Bartering Items for after a SHTF Event

Bartering Items for after a SHTF Event

After a shtf event, it is likely that our current currency may become less valuable or maybe even completely worthless. What use is money if there is nothing left to buy? One important part of your prepping should be gathering some bartering supplies. In a previous post I discussed skills you could barter with but what items can you store now to swap with other survivors?

Bartering can help you get everything you need to survive after a shtf event. Storing items to barter with now should be part of your prepping plan.

Besides the obvious use of clothing repairs etc, needles may be needed for medical purposes e.g. stitching a wound closed. Needles are unlikely to be easily accessible in a post shtf situation as shops will be closed (and likely already looted). As needles are so readily available now, not many people keep spares. There are very few ways to make something the size of a small needle in the natural world so if someone needs one – you will have a great bartering tool.


Having a supply of basic medicines e.g. paracetamol, ibuprofen etc can be a massive advantage for you when bartering. Hospitals, pharmacies, doctor’s surgeries, anywhere where medical treatment is available now will very likely be one of the first places to be closed and/or looted in a serious emergency situation. Once this happens any small medical ailment can turn into a serious condition pretty quickly.

Imagine having a tooth ache and not being able to just pop a tablet in your mouth, wait half an hour and then the pain goes away. Imagine that the pain will be there all the time, day and night with no let up. There wouldn’t be many things people would refuse to trade in this situation, particularly if a child is in pain. One thing to remember about medicines is that you can barter with doses rather than the whole packet, bottle etc. If someone has a headache, you can offer them two tablets in return for something of value that they have. You then still have a supply of the same tablets to barter with in the future.

As a side note – if you are looking to stockpile antibiotics, some fish antibiotics are made with exactly the same ingredients as the human form. You will just need to alter the stated dosage levels accordingly.

Reading glasses

You can buy these in many shops now and they are not that expensive. If you need glasses you will appreciate how valuable a pair of these will be in a post shtf situation and your current pair have been lost or broken. You can also use the lenses from the glasses as a fire starting or signalling tool too.


This is a great bartering item because if you store it correctly, it has an indefinite shelf life. Honey also has many medical and health related benefits including soothing coughs, boosting energy and killing bacteria that can cause infections. Once your local shops close, unless people keep their own bees, this will be difficult to find.


As a non – smoker I wouldn’t normally buy cigarettes, however seeing how some of my smoker friends act after going just a short while without one makes it clear to me how much value a cigarette would have to some people. As with medicines, I would barter per cigarette so you probably won’t even need to buy that many to be considered “rich” in a post shtf world!


As soon as the shtf and the lights go out, people will want candles. Once all the looting has ended it is unlikely that people will be able to go to the local shop and purchase new ones. Having a supply of candles to barter will put you in a great position. People won’t like sitting in the dark – things always seem easier with the lights on!


Once food runs out, people will start looking for ways to keep their families fed. Having seeds means you are able to offer them the opportunity to have a continuous supply of food which will come at a high price! There aren’t many things people wouldn’t trade in order to keep their family alive.


Not only can salt be used to flavour food it can also be used to disinfect wounds, help sooth toothache and much more. I recently discovered that roman soldiers were paid in salt. I think that says more than anything I can write here. Salt is a powerful bartering item.


People will want to get their hands on alcohol for both leisure and medical purposes. Alcohol can be used as a disinfectant, to sterilise tools etc. As it is flammable it can also be part of a fire starting process. Alcohol will be the first choice for some people to steal once looting begins. Once this has been consumed by the looters, a high price will be placed on any being offered.


Hygiene is important in a world without regular medical care. The smallest piece of dirt in a cut can become a major problem if infection strikes. Not only that but most people feel better and more relaxed once they have had a wash. A great way of storing soap for bartering is by keeping a supply of the little moist hand wipes you get in some restaurants and hotels. These come in small packets so it makes bartering very easy as portions are already set. Other toiletries like shampoo, toothpaste etc work the same way.


Bartering is a great skill to have but make sure you practice doing it now while it is not a necessity. So when the shtf you are thoroughly prepared to become a successful bartering business entrepreneur!




1 thought on “Bartering Items for after a SHTF Event”

  1. 😂 Ha. Most people don’t have a supply of needles. Luckily, I am a disorganized seamstress who buys a new pack whenever I can’t find one!

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