How To Barter When Money Fails In A Post-Collapse Society

how to barter

There’s little doubt that, once the dust settles, the post-collapse life is going to be tough. Most of the conveniences we take for granted today will be hard to acquire, regardless of whether or not money will still be worth anything. People who want them will say and do anything, people who sell them will come up with all sorts of strategies and you need to be prepared because, no matter how prepped you are, it’s still likely you’ll end up in desperate positions. That is why it is important to know how to barter.

how to barter
Without currency to set value, how will you get the things you need? Image via epSos .de on flickr.

In what follows I want to give you a few solid bartering and negotiation tactics and techniques that will help you get food, water or medicine when you’ll need them most. However, if you truly want them to work for you, you have to practice them. Reading them just isn’t enough, that’s why included a special section at the end where I suggest how you can do that.

Top 10 Barter Items To Stockpile

ItemWhy It's Great For Bartering
1. Bandages
First aid items are very valuable, especially care for larger wounds since they will require more dressing and frequent changes.
2. Batteries
AA and AAA are popular sizes for flashlights, headlamps, radios, and numerous other electronics. Batteries inevitably run out so these are a surefire need after SHTF.
3. MREs
Food. Need we say more? Keep in mind that someone desparate for food is very vulnerable and use caution when negotiating a deal.
4. Duct Tape
Infinite survival uses, including splinting a broken bone, repairing a tent, fletching an arrow, and marking a trail. An entire roll of duct tape should yield a high value in a trade.
5. Zip Ties
Versatile and strong, zip ties are great for hanging gear, securing shelter, fixing clothes and shoes, and more. It's easy to carry a large number of them and separate into smaller bundles to trade.
6. Fish Antibiotics
Fish antibiotics can be purchased OTC and contain the same ingredients as human antibiotics. For more information on types and dosages, check out Fish Antibiotics For Humans: A Safe Option For Your Survival Kit?
7. Condoms
In addition to contraception, condoms have many survival uses such as carrying water (up to 2 gallons!), waterproofing gear, even a slingshot for hunting small game. They are also lightweight and easy to carry.
8. Water Purification Tablets
Since each tablet treats 16 oz of water, one bottle contains many bartering opportunities. Or trade the whole bottle for a larger item you need.
9. Waterproof Matches
Fire is essential to survival so waterproof matches can be a great bartering tool. You can also carry extra capsule lighters, such as the Everstryke Pro to add long-term value to your trade.
10. Button Compasses
Small and inexpensive yet very useful, especially in the absence of GPS or cell phone navigation. They can be used to find the way back to camp, locate family and friends, or to migrate to a new area.
Click the images to view on Amazon.

How To Barter After Disaster

how to barter
Trade wisely to conserve your resources and obtain the things you need.

Forget About Meeting The Other Person In The Middle

For some reason, many negotiations end before they begin. One of the parties gives a number, the other gives another and they both know they’ll agree to the sum of their offers divided by 2.

how to barter
Don’t settle for less than your fair share.

You can do better than that. The reason this happens is because they’re not taking into consideration other factors such as how bad one party needs what the other has to offer. Another thing you can do is find out as much as you can about your opponent beforehand.

The more you know about them and their situation, the more leverage you’ll have. And if you can’t find out much about them, it’s best to avoid doing any kind of post-SHTF deals. Those could be dangerous, anyway.

Start With A Lowball Offer

If you can do this and your opponent doesn’t turn around and leave, you just saved yourself a lot of money (or whatever you are using for currency). Starting really low means that the other party will eventually have to settle for a much lower price than if you’d started with something more reasonable.

Don’t Be Afraid To Walk Away From A Deal

Everything is a number’s game. Just because you need what the other person has to offer, this doesn’t mean you have to take it. You might find 5 or 10 other guys out there that will gladly take your deal and give you what you need, you just need to have the guts to end the negotiations and look for them.

how to barter
Convenience is tempting but don’t be afraid to shop around for a better trade.

Most people don’t see it this way, though. They might say:

What? You mean I have to go through the pain of finding someone else, especially since I have this guy right here who can give me what I need?

Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. The reason you don’t want to do it is because it’s painful to think you have to spend more energy to find other people. But that’s the thing. If you can train yourself to do it regularly, if you allow yourself to play the numbers’ game, walking away from bad deals will become second nature.

how to barter
It can be hard to walk away but your opponent is counting on that fact. Maintain the upper hand and avoid bad deals. Image via DieselDemon on flickr.

Throw In A Bonus

People love things they can get for free. If you feel you’re close to closing a deal but still not happy with it, how about giving away a small bonus? Maybe something from your get home bag that you already have plenty of at home. You never know what the other person needs besides your money or bartering items, this is why due diligence and talking to them are a must.

how to barter
If your opponent looks hesitant, try sweetening the deal with a bonus item. Image via Ino_Paap on flickr.

Say “No” To Lowball Offers

We talked about giving really low offers but what if someone does that to you? This puts you in a weak position so the best way to counteract it is to simply say:

No, this isn’t an offer I might consider. If you can come back with a more decent offer, I’m open to negotiation.

If they like it, fine. They’ll give you a more reasonable first offer. If they don’t, like I said, there’re plenty of other guys who might be interested in the deal.

The More You Tell, The More You Sell

What I’m trying to say is, the more arguments you bring in your favor, the better you can justify the price. Particularly in the absence of money (read: bartering), it’ll be hard to put value on things. This is why thinking and then stating every possible reason that works in your favor will bring you one step closer to what you want, how you want it.

how to barter
Be creative in how you talk up your item by explaining all of its uses and features in detail. Image via US Army Africa on flickr.

Make Small Concessions

If you started with a really low offer, there’s no better way to seal a deal than to give your opponent more than his new expectations. Of course, you shouldn’t do that if you think you can get a better deal but if you really want to wrap things up, making a small concession might bring the negotiations to a quick and happy ending.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Like any other survival skill, you shouldn’t wait for the end of the world to put into practice bartering and negotiations. You need to do it beforehand because when you’re desperate for food or water, your emotions will get in the way.

Some of ways to practice bartering and negotiations, include:

  • simulations with your family,
  • playing poker (it allows you to read people and develops your greed),
  • going to a flea market (you’ll find plenty of cheap things that you may need for your stockpile),
  • start a business (and negotiate every little thing with your supplies and partners)
  • …and, provided that you have something to offer that you yourself produce (honey, veggies etc.), try bartering them for other things.
how to barter
Going into a deal with confidence takes practice. Learn it now in the comfort of a flea market without the pressure of survival on the line!

Conclusion

Just keep in mind that everything in this world is negotiable, you just need to have the right mindset. Understand the value of your own items and give a detailed explanation when trading. Know how to barter for the things you need and don’t be afraid to walk away from a bad deal. Teach it to your kids too, studies show that the sooner, the better.

Your Thoughts

Can you remember a time when you successfully negotiated or bartered and got a good deal? Use the Comment section below to share your story, thanks!

One comment on “How To Barter When Money Fails In A Post-Collapse Society

  1. If you stockpile I.E. Ammo, carry small amounts with you in a collapse of society this can be better than gold and worth more than most items being bartered for. Be prudish but be careful and weary don’t’ show too much. Just a few rounds can sway a deal. If you can make sure you have someone with you to watch and if needed help you back out.

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