Thursday, April 26, 2012

30 Bartering Items You Can Afford

By , April 15, 2012

If you’re moderately familiar with prepping in general you’ve probably heard more than once the need to stock up on alcohol, cigarettes, gold and silver for bartering purposes. While these items are definitely some of the best bartering opportunities, they are also very expensive.

On top of that I’m not sure that having shelves of booze when your morale may be in jeopardy is a good idea. Then add in the fact that I’m a ‘Mormon’ and the idea of stocking up on liquor and smokes just doesn’t work for me.

All in all if you have the funds – go for it. Buy all the gold and silver coins you can get your hands on and make your basement look like a wine cellar. But if you’re like me, and the majority of Americans today, consider stocking up on some less expensive bartering opportunities:
  1.  Toilet Paper
  2. Chap Stick
  3. Eye Drops
  4. Matches
  5. Bleach
  6. Bandages
  7. Warm Clothing (Purchase used coats for bartering at your local D.I., Goodwill or other thrift store. At D.I. you’ll find tons of coats and other clothing for under $5)
  8. Tape
  9. Water
  10. Sugar
  11. Flour
  12. Feminine Supplies
  13. Condoms (People get bored without electricity…)
  14. Flu/Cold Medication
  15. Lotion
  16. Soap
  17. Ziploc or Garbage Bags
  18. Seeds
  19. Sunscreen
  20. Fever/Inflammation Reducer
  21. Pain Relievers
  22. Pens
  23. Ramen Noodles (I have my family’s food storage, then a 10 foot tall stack of Ramen Noodles to trade with others.)
  24. Neosporin
  25. Toothpaste
  26. Water Purification Tablets
  27. Milk Powder (A large percentage of people consume dairy on a daily basis. One can of my favorite powdered milk cost me $20 and makes 20 Quarts. This means I could trade a whole quart of milk and it’d only have cost me a dollar. That’s magnificent bartering value.)
  28. Rope
  29. Plastic Wrap
  30. Sanitizer
Now keep in mind that this is my top bartering items list for those of us on a budget. There are obviously some other great items you can trade that are on the more costly side. Things like fuel, bullets and batteries.
The easiest way to come up with cheap trades is to think of scenarios throughout the day in which you feel discomfort and you use something small/cheap to remedy the situation.

Chap Stick for example: If you have chronic chapped lips like myself you understand the annoyance chapped lips can bring. But if left without remedy that little annoyance can turn into injury, bringing problems like cold sores, bleeding cracked lips and so on. We often take for granted the small things that keep us from needing bigger interventions.

What other cheap items do you have stashed for bartering purposes?

Share your ideas and opinions in the comments section below.


  1. Insect repellant, vitamins, alcohol(isopropyl and libation forms), peroxide, witch hazel, lemon juice, baking soda, vinegar, shoes, gloves, hats

  2. we also stocked a few extra of the Dollar store reading glasses and magnifying glasses as we both wear corrective lens now and if the SHTF you bet we likely won't be seeing an eye doctor anytime soon nor would anyone else but you are going to want to be able to see, baby diapers (look on Craig's List) sometimes folks will give them away when their children get potty trained and also female products (pads also make great dressings)

  3. I was thinking instant coffee (caffeinated of course). A few days without a fix and coffee drinkers might trade anything for a hot cuppa.

    1. lol, Thats my favorite one! I'd be one of those people, can I get mine with half and half please...

    2. Coffee is good to have on hand for asthmatics (inhaling the steam from real coffee can stop an asthma attack in its tracks, if caught early enough!) & migraine sufferers, too! Very valuable stuff!

    3. Must have my daily coffee & I do have migraines...So I will stockpile on coffee...thank you! :)

  4. Sewing Stuff- needles, thread, safety pins, buttons, etc, plus unbleached muslin or other 100% cotton fabric (useful for clothing, as well as in the kitchen)
    Bars of Castille Soap (useful for body & clothes washing)
    Fishing supplies- hooks, lures, line & weights
    Cotton balls (TONS of uses)
    Canning jar lids & bands
    Cough drops
    Vodka (can be turned into all sorts of medically useful concoctions)
    Duct tape & WD-40
    Spray bottles
    Clothes pins
    Hair elastics
    Twine/rope (baling twine/sisal, para-cord & clothesline)
    Veggie seeds (will keep in the freezer for years)
    Small flash lights
    Tin foil
    Baking soda
    Yeast (stores indefinitley in the freezer)
    Single serving sizes or small packages of 'comfort foods' like hot cocoa, popcorn, and mac & cheese, as well as pre-packaged 'road food' such as MRE's and breakfast bars & those little packets of mix-ins for water (Emergen-C, etc)...

    My approach to it is that I looked at all of the things we use on an every day basis, that have multiple uses, and that might be hard to obtain in a 'scenario', and the things that we would need to replace stuff that is now readily available, but probably wouldn't be in such a scenario. Those are the things that I'm focusing on getting a decent reserve of, both for my group and for barter. A few of the items listed above don't fit into the 'multiple uses' category, but they're things that definitely make life easier.

    For the more expensive stuff, I keep an eye on Freecycle & at yard sales, also looking for tools (hammers, screwdrivers, files, punches, etc), screening, buckets/tubs and other potentially useful stuff.

  5. Salt....and lots of preserves is a must!

  6. Don't forget preserves meat....its a must!!!


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