Apocalyptic Wealth: Trading, bartering and what to prepare

We’ve all seen the movies and shows where society collapses, people have to survive when money is worthless, but have you really thought about what YOU would do realistically?  The goal of this article is to get you thinking or maybe give you new ideas of what you can trade or barter with in a SHTF scenario. 

There’s things you can start saving and stockpiling now for barter and trade later and other things that you’ll need to learn how to produce as your stockpile will most likely dwindle faster than you think and you do NOT want to be left with nothing of value when you and yours are hard up for food, medicine or other life saving items. However this article will only be for pre-collapse prepping/investing.

Pre-Collapse Prepping: Hypothetically It’s present day and you’re feeling pretty good about life, you have enough money in savings to survive most modern day issues, maybe a steady job, 401k and some trendy crypto investments to “hodl” onto, but will these things help you during a SHTF scenario?  The obvious short answer is NO.  

During a collapse, electricity on a wide scale will undoubtedly go out simultaneously, bringing down the internet, and any electronic banking, investing or savings you might have.  If you’re a millionaire only in numbers on a computer, you’ll be destitute merely seconds after the power goes out for good.  

So what can you do to prepare for this sort of situation? This is a tricky question, and it depends a lot on your current situation and means that you currently have at your disposal.  Below is a list of some realistic ways to prepare pre-collapse: 

  • Physical precious metals like Gold/Silver
    • Gold/Silver has been a main purchasing power throughout nearly all of humanity and it will undoubtedly be one during a SHTF scenario.  
    • You can start saving and hoarding your precious metals even on a tight budget as there are local stores and online stores that will let you purchase as much or as little as you can afford. 
    • Even if a collapse never happens in your lifetime a stockpile of physical precious metals will have only gone up in value and can be traded back for cash value if needed or you can give them to your children as inheritance that the government cannot tax you on. 
  • Ammunition
    • No matter what your views are regarding firearms, the fact that ammo will be worth it’s weight in gold during a SHTF scenario doesn’t change.  Keeping ammo on hand and in large quantities can not only help you survive if violently attacked, but can also serve as a very valuable trading item.
    • Different types of ammo will be worth different amounts to different people depending on what type of firearm they have to shoot it, so keeping commonly used rounds on hand is preferred.  9mm, .45acp, .223/5.56, 12ga, 30-06, .308 and .22lr are all very common and keeping any of these on hand can help you out with bartering. 
  • Alcohol & Liquor 
    • Just like Ammunition/Firearms, your personal opinion about Alcohol will not diminish its value during a SHTF scenario.  Not only will other people want it for drinking, but others may need it for disinfectant or cleaning. 
    • Unopened liquor has a nearly unlimited shelf-life so you can start collecting your booze now, but don’t open it as opened bottles of liquor usually only keeps for 1-2 years before degrading. 
  • Hunting Gear
    • Getting food will not be as easy as it once was and you won’t just be able to stroll to your local Bass Pro shop or Walmart to pick up some bow arrows, fishing pole and or small game traps, so having a much of these items stored as you can (even if you don’t know how to hunt) is just a good idea.
    • You’re surely to run into someone in a SHTF scenario that either knows how to hunt that could use your items or could teach you to hunt and you can use your own items, so in either case, it will benefit you to have them. 
  • Salt
    • Salt is important, not only to make food less bland (which will be a huge issue during a SHTF scenario), but also because it’s a mineral your body needs (especially when running low on food and dehydrated).
    • Since you most likely will not be transporting large amounts of food long distances you’ll likely use it for your own food and to barter with as most people have no knowledge of how to find salt for their use outside of the grocery store. 
    • Buy and store as much salt as you can and you won’t regret having if the occasion should arrive. 
  • Medical & Hygiene
    • This section should go without saying, but knowing that you’ll pretty much ONLY be able to get these items pre-collapse might help motivate you to get a head start on stockpiling the more important ones below:
      • Antibiotics 
      • Scissors
      • Gauze Pads
      • Tourniquets
      • Tampons/Pads
      • Toothbrushes/Toothpaste
      • Tylenol/Aspirin
      • Disinfectant
      • Ointments
      • Pain Meds
      • Rubbing Alcohol
      • And anything else you can get your hands on
  • Clothes
    • Believe it or not, clothes will become a bigger problem than you think.  Wear and tear of your current clothes will be accelerated without proper cleaning and with heavy use.  Also running to the mall to scavenge some clothes will likely be unsuccessful as you’re not the only person who will be running into this problem.
    • One way of doing this might be to hold onto some of the better clothes you no longer wear instead of selling them at the next yard sale or taking them to goodwill, this will take up space, but also won’t cost you anything extra. 

There are many items that other preppers would potentially add to this list, but to keep this from becoming a short book, I’ll stop here.  Remember, skills you learn will always be worth more than physical items when it comes to preparing for a SHTF scenario, but a combo of both is the best plan.

Slow Descent: Investing in an uncertain future

TIMES ARE CRAZY RIGHT NOW!  Protests, riots, unjust police, COVID Madness, political discourse and unemployment are becoming the norm.  Not a day passes by that you don’t see outrage and lawlessness in the media with no obvious end in sight.  Yes it’s an election year, and you might think that when Nov 3rd comes and goes things will start to get back to normal, but what if they don’t? 

It’s not likely that the public outrage regarding police brutality & corrupt politicians will stop people from continuing similar protests and escalating it to levels that could trigger an even worse course of events.  Just like Newton’s 3rd law, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”.

Here’s a quick hypothetical scenario for you:  Let’s say (insert your political candidate) wins the election.  The other side will not be happy. They will make their disdain known through other means (like violent protests) that will ultimately negatively affect your “teams” position or even your daily life.  This has secondary and tertiary effects, chaos ensues..

Another hypothetical scenario: Lets say COVID lock-downs continue across the country, eventually hurting the economy to the point that it can’t recover and the country collapses or we find ourselves in a DEEP recession/depression that creates inflation to the point normal people can’t afford basic items or hold down a steady job to provide for their families. Chaos ensues..

You may or may not think either scenario above is “probable”, but you can’t deny that the probability of both scenarios occurring in the future have significantly increased over the past six months.  You likely know a couple close friends or relatives who have lost their jobs recently or maybe friends or groups of friends split by political differences.  Ideological views are hard to change and once a side is chosen, people tend to dig in. 

Regardless of your personal beliefs or what “side” you’re on, you’d be a fool to not take these signs of our times as a wake up call to start investing in your future, not only from a financial standpoint, but a survivability standpoint.  How are YOU ensuring that you and your loved ones will be safe and have what you need to get through the potentially difficult times ahead? 

In my previous article “Ask yourself these survival questions: Prepping with a purpose”, I talk about questions you should ask yourself in “Bug-out, Bug-In” types of scenarios, so I won’t cover those again here, but I do want to expand on the section talking about “Are you prepared for a slow descent into an emergency prepping scenario“.  We may very well be in the beginning stages of that “slow descent” now. 

This “slow descent” scenario is one of the hardest situations to navigate when it comes to the individual hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.  Politics, situation, location, peer pressure, family as well as other factors will come into play when you start planning your investments for you and your family’s future.   So the call will ultimately be up to you and how severe you think society’s outcome will be in the not too distant future. 

Just like with finances, investing early will always have the future you thanking the past you for your efforts when it comes to prepping.   Setting yourself up for success now, regardless if people say you’re being crazy, is never a bad bet.  That’s another reason why prepping shouldn’t be for any singular situation, but instead to prep from a myriad of scenarios so your base is covered.  

What exactly can we do now? The answer to that question depends on your situation entirely.  Will you only be looking out for yourself?  Will you be in charge of ensuring a family of 5 is fed consistently?   Do you have elderly to care for?  None of these questions have an easy answer, but below is my list of focuses that you should start preparing for now, or at least start working towards since we don’t know exactly when/if things will fall apart. 

  1. Location: Where will you and yours be able to ride things out when society falls apart?  In my opinion, you should make this decision before any others because your location will dictate your capabilities regarding water, food and allies, these are important for obvious reasons.  I recommend staying away from overly populated areas, but also not be in the middle of nowhere. Even the most resourceful loners can use help from a community nearby at some point.
  1. Sustainability: How much food and water should I have on hand now and how much would I need each day/week/month to sustain myself and my group?  Once you do the math, it’s pretty overwhelming to think about how much food and water it really takes to sustain one person, let alone an entire family.  The average person needs about 1500 calories per day to survive and about 4 liters of water per day to survive in a normal consumer driven society.  During a stressful survival situation, you’ll need almost double that per person as you’ll be expending much more calories and need to intake more than you are now.  Stockpiling goods is preferred for the short-term scenarios, but supplies will run out eventually and there might not be any stores to pick up groceries from.  Can you garden?  Can you cook without electricity?  These questions might inspire you to learn a new skill or purchase equipment that will help you out in these scenarios. 
  1. Money: I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not expert when it comes to finances, my bank statement will tell you that, but there are still things you can do to help improve your potential future situation if things do get tough.  The need for money may not just go away, society still may function using money up to a point, and you’ll need to “play that game” until you no longer can.  Cash on hand will be key.  Keeping as much cash as you can afford on hand will make the days leading up to people realizing money no longer holds any value much easier.  Gold is another popular prepping item that has been used for centuries for monetary value, however I would be hesitant to solely have gold as your only source of “survival money” as gold only holds as much value as the person you’re trying to give it to.  That person you’re trying to purchase something from might find the box of ammo you have much more valuable.  Diversify your “money” and don’t rely on any one thing when it comes to your survival.
  1. Time: This is the one thing everyone of us can invest more of when it comes to preparing for the worst.  Fist off, take time to think through these scenarios, figure out what your unique situation looks like and how best you can work through these difficult scenarios that you and your family might one day face.  Take time to learn a new skill.  Will your skills have any value to your group when it’s needed?  Put in time organizing your gear, making sure you have the supplies you don’t and if you don’t, take the time to put together a list of items that you can slowly add to.  Take time to research the best items and goods to keep for the long term like rice, beans and non-perishables.  Taking just 15 minutes a day to think about or do something pertaining to your future investment of survival can very well mean the difference between surviving with confidence or struggling not to starve.  

As I’ve said before in my previous article, I don’t claim to be an expert on survival. Having had many conversations with “normies” who haven’t asked themselves these questions before, it has shown me that most people are nowhere near ready for these types of situations.  Please let me know in the comments what your thoughts are and if I missed anything that I can add.  Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

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