Bartering Skills for when the SHTF

Bartering Skills for when the SHTF


If the shtf it is likely that bartering will become the new currency. Trading items for another item of higher value will probably be a common occurrence in a post shtf world. However, storing items specifically for this purpose can be time and space consuming. Not only that but most items for barter have a set shelf life meaning that at some point they will eventually be worthless. One way of overcoming this issue is to possess skills that you can barter with. The best thing about bartering skills is that you can do the same trade over and over again, without diminishing your supply. For example, if you have plumbing skills – no matter how much you use them you will still be a plumber!

Bartering after a SHTF event
Having essential or rare skills to barter with after a shtf event puts you in a very powerful position. It can help make your life more comfortable and survival easier.

Now is the time to learn and hone skills to barter with, you need to make yourself have great value to people once the worst happens. Here is a list of skills that could be used to barter:

  1. First Aid/Medical 

    Knowing basic first aid is one of the most important skills you can have. In a shtf situation, hospitals are likely to be over run and some will eventually close. In a world with no hospitals, doctor’s surgeries etc people will be looking for people to help them with their medical issues. Without easily accessible medical care small cuts and grazes can lead to pain, infection and even death. By being able to help people with medical needs you put yourself in a very strong position and you will likely have the upper hand in any trade.

  2. Gunsmith 

    Imagine how many guns will be used in a shtf situation. Some people will rely on them more than anything else for survival. At some point their gun is likely to need a repair of some description . Without a gun it will be harder to protect your bug out location and your family. What price would someone put on protecting their family? If you are able to repair guns you are likely to become pretty wealthy from bartering after a catastrophe.

  3. Weaving/sewing 

    People will have to work hard after the shtf. This work will be physical so good quality work clothes will be needed. Whilst working hard it is inevitable that eventually clothes will rip, buttons and zips will break etc. These will need repairing in order for work to be continued. By being able to complete these repairs you are indirectly making sure all of the important work that needs to be done is continued. A consideration to bear in mind is that eventually new clothes will need to be made. If you are able to do that – you will be of great value to a lot of people.

  4. Mechanical knowledge 

    Being able to take things apart, repair them and put them back together again will be a valuable skill to barter. If you can fix watches, generators, farming equipment etc you will be highly valued by most people. Also fixing cars will be important, if only for a short while after the shtf. Some people will bug out in a vehicle and if they have a store of fuel or if they can create their own then cars will likely need to be repaired until they are no longer fit for purpose.

  5. Teaching 

    If a catastrophic event occurs where the entire world is changed forever it may take some time before society starts to reform in some way. When this does eventually happen, children will need to be taught basic life skills such as reading, writing, counting etc. Being able to teach will be a great bartering skill. You could potentially set up a school where you teach a group of children on a regular basis in return for food, shelter, water or other valuable assets.

  6. Tradecraft (plumbing, electrical, blacksmith etc) 

    Being competent in a number of trades will certainly increase your value to others in a survival situation. Having a basic shelter is fine for a few days or maybe weeks. Eventually people will start to want home comforts like electricity and plumbing. If you are able to assist with this you will be well looked after and you will take the lead for naming a fair “price” in a trade. It is also likely that transport will revert back to man or animal power so if you can look after a horses feet, again you will probably be calling the shots.

  7. HAM radio operation 

    Using a HAM radio is highly likely to be one of the few methods of communication being used after the shtf. If you can set up, use and maintain this equipment you will be able to find out what is going on around you. If a HAM radio needs repair and you are able to do this, you will be involved in a high number of trades.

  8. Alcohol production/beer brewing 

    Alcohol has many uses besides the obvious one. It can be used as a disinfectant, pain relief among others. Although a lot of people will trade for alcohol for these reasons. There will be some people who will want beer for leisure use. This is acceptable as resting and down time will be important but care should be taken when bartering alcohol as some will over indulge and could cause problems. Producing your own alcohol will be a good bartering tool due to its many uses.

  9. Hairdresser/barber 

    Managing long hair can be a difficult task. Without appropriate resources in a shtf situation it is going to be a lot harder. Most people also feel better and more refreshed after a good haircut. If you can do a good job you will be able to make some good trades. This skill could also mean improved hygiene around your group so it is a valuable skill to know.

  10. Survival skills 

    Fire lighting, shelter building, hunting, fishing etc will play a vital part in the survival of your group. Immediately after a shtf event, these will be skills of the highest value for bartering.


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