Barter, Money, and Gold

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DrHenley

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When deciding what things to use as a money substitute in the SHTF, there are some things you need to think about.

Current Cost
Current Supply
Future Supply
Future Demand
Storage requirements
Transportablility
Shelf life
Fungibility
Current Legality
Future Legality

Let's start with air:
Current Cost: free
Current Supply: unlimited
Future Supply: either unlimited, or in the case of airborne contamination, very limited.
Future Demand: everyone will need it to live
Storage requirements: Immense storage requirements.
Transportability: Due to the bulkiness, it is impractical to transport air in any meaningful quantity.
Shelf life: unlimited
Fungibility: depends on level of pollution - your clean air is worth the same is my clean air
Current legality: Legal
Future legality: Will be legal (we hope!)

Air is a poor substitute for money. Even though it is free, everyone needs it, and it is durable and fungible, and perfectly legal to own, storing it is impractical unless you own a gigantic cavern. Plus, it will in all likelihood be readily available in the SHTF anyhow so nobody will want to trade air in exchange for food. That's why it not on anybody's list of preps.

Water: This one is on everyone's prep list.
Current Cost: very cheap
Current Supply: Unless you live in Southern California, or other drought stricken area, there is currently ample supply.
Future Supply: We all have the feeling that purified water will be in short supply in the SHTF.
Future Demand: every single person on earth will need it.
Storage requirements: Large storage requirements just to store personal supplies. To store enough to use for trade requires either a very large tank or a reservoir.
Transportability: Small trades are possible with water in bottles, but a tanker truck is needed to transport enough to use in large trades.
Shelf life: If uncontaminated it has an indefinite shelf life.
Fungibility: Depends on the purity. Potable spring water is more valuable than lake water.
Current Legality: Perfectly legal to own (Unless you live in California :D)
Future Legality: There will probably be attempts to restrict hoarding in a shortage.

Water has a definite value as a substitute for money, but it is limited primarily by its bulkiness. Carrying enough water for yourself is difficult enough, but carrying enough water to use as a money substitute will be very difficult.

Salt:
Current Cost: Cheap
Current Supply: Ample supply
Future Supply: Varies by location. Locations near the ocean will have plenty, locations far inland may have limited supply.
Future Demand: Will be needed by everyone in some form.
Storage requirements: Fairly large storage requirements.
Transportablility: Depends on how valuable it will be. Currently it's impractical to carry enough salt to be worth much in trade, but easy to carry enough for personal requirements.
Shelf life: If kept dry, indefinite shelf life.
Fungibility: Salt is salt. Unless contaminated it will all be worth the same.
Current Legality: Perfectly legal
Future Legality: Presumably perfectly legal

Salt has been used many times all over the world as money, and likely will be used again in the SHTF.

Eggs:
Current Cost: Cheap
Current Supply: Very high
Future Supply: Probably limited
Future Demand: High
Storage requirements: Must be refrigerated, and are fragile, so they must be packaged to protect them from breakage.
Transportablility: Due to the fragile nature and short shelf life, they are a bit difficult to transport.
Shelf life: Not very good.
Fungibility: Depends on age and size
Current Legality: Perfectly legal
Future Legality: No foreseen problems with future legality.

Eggs have been used as money in the past. In fact I accepted eggs as payment for services rendered on a couple of occasions. Due to the fragile nature and short shelf life, they aren't the best thing to carry around in the SHTF as a money substitute however.

Ammunition:
Current Cost: Expensive compared to water and salt.
Current Supply: Sufficient in centerfire calibers, but in very short supply in rimfire calibers
Future Supply: Will likely be in short supply
Future Demand: Will likely be very high
Storage requirements: Moderate storage requirements.
Transportablility: Depending on the caliber, it's possible to carry surplus ammunition, even in a BOB. Larger calibers and shotgun shells are more difficult to carry in sufficient quantity (one of the reasons the military went from 7.52mm and 45 ACP to 5.56 mm and 9mm)
Shelf life: Good if stored in controlled climate. Rimfire degrades faster than centerfire
Fungibility: Ammunition is not interchangeable between calibers, and even within the same caliber, some ammunition is more valuable than others (target FMJ is much cheaper than +P hollow points)
Current Legality: Depends on location. In Free States it's perfectly legal.
Future Legality: Questionable.

The two biggest negative factors for using ammunition as a medium of barter is that it is not fungible, and may not be legal currently to buy or store in quantity in some locations. There will likely be attempts to control it in the SHTF. Despite the fact that many people are stocking up on ammo with the intention of using it as a money substitute, it has its problems.

Gold:
Current Cost: Expensive
Current Supply: Sufficient
Future Supply: Questionable
Future Demand: Questionable
Storage requirements: Almost negligible storage requirements due to the high price per ounce. You can store enough to buy a Bevery Hills mansion in a shoebox.
Transportablility: Very transportable. Less bulky than carrying hundred dollar bills.
Shelf life: Infinite
Fungibility: An ounce of gold is an ounce of gold
Current Legality: Legal
Future Legality: Questionable

Even though gold has been used as money for thousands of years, there are potential situations that may diminish its value as a money substitute. Like ammunition, there may be attempts to control it in the SHTF. And if things are very dire, people will be looking for basic necessities first. The biggest advantage is that you can easily carry enough hidden on your person to buy months worth of basic necessities.
 
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mustang592

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nice list!!!

@ homo erection thats a nice idea but the repopulating the earth wise if the women agree to it its alright
 

mattrow89

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One item I've thought about, is growing tobacco for trade if SHTF. As of now it's not illegal where I am in the U.S. to grow tobacco for personal use without a permit or licence. The permitting, taxing, and regulation of it comes into play when it is sold or traded. Seems to me that there will be a market for it in the event of a SHTF scenario. That and booze, I've made wine, beer, and mead and I'm sure those would be good barter items as well.
 

Brent S

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When deciding what things to use as a money substitute in the SHTF, there are some things you need to think about.

Current Cost
Current Supply
Future Supply
Future Demand
Storage requirements
Transportablility
Shelf life
Fungibility
Current Legality
Future Legality

Let's start with air:
Current Cost: free
Current Supply: unlimited
Future Supply: either unlimited, or in the case of airborne contamination, very limited.
Future Demand: everyone will need it to live
Storage requirements: Immense storage requirements.
Transportability: Due to the bulkiness, it is impractical to transport air in any meaningful quantity.
Shelf life: unlimited
Fungibility: depends on level of pollution - your clean air is worth the same is my clean air
Current legality: Legal
Future legality: Will be legal (we hope!)

Air is a poor substitute for money. Even though it is free, everyone needs it, and it is durable and fungible, and perfectly legal to own, storing it is impractical unless you own a gigantic cavern. Plus, it will in all likelihood be readily available in the SHTF anyhow so nobody will want to trade air in exchange for food. That's why it not on anybody's list of preps.

Water: This one is on everyone's prep list.
Current Cost: very cheap
Current Supply: Unless you live in Southern California, or other drought stricken area, there is currently ample supply.
Future Supply: We all have the feeling that purified water will be in short supply in the SHTF.
Future Demand: every single person on earth will need it.
Storage requirements: Large storage requirements just to store personal supplies. To store enough to use for trade requires either a very large tank or a reservoir.
Transportability: Small trades are possible with water in bottles, but a tanker truck is needed to transport enough to use in large trades.
Shelf life: If uncontaminated it has an indefinite shelf life.
Fungibility: Depends on the purity. Potable spring water is more valuable than lake water.
Current Legality: Perfectly legal to own (Unless you live in California :D)
Future Legality: There will probably be attempts to restrict hoarding in a shortage.

Water has a definite value as a substitute for money, but it is limited primarily by its bulkiness. Carrying enough water for yourself is difficult enough, but carrying enough water to use as a money substitute will be very difficult.

Salt:
Current Cost: Cheap
Current Supply: Ample supply
Future Supply: Varies by location. Locations near the ocean will have plenty, locations far inland may have limited supply.
Future Demand: Will be needed by everyone in some form.
Storage requirements: Fairly large storage requirements.
Transportablility: Depends on how valuable it will be. Currently it's impractical to carry enough salt to be worth much in trade, but easy to carry enough for personal requirements.
Shelf life: If kept dry, indefinite shelf life.
Fungibility: Salt is salt. Unless contaminated it will all be worth the same.
Current Legality: Perfectly legal
Future Legality: Presumably perfectly legal

Salt has been used many times all over the world as money, and likely will be used again in the SHTF.

Eggs:
Current Cost: Cheap
Current Supply: Very high
Future Supply: Probably limited
Future Demand: High
Storage requirements: Must be refrigerated, and are fragile, so they must be packaged to protect them from breakage.
Transportablility: Due to the fragile nature and short shelf life, they are a bit difficult to transport.
Shelf life: Not very good.
Fungibility: Depends on age and size
Current Legality: Perfectly legal
Future Legality: No foreseen problems with future legality.

Eggs have been used as money in the past. In fact I accepted eggs as payment for services rendered on a couple of occasions. Due to the fragile nature and short shelf life, they aren't the best thing to carry around in the SHTF as a money substitute however.

Ammunition:
Current Cost: Expensive compared to water and salt.
Current Supply: Sufficient in centerfire calibers, but in very short supply in rimfire calibers
Future Supply: Will likely be in short supply
Future Demand: Will likely be very high
Storage requirements: Moderate storage requirements.
Transportablility: Depending on the caliber, it's possible to carry surplus ammunition, even in a BOB. Larger calibers and shotgun shells are more difficult to carry in sufficient quantity (one of the reasons the military went from 7.52mm and 45 ACP to 5.56 mm and 9mm)
Shelf life: Good if stored in controlled climate. Rimfire degrades faster than centerfire
Fungibility: Ammunition is not interchangeable between calibers, and even within the same caliber, some ammunition is more valuable than others (target FMJ is much cheaper than +P hollow points)
Current Legality: Depends on location. In Free States it's perfectly legal.
Future Legality: Questionable.

The two biggest negative factors for using ammunition as a medium of barter is that it is not fungible, and may not be legal currently to buy or store in quantity in some locations. There will likely be attempts to control it in the SHTF. Despite the fact that many people are stocking up on ammo with the intention of using it as a money substitute, it has its problems.

Gold:
Current Cost: Expensive
Current Supply: Sufficient
Future Supply: Questionable
Future Demand: Questionable
Storage requirements: Almost negligible storage requirements due to the high price per ounce. You can store enough to buy a Bevery Hills mansion in a shoebox.
Transportablility: Very transportable. Less bulky than carrying hundred dollar bills.
Shelf life: Infinite
Fungibility: An ounce of gold is an ounce of gold
Current Legality: Legal
Future Legality: Questionable

Even though gold has been used as money for thousands of years, there are potential situations that may diminish its value as a money substitute. Like ammunition, there may be attempts to control it in the SHTF. And if things are very dire, people will be looking for basic necessities first. The biggest advantage is that you can easily carry enough hidden on your person to buy months worth of basic necessities.
One thing that would concern me with trading ammo is the customer could just shoot you with it to take all that you have. I think having it for personal protection and not advertising it would be wise.
I've got wine making down pretty well now. I'm hoping to produce over five hundred bottles this season. Alcohol is always in demand, so trading it works for me. Any surplus food you can produce will probably be valuable as well.
I see inflation and economic collapse on the U.S. Horizon, and probably not too far in the future, so I'm thinking of ways to prepare.
The most important thing I can advise on bartering, is to not let anyone know how much of anything you have. I have a feeling that security is going to be hard to come by.
 

Gazrok

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In other posts, I've mentioned how post SHTF, our plan would be (after all the insanity calms down) acting as a trading post of sorts.

Things we'd produce for trade:

Water (from our well and rain catchment)
Food (produce from gardens, home canning, and fruit trees, bushes)
Natural Medicinals/Spices (from garden)
Tobacco Products (grown, dried, processed) - This is one of the factors not mentioned above (Addiction). Simply put, people may be willing to trade more valuable items for something they are addicted to.
Alcohol Products (I'm pretty sure I'd likely produce my own beer and wine for trade, post SHTF)

Don't forget services too. Services we'd offer:

Communication (via HAM radio)
Medical aid (some in my group are medically trained (different levels), and post SHTF, we'd all do some cross-training).
Temporary Lodging (though guarded of course, as we wouldn't be too trusting).
Bath Facilities (never underestimate how good a shower would be post SHTF).
 

Brent S

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In other posts, I've mentioned how post SHTF, our plan would be (after all the insanity calms down) acting as a trading post of sorts.

Things we'd produce for trade:

Water (from our well and rain catchment)
Food (produce from gardens, home canning, and fruit trees, bushes)
Natural Medicinals/Spices (from garden)
Tobacco Products (grown, dried, processed) - This is one of the factors not mentioned above (Addiction). Simply put, people may be willing to trade more valuable items for something they are addicted to.
Alcohol Products (I'm pretty sure I'd likely produce my own beer and wine for trade, post SHTF)

Don't forget services too. Services we'd offer:

Communication (via HAM radio)
Medical aid (some in my group are medically trained (different levels), and post SHTF, we'd all do some cross-training).
Temporary Lodging (though guarded of course, as we wouldn't be too trusting).
Bath Facilities (never underestimate how good a shower would be post SHTF).
I would probably produce moonshine as well as wine. It can work as fuel, antiseptic, and of course recreationally.
You're right about a good shower. After a few days of rustic camping, a long hot shower is worth a lot, not just to you, but anyone that's anywhere near you:confused:!
I think the key is to be resourceful and flexible. Look for opportunities as they arise as no one can predict exactly what will happen and be completely prepared for the future.
 

Gazrok

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Very true.

One time, we got this really good deal on shoes to sell at our shop. All different sizes, a couple different colors.
Needless to say, they never really sold well, but we will definitely have shoes to sell come post SHTF, lol.... I imagine they'd sell much better then.
 

Brent S

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Very true.

One time, we got this really good deal on shoes to sell at our shop. All different sizes, a couple different colors.
Needless to say, they never really sold well, but we will definitely have shoes to sell come post SHTF, lol.... I imagine they'd sell much better then.
I really miss having my parents in law having the shoe repair buisness. They always had good leather belts, and could do any kind of leather work or repair. The best part was it was all free, although I did do all their maintenance on the building so it was a pretty good trade.
 

Gazrok

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We can do some minor leatherwork and repairs. We both want to get more into it actually, just the factor of getting more materials and time. Mostly, we just do minor saddle and tack repairs. Shoes are a bit beyond my skill level at present. The shoes we got were actually canvas barn shoes, but with nice treaded rubber soles. Great for around the barn, they just didn't sell all that well, even though we had them pretty cheap. We basically got them near to free though, so no real loss...just stock room.
 

jimLE

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i have a package of midewiwan sacred tobacco seeds.in which i do plan on planting for 2 reasons.1st.i wont have to go to the store buy any.2nd is,they'll be great for trade..my first thought when i first got them.is rolling papers will become where they can no longer be gotton..so that leaves only 1 option.roll cigars only.so that means,i need to look into hand oprated cigar rolling machines.and then start practioning with it to get to the point where im good at it.
 

Gazrok

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I used to know a lot of potheads...they could make rolling papers from just about anything, lol....
 

Brent S

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We can do some minor leatherwork and repairs. We both want to get more into it actually, just the factor of getting more materials and time. Mostly, we just do minor saddle and tack repairs. Shoes are a bit beyond my skill level at present. The shoes we got were actually canvas barn shoes, but with nice treaded rubber soles. Great for around the barn, they just didn't sell all that well, even though we had them pretty cheap. We basically got them near to free though, so no real loss...just stock room.
I wish I had kept some of their equipment. They had heavy duty stitches, and all kinds of stuff. Some of those tools were 100 yrs old, but still serviceable. Most were made of cast iron, with scroll work all over them. I think the weight is mainly why I didn't want it! They tried selling shoes too, and moved a few, but it mostly was a break even they said.
 

Brent S

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i have a package of midewiwan sacred tobacco seeds.in which i do plan on planting for 2 reasons.1st.i wont have to go to the store buy any.2nd is,they'll be great for trade..my first thought when i first got them.is rolling papers will become where they can no longer be gotton..so that leaves only 1 option.roll cigars only.so that means,i need to look into hand oprated cigar rolling machines.and then start practioning with it to get to the point where im good at it.
I've never tried growing tobacco, at least not since my teenager days and that stuff wasn't your regular tobacco :). I don't think I'll try it as I smoked when I was young, and don't ever want to get comfortable with it again. It was hard enough to quit once, so I won't risk it again. I do miss a cherry flavored pipe occasionally, but won't even risk that anymore.
 

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