How to Barter

Source: TheReadyStore via SHTF

When you are caught in a disaster, either natural or economical, supplies can be in short demand. Bartering is a great skill to have to be able to trade your unique goods and services in order to help you and your family during an emergency.

Imagine that the economy collapsed. You’d be able to barter for food and other supplies instead of using currency.

Or better yet, money is really tight in a lot of homes right now! Imagine being able to barter with your neighbors to trade goods and services for items that your family needs right now!

How to Barter
If you’ve never bartered, here are some steps to get you started:

BarterFigure out what you want. In an emergency situation, assess your needs. What things do you need and what things do you want?

Figure out what you can give. Think about what things you would sell if you had a garage sale tomorrow? Is any of it valuable? What skills or hobbies do you have that you can teach someone? What chores do you enjoy doing?

Identify a trading partner. Try to find someone that you know is in need of one of the skills or goods that you have. If you can’t readily find someone, make a list of those you know that might need a skill or good that you have.

Negotiate and ask. Come with an idea of what you want. For example, “I would like to exchange my first born child for your flock of geese.” Don’t go to the trade without an idea of what you want.

Tips to bartering like a professional
We’ve collected a few tips that you can use while bartering. Let us know your bartering techniques too. What do you find helpful in a bartering situation. Comment below!
Assess a dollar value. Try and research the price of the item that you’d like to barter. That might give you a better idea of other items that you can barter for. Remember though that many times a value depends on the person’s needs, wants and preferences.

Set a time frame. Come into an agreement with your trading partner when the services will be exchanged. If there is a deadline, you need to decide that. If the good or service is on an ongoing basis, consider meeting again to re-evaluate and make sure everyone is still OK with the deal.

Taxes with bartering. Some bartering items require that you report the transaction on your tax return. Obviously, you won’t have to report things like mowing your neighbors lawn in exchange for his homemade beef jerky. However, a barter between two businesses is considered taxable income and should be reported.


Get it in writing. If at all possible, get the deal in writing so that you and your trading partner are in agreeance. This will come in handy too if someone tries to alter the agreement later down the road.

Triangular bartering. Bartering doesn’t always have to be between two individuals. If you have three people who all want each other’s goods or services, you can still strike a deal. You can mow a person’s lawn, in exchange they will give eggs to a neighbor and the neighbor will give you milk from their cow.

Be skeptical if you need to be. If someone is trying to trade an item that you’re not as familiar with, don’t feel bad asking questions. It’s not wrong to ask questions about the item or to ask more details about the person’s skill set.

Your tips and ideas
What tips do you  have to become a professional barterer? Comment below and spread the wealth!
(Bulleted comments below used from source)

  • Plan ahead:  Try not to go into a bartering situation really needing something because it will show and you will give up more than you should have!
  • Have things that people want during a CRISIS, not things people want now:
    I have friends who’ve hoarded, for example, silver, have it buried on their property. Can you eat silver? Will silver fix a headache? Nope. Barter goods are immediate. Stock simple medicines (aspirin really is a miracle drug), luxuries (I have a lot of wine). Your barter goods need to be valuable in a total breakdown, not in the context of today’s world.
    Wine. Spices. Ammunition. Long shelf life medicine. Paper books. Tools. These are the things that you will be able to trade for what you need. Double or triple your own requirements for these items to be the person that people go to for a trade.
    A single bottle of wine will fetch you a deer haunch that you can live off of for a week.
  • [To determine what will be of “value”], think about the things you can’t do without. Odds are that other families will feel similarly and then you’ll have whet they need, when they need it.
  • Don’t get cheated:  Barter “with goods in hand”. You can’t trust people who say they will bring something to you later for something of yours today.
  • Bartering, Present Today:  I’ve had a lot of luck (and fun) bartering on Craigslist over the years. I traded a 96 Ford F150 for a 99 Yamaha VStar… which I traded for a 98 Dodge 1500… which I traded for a 2003 Chevy S10 – each time using the item until I tired of it and then trading up without having to take cash out of pocket because the other party wanted my item more than I wanted theirs. While Craigslist may not be up and running (or accessible) in the event of a meltdown, it’s currently a great resource. I post all of my ‘for sale’ items in the barter section and regularly get some interesting offers. In fact, I’m trading some collectible gemstones from a shipwreck tomorrow for a beautifully maintained sailboat. Don’t be afraid to ask people if they’ll trade you – just make sure the trade is agreeable to all parties. Ask questions, do research, and certainly look a gift horse in the mouth. Be smart and cautious and don’t be afraid to be creative, and have fun with it!
  • When trading firearms/ammo:  If you are the one with the guns/ammo, know with whom you are bartering and make sure you trust that person. Do you really want that stranger coming back to take more stuff using the ammo you gave him?
  • Non-essentials; valuable:  I am putting up a stock of Cheap Whiskey, Rum and Vodka . And am looking into putting up some Tobacco seeds. If I can find a way to store it I may even put back some prepared tobacco. Tobacco and whiskey were trade staples on the frontier . And I believe will become very valuable again in hard times. Also coffee in small vacuum packed cans. (Do not let these items be the only thing you stock up on, though)
  • Security:  You cannot continue “OPSEC”, (aka “Operational Security”) if others, ANY others, know that you have enough of any item in surplus to trade it away!!! You may be asking for BIG trouble. Try to have enough and sustain so you won’t HAVE to trade. Get a LOT of salt, sugar, leavening, etc, and anything else you can’t produce on your own. Not a couple boxes, but several hundred pounds. Look at and write down EVERY SINGLE THING you eat, drink, or use in 1 week. Multiply that by 52, and that’s what one person of your group will need for a year. Then move out from there. DO NOT TRUST ANYONE!!!! Even friends and neighbors will turn on you if they have hungry kids, etc. Bartering is an absolute LAST RESORT.
  • Finally, rely ONLY on yourself/family – Be careful who you trust:  [Some] feel a barter activity exposes one to more danger than the activity is worth. Self-reliance-based training and planning are the actions I depend on for my family survival. Others need not know what I have. I can “do without” everything but Faith, Food and Water. Your most potent survival equipment is between your ears.

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