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We all know that having sought after barter goods will give us leverage to stay supplied after the stores are locked tight. At the same time, most can’t store a warehouse full of “what ifs”. And without a crystal ball to know exactly what may be needed outside obvious critical goods, it’s inevitable that we will be left short-handed during a long term crisis.
A dilemma most Prepper’s face when it comes to barter goods is finding the room to store them and the money to buy them. Luckily, it’s an enigma that has an answer and it starts with squeezing out every bit of value from loose change.
Today’s post focuses on bartering goods, but it differs from most in that each of the 50 items listed below cost from $1.00 to $10.00 and most of these goods won’t hog valuable storage space.
Most of the items on the list can be found at Dollar Stores, yet each item will be difficult to live without.
Check and see what you can do with the coins rolling around in your piggy bank, and please add items that didn’t make it on the list in comments. We’re all in the same boat. . . the more ideas for affordable barter goods, the better!
1. Salt has built empires and has also torn them apart. In America the British intercepted salt shipments to cripple the settlers ability to preserve wild game. Salt is cheap when bought in 50 pound bags. Check Costco, Sam’s Club and restaurant suppliers for bulk prices.
2. Basic spices like Pepper, Garlic Powder, Oregano, Rosemary, Bay Leaf, Cinnamon, Allspice and Nutmeg will be highly barterable, and when bought in bulk, they are affordable as well. Check with larger grocery stores. They often sell in bulk.
3. Vanilla Extract is a staple most would want to be without. During a crisis, imitation vanilla extract will suffice. Maple Extract is another item that I’ve included with bartering goods because with water, sugar and maple extract, it’s easy to make maple syrup, which will make it a popular staple during a long-term crisis.
4. Sugar goes on sale this time of year and will be in huge demand. A benefit of sugar is its indefinite shelf life.
5. Flour will be more sought after than wheat because few households will have a grain mill to grind it. Flour always goes on sale during the holidays, and it is often cheaper to buy five pound bags than bulk while sale prices last, so do the math before buying.
6. Sewing Needles will become a staple when clothing must be mended or altered. Larger upholstery needles will also be needed to mend upholstered furniture.
7. Along those same lines, spools of thread will carry bartering power, as will heavier upholstery thread.
8. Heavier gauge needles (hand needles), waxed thread, needle nose pliers and soles for shoe repair will be needed by almost everyone. If you’ve been looking for a bartering business that doesn’t cost a bundle in start-up costs, shoe repair is a good option.
9. Notions like Straight Pins, Safety Pins, Buttons, Elastic, Scissors, Zippers and Velcro are going to be needed and they are cheap enough to put a good store aside for bartering.
10. Sand Bags will be in demand for home protection, insulation, flood protection, for gathering wild foods, and any number of things. Uline has them on sale for .39₡ each per 100 bundle.
11. Dollar Store reading glasses are my favorite bartering items. They take up minimal storage space, they are dirt cheap, and people who need glasses will be more than willing to barter for them. I select different strengths and keep a large basket full of them. Here’s another viable start up business that doesn’t require hardly any cash outlay. An eyeglass repair kit and various size screws is all you’ll need for a viable eyeglass repair business. Check out WikiHow How To Repair Eyeglasses.
12. Candles are must-haves during grid down. Candle making is another business idea that won’t require heavy up-front costs. A couple of old pots, a candy thermometer, a 10 lb. weight scale, wax, wicks and candle forms is all you will need to kick-start a candle making business. As Mary mentioned last week and others have mentioned before, To get more bang for your buck, stock up on beeswax and cotton wicks. Beeswax smoke is cleaner and has several other benefits over petroleum based wax.
13. Oil Lamps, Replacement Wicks and Chimneys and Lamp Oil offer great bartering leverage. As mentioned in last week’s post, the cheapest prices I’ve found is at Walmart–in store purchase.
14. Solar Lighting is something we should all have put aside, and it will be in huge demand during grid down.
15. Batteries are must-haves that few households store in the amount that will be needed during a protracted crisis. For bartering purposes, regular alkaline batteries will likely be the most sought after, as most households won’t be set up to charge batteries. Rechargeable batteries benefit more from being stored in a refrigerator than do alkaline batteries. If kept refrigerated, they should be stored in zip-lock bags to keep them away from moisture. Batteries go on sale during the holidays.
16. Bleach will always be a staple in good times and bad, and it’s available at dollar stores, so the cost is certainly reasonable. (You may also want to check pool supply stores for chlorine tablets)
17. Tin foil, plastic wrap, zip-lock bags and garbage bags are staples people are going to need and they will have strong bartering potential. Check the Dollar Stores. (David’s note: test out “off” brands before buying in bulk. We ONLY stock up on ziplock freezer bags.
18. Scotch Pads and Brillo pads are kitchen staples that are inexpensive and won’t take up storage space. Buying them in bulk packages will save money.
19. Clothes line and clothespins are cheap necessities that will be needed by everyone in grid down and it’s doubtful that most households will have them, which makes them highly barter able.
20. Dish Soap and Laundry Soap will be needed, and they’re definite barter candidates. If you put Fels-Naptha Bar Soap, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda and Borax and a couple of 5-gallon buckets aside, you will have the ingredients for The Duggar Family Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap recipe. The recipe makes 10 gallons, which could turn into a thriving bartering business.
21. Matches and Lighters will be in HUGE demand. The problem is, they’ll be difficult to part with. If you decide to use them for barter, better get plenty!
22. Rope will be needed for everything under the sun, and it’s cheap.
23. Tarps are another item that will become a must-have, plus they’re inexpensive and easy to store.
24. Fishing hooks, bobbins, lures, fishing line and trout line won’t take up storage space, and they’ll be in big demand.
25. The compass will make a comeback in grid down. Even inexpensive $10.00 compass’ will offer bartering leverage.
26. Can openers are something most never give a second thought, but they are a staple we should have several of and they’ll carry bartering power, even for the less expensive models.
27. Cloth diapers, rubber pants and diaper pins will replace disposable diapers in a crisis and families are going to need plenty of them.
28. Toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss are must-haves no one will want to be without and they can be purchased at Dollar Stores.
29. Nail Clippers and Tweezers are extremely cheap and they will be needed.
30. Feminine Products will be in huge demand for bartering. (David’s note: the knowledge of how to make comfortable, effective, reusable feminine products will be even more valuable.)
31. Shampoo is another item people won’t want to do without. Check Dollar Stores and Walmart that sell Suave Shampoo for around $1.00 a bottle. (David’s note: Keep in mind that in a true long term disaster, you can trade off all of your shampoo to people who don’t know any better and simply use wood ash to clean your hair…it’ll be just as clean, and probably healthier.)
32. Body Soap, either bar or liquid, are cheapest when bought in bulk. Less expensive brands like Irish Spring will still carry plenty of bartering clout.
33. Suture kits will offer great bartering leverage that the average family will not have on hand. Shop Med Vet has unbeatable prices on suture kits and many other medical supplies.
34. Pain relievers like Tylenol, Advil and Aspirin will be in huge demand.
35. Antacid is another item that many depend upon and they’ll be great for barter.
36 Antibacterial Ointment like Neosporin can be lifesavers when medical care isn’t available.
37. Band-aides are cheap and as with all medical supplies, they’ll be in huge demand.
38. Ace Bandages are cheap at Shop Med Vet and can be purchased in gross.
39. Playing Cards will be popular for down time when other forms of entertainment isn’t available. Davids Urban Survival Playing Cards is a step ahead because they also provide critical survival tips at a time when we will need them the most.
40. Board Games of any kind will be something families will seek to fill down time at the end of the day. During Christmas they go on sale.
41. Paperback Books that are gently used can be found for .10₡ to .25₡ at thrift stores and garage sales and they will be extremely popular barter items.
42. Printer Paper will be needed for childrens projects and writing and it’s cheap. Office supply stores have sales on full boxes of printer paper for half-off occasionally, so it pays to shop around.
43. Notepads can be purchased for .50₡ each during back to school sales, but check around–you can sometimes find them at Christmastime.
44. Pens, Pencils, Crayons, and Colored Pencils are popular stocking stuffers, so now is a good time to stock up on these must-have bartering items.
45. Nails, Screws, Bolts and Washers in assorted sizes are going to be needed and will be highly barterable.
45. Shovels (both regular and folding) aren’t all that expensive and they will be in huge demand.
46. Work Gloves and Garden Gloves will be needed as everyone work load increases. They also have the benefit of being inexpensive, especially when purchased at the big-box hardware stores like Lowes and Home Depot, plus they don’t take up a lot of storage space.
47. A Large Roll of Heavy Mill Plastic can be bartered by the yard, and people are going to need it. Window panes will break, and there will be many other uses for heavy plastic.
48. 2 X 4’s will be needed for repairs and construction projects, of which there will be many.
49. Basic Garden Tools will be sought after. Just the basics like a Hoe, Rake, Garden Fork and Hand Fork are inexpensive tools that will be highly barterable.
50. Garden Seed may mean the difference between nutritious food and hunger during a protracted crisis. Check out Territorial Seed Company, and for those who live in a cold climate, consider purchasing individual seed, rather than a combined seed package where certain seed may not thrive in a shorter growing season.
(David’s note: As I’ve stressed before, stocking up on stuff for barter is fine, but stocking up on barterable skills is even better. Psychology, counseling, soap making, hunting, animal husbandry, firemaking, gardening, hunting, trapping, and dozens of other skills will all be worth more than “stuff” because knowledge and skill never run out. Read more about 20 top skills for post-disaster bartering by going >HERE<
Do you have an item in mind that didn’t make the top 50 list? Please sound off with your comments below!
God bless and stay safe,
David Morris and Survival Diva