the logical conclusion of all fiat currencies throughout history: inflation and loss of confidence in our money.
When, not if, the modern world-wide monetary system collapses, and during ever more frequent natural disasters, critical supplies can be very scarce. In order to survive such times, it will be necessary to rely on the ancient art of barter to get the items you need to survive.
We have a few bartering tips to share with you and we hope you'll add some of your tips to the conversation by commenting below.
If you've never bartered before, now is a good time to give it a try. Barter will be an important skill to have during a disaster and learning it now, when you don't need it, will give you an advantage when you do. Here are some simple steps to get you started:
1. Determine your needs. What things to you need and what things do you want?
2. Determine what you have to offer. Do you have special skills that are in demand? What items do you have around the house that are still useful to others but not needed by you? Do you have a surplus of anything?
3. Identify potential trading partners. Do you know anyone who has the things or skills you need?
4. Suggest a trade with a potential trading partner. You should always approach potential partners with an idea of what you want and what you want to give. Never start off without an idea of what you need and want.
Probably the best thing you can do before a disaster is to get prepared for a barter economy. You can do so by stocking up on items that will have universal appeal during a crisis. Food is really a no-brainer. Everyone needs food to survive so having more than enough for your own personal needs during a disaster, will give you a bargaining tool more valuable than gold. You could also stock up on other essential items such as water purification, ammunition, medical supplies, aspirin, etc.
If you're bartering for a service, be sure to set a time frame and put it in writing. You don't want to give away your precious supplies and then wait forever for the services you need.
Triangle bartering can also be a great way of getting the supplies and services you need. Always consider a three-way trade if the opportunity presents itself. You can give a loaf of bread to your neighbor, he can do a carpentry job for a third party and that person can give you a box of ammunition.
If you don't know anyone who has the things you need, try a barter ad on websites such as Craigslist. It's a great way to get started and you'll be amazed at what you can get in trade for the stuff in your garage or attic that you no longer need.
We hope to hear about your personal bartering experience and advice, so please leave a comment.