Posts tagged: financial collapse

16 Skills Useful For Bartering In A Crisis Situation

16 Skills Useful For Bartering In A Crisis Situation

One of the biggest threats we face today could be financial collapse. It seems that people everywhere are just waiting for the one card to fall that’s holding up the whole house of cards. When that happens, it won’t be pretty.

In such an instance, the money in your pocket could become essentially worthless. Hyperinflation will kick in and the book value of the dollar will plummet. People and businesses won’t be willing to accept dollars as payment, simply because the dollar will be devaluing so rapidly. We will end up returning to a barter system for a lot of everyday personal commerce.

What’s interesting is that these skills can come in handy even when things are going well. A little strategy is always a good thing.

Various disasters could render money essentially useless. If the internet or power grid went down, most people’s money will be trapped in the bank’s computer. They might not be able to access it for months. In that case, they’ll be seeking what they can trade so that they can feed their families.

A lot of people are talking about stockpiling goods to use for bartering when that time comes. That’s a good idea — one that could prove quite profitable. The best barter goods are (sadly) said to be those that feed people’s vices; specifically alcohol and cigarettes. But you must also be aware that hoarding of any kind could make you a target of thieves or looters.

Anything that is needed for survival will probably be popular as barter goods. It’s interesting how priorities change. Medical supplies, food, tools and other basics of survival become more important. You can’t eat gold, antiques, collectibles and so on, so these things would lose their immediate value. People would have more important things to focus on.

When Argentina went through their financial collapse, food became one of the top items for bartering.

That’s not all you can barter, though. Since a financial collapse is always accompanied by at least a partial collapse of society, there are many skills which can be bartered, as well. With the difficulty in getting these services from normal channels, people will be grateful to find others that can do them.

When you go to visit a doctor, you expect to pay him for his time. Why is that? It’s because that doctor knows things that you don’t. They’ve invested time and money in learning their profession. So, you aren’t just paying them for their time, you’re paying them for their knowledge, as well. If you were only paying them for their time, you’d be paying them the same rate that you pay someone to cut your lawn.

What makes the difference, in that case, is the knowledge that the doctor has. His time is more valuable because of that knowledge. Likewise, in any crisis situation, your knowledge is valuable. Don’t let people treat you as if it isn’t. If they don’t want to make a trade that is beneficial to you, you can always walk away. They need you more than you need them.

Skills to Trade

With that said, the next question is: What marketable survival skills do you have? Let’s start with those, and then we’ll look at some others.

1. Water purification – Most people don’t have the slightest idea of how to purify water, other than you can purify it by boiling it. They don’t even know how long to boil it.

2. Alternative cooking methods – Take away electricity and most people don’t have much of an idea of how to cook. Even obvious things, like using their barbecue grill might not occur to them. More exotic methods, such as solar ovens, are way beyond their understanding.

3. Fire starting – Yes, people will have problems starting fires. Unless someone is a smoker or has a fireplace, there’s a good chance they won’t have matches or a lighter.

4. Making bio-fuel – If you have the capability, you might just be able to sell any excess you have.

5. Gardening – Many people have vegetable gardens so that they can supply their family with food when things fall apart. Your neighbors might look enviously at that garden, especially when they get hungry. Teach them how to start their own garden, supplying the seeds that they’ll need to get going.

6. Animal husbandry – Are you raising chickens or goats? Just like your vegetable garden, those might become the focus of neighborhood attention. You can help your neighbors start their own chicken coop, perhaps seeding a few chicks to them.

7. Home defense – If things get bad, you might need to organize your neighborhood for mutual self-defense. As the leader and planner of that effort, your neighbors should offer you something in return.There are probably many other survival skills you have, but they might be more specific to surviving in the wilderness, rather than surviving in an urban situation. You probably won’t be able to barter those as well, unless you offer classes to your neighbors.

There are a whole host of other skills which could be bartered, as well. Pretty much anything that is necessary for survival, which people are accustomed to getting from society, will be in demand. In addition, any of the trades will always be in demand, just as they are now. You might know some of these skills, but not use them as your profession. But then, if your profession dries up from the crisis, these skills might be what you need to provide for your family.

8. Medical services – Medical services will always be in demand; in a crisis, they are often overloaded. You have to be careful with this one, as there are some legal liability issues associated with it. However, anyone who knows basic wound treatment and first aid can do that, even if they aren’t certified. If people have a problem getting to medical help, the ability to take care of a wound may save someone’s life. That’s worth a lot.

9. Midwife – If medical services are overloaded or hard to get to, then the age-old profession of the midwife will be needed. Once again, just like any other medical service, you have to be careful about liability; as you could be held liable for anything that goes wrong.

10. Psychology or counseling – Many people will have trouble dealing with the problems that they are facing and need help adjusting to them. Being able to counsel those people and help them come to grips with post-crisis life will be valuable.

11. Home repair (of all sorts) – Many disasters cause damage to homes. As those homes are necessary to help people survive, being able to make repairs can be very profitable.

12.Mechanics – We will always need mechanics to keep our cars running, as long as there is a gas to run them. This is truer today than in the past because less people know how to do it themselves.

13. Small engine repair – Strange as it sounds, just because someone can repair a car, doesn’t mean that they can repair a lawnmower or generator. In a crisis situation we will probably be depending upon these devices even more than normal; increasing the need for this skill.

14. Appliance repair – With people having less money, they won’t be able to just run out and buy a new washing machine if theirs breaks. Having it repaired would be much cheaper. This may even apply to small appliances if merchandise starts becoming scarce.

15. Gunsmithing – When people get hungry and desperate, there’s no telling what they will do. People who have guns may not have the ability to fix them themselves.

16. Clergy – More than half of the counseling done in this country is done by clergy. That won’t become any less in the aftermath of a crisis. Their services will also be needed for helping with weddings and funerals.

There are probably some other skills, such as blacksmithing, which should be added to this list. Take time to inventory your own skills and see how they might be useful in the aftermath of a financial crash or other crisis. Don’t limit yourself to only these things; think of anything you know how to do, which might be useful in a survival situation. Many things that we don’t commonly use today will be needed, as people are forced to return to the ways of our ancestors.

If the skills which you are planning on bartering require special materials to do, you should put in a stock of those materials as well. Granted, you probably can’t stock everything, but you can stock the most common things you’d use. That way, you’ll have something to start with.

One of the questions that many preppers have about bartering is that of what to accept in trade for their trade goods or skills. There are several ways of looking at this. Typically, preppers talk about trading their trade goods or skills for things that they don’t have. No matter how thoroughly any of us prepare, we’re going to forget something. If you need that something, then it becomes the most important thing for you to trade for.

Another thing you can trade for is people’s time. Just surviving is going to be a full-time job. You may have trouble coming up with enough time to survive, as well as barter your skills. Well then, barter your skills for other people’s time. In other words, if you have a neighbor that needs drinking water, tell them you’ll purify their water if they haul water from the river for both of you. Or, you’ll help them start their vegetable garden if they’ll pull weeds in yours. That way, you can make better use of the time that you have.

Remember, your time will be more valuable than theirs, simply because you have the needed skills to survive. Be fair to people, but don’t let them take advantage of you either. Your prime concern is taking care of your own family, not theirs.

One last category of things you can barter for is valuables. Eventually, things will return to normal, or a new normal. While a silver tea set may lose its relative value during the crisis, because it isn’t necessary for survival; after the crisis, its value will return. When that happens, you can sell the tea service for a profit.

During World War II, there was a lot of this going on. There were constant shortages in occupied Europe. The priority was given to the German military forces, leaving insufficient food for the population in these countries. Many people dealt with this by going out to the country and trading silver tea sets and other valuables to farmers for hams cheeses, and other foodstuffs.

When the war was over and Europe returned to normal, many of those farmers, who had been poor before the war, ended up quite comfortable. Their black-market bartering of food during the war years made them a tidy profit when it came time to sell those valuables.

By Rich M – (edit – MFSP)

Going Off Grid – Part I

Financial Crash

In 2006 my life was humming along with the normal path of middle-class Americans.  Living near a major metropolitan area, mid 30’s, working for a fortune 500 company, married, kids, two cars, a house  in the suburbs, 401k, health insurance, life was good.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, a toxic financial situation was brewing in our economy and the systemic effects were going to be felt far and wide as the global financial system froze almost overnight. lehman_brothers I remember in 2008, watching Lehman Brothers collapse live on CNBC and thinking to myself that I was witnessing the fall of Rome and what a financial collapse would mean to me and my family. At that time, I would say that I was partially prepared for an event.  I had a bug out bag, a few long guns & pistols, a small amount of ammo, a remote hunting cabin, very little stored fuel, and whatever food I had in the house.  I had common sense when it came to planning for the future, stay away from debt, save money, keep some emergency cash on hand, keep warm clothes in your car, etc. but planning for a major event, like a financial collapse was far from my mind.

The Fall of Rome

Lehman Brothers changed all of that; I remember the fear on the faces of the CNBC anchors like Maria Bartiromo during the stock market plunge with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaping down by hundreds of points.

At that point, like most of Americans, I felt really unprepared.  And when you are raising a young family, the feeling of being unprepared is a scary one. I decided to make a change in my life; I was no longer going to follow the herd because that was a life of dependency.  A life dependent on others, dependent on the government, dependent on a guy on Wall Street to make the right decisions for me and my family, a life I no longer wanted to live.  It was in 2008 that I discovered the Survivalist community online.  I began to read different blogs like SurvivalCache, Survival Blog, Modern Survival Online, and Tactical Intelligence.  From there I gained a new appreciation of what I needed to do to be more secure for my family’s future.


First Step

My first step to independence was to figure a way out of the suburbs. You can’t be independent while living in a cul-de-sac that backs up to another housing development.  Sure, the convenience of the suburbs is hard to beat.  Pick up the phone and someone comes to your house to deliver a hot meal.  Local grocery stores full of your favorite corn syrup based food, restaurants ready to wait on you hand and foot, police for your false sense of safety, schools to indoctrinate your children, and the list goes on.  But what if those things go away, what if the veil of society is much thinner than you think.  I love the saying that “America is 9 meals away from anarchy” and I believe that to be about true.

step one

Talking my wife into living a more remote lifestyle was not an easy first step but there were some upsides to having more room to stretch out and a smaller tight-knit community that she appreciated.  My wife and I are by no means your typical off the grid people, we both have college educations with advanced degrees, we both have studied abroad, and we both appreciate the typical city lifestyle.  You will not see us on a future episode of Doomsday Preppers.

With a good job that I did not want to leave, I decided that the commute to work was much less important than the overall safety of my family.

I was also able to negotiate with my boss the ability to telecommute at least one day a week if not more which made the commute a little less painful.  So our search began…

Safety of my family

Finding a house was not as hard as we thought, we had a few requirements from my research on Survival Blogs.

• We wanted five acres or more.
• We wanted to be on our own well and septic system.
• Access to high-speed internet and cell phone coverage.
• We wanted a decent school system.
• We wanted a wood burning stove.
• We wanted to be able to plant a garden.
• We wanted multiple ways to get from my work to our new home.
• Any alternative energy sources would be a plus but not a requirement

I know this does not fit the exact model that other survivalists have laid out (stream running through your property, natural gas well, 500 acres, a stocked fish pond, etc. ) but this was the set up that worked for my family on our budget.

Remote Living

By 2009, our dream came true.  We sold our house in the suburbs and moved to a more remote setting.  The first thing you learn about living this way is to make a detailed list before you drive to any store because if you forget anything it is a painful process to go back.  The next thing you learn is that Amazon Prime is your friend and that it is sometimes easier and cheaper to just order toilet paper from the internet rather than drive 25 minutes to the closest Target or Wal-Mart. I also learned that during my commute to and from work, I would become the primary shopper for the family because I drove to countless shopping centers each day.  It did not bother me but I have a new appreciation for shopping and the frustration of having to find certain things for recipes.


Now that we made the move, it was time to work on a budget for cutting the cord to the grid.

Stay tuned for “Off the Grid – Part II – The Upgrades”

Photos by:
Terry Pridemore

This article was first posted on

By Virginia Tom, a reader of