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.

Rebellious Individual Freedom: In thought & practice

If you know me, you know I’m a HUGE supporter of liberty and Individual rights, but one thing I’ve noticed over the past year or so is that a lot of people, not just Americans, have never really truly thought about what the concept of Individual freedom really means to them.  My hope is that by the end of this read, you might have a different view of what individual freedom means and why it’s as important as I believe it is.

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Before we get into this I’m going to do you a favor, I’m going to spare you the mind numbing laws, and regulations that govern our “free” society in America. Why, you ask? For one, their interpretation by people can vary wildly, but more importantly, I believe that your version of Individual liberty is more important than what anybody tells you it is.  I mean that is the definition; “Freedom – the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” 

“It sounds like you’re talking about Anarchy Gary”, we need rules or else there would be chaos in the streets” – This is what I hear from people who have a poor understanding of what freedom and liberty is for the individual.  I’m sure I’ll be called a “statist” for saying this, but yes, there needs to be some rules and guidelines on how we act in a “civilized” society, but to what end?  This part of MY thought process is what turned me onto the Libertarian way of thinking.  If you’re not familiar with what that is it’s basically this “Don’t hurt people, and don’t take their stuff”, I believe this concept should also be especially enforced with our own government.  

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I could go on and on regarding the variations of libertarianism and how it can better, and conflict, with our current laws and ways of life, but I’ll boil it down even more for you.  In my opinion, individual liberty and freedom should be more of a mindset and practice as opposed to a right or law.  YOU as the individual make a conscious decision to be free or not be free, this doesn’t mean it’s without consequence though.  

You have to decide how free YOU will live your life, what’s acceptable to YOU.  I may not agree with what you choose and choose not to practice, but that’s the magic of individual liberty, It’s NONE OF MY BUSINESS what you do, where you eat, what you buy, where you go and if you value freedom and liberty FOR ALL, you shouldn’t care what others do either as long as they aren’t hurting people, or taking their stuff. 

“The world is more nuanced than that Gary, we have more laws to cover particular instances and situations”.  YES, you’re right about that, I fully agree that the world is more grey than it is black and white, but I also believe that there shouldn’t be one size fits all when it comes to laws and regulations and they should all be judged individually based on their own nuances.  Again, I’m getting away from the main point of this article, and that is making freedom and liberty more of a mindset and practice.  

Making individual freedom a mindset and practice is hard for a lot of people tho.  Most people, I believe, want to be good citizens, who don’t “break the law” and contribute positively to society.  I am also like this, however I also believe that some, unjust laws, do not deserve to be followed when attempting to live a reasonably free existence.  This is where the mindset and practice of your individual liberty come into play.  Remember earlier when I said it wouldn’t be without consequence?  

One way you can look at this is like the old school American thought process.  We literally became a nation through rebellion.  Our country exists solely because tougher people than us said NO, I will not do what I’m told just because it’s considered “law”, I want to be free and will fight for that way of life.  Why should this idea of Individual freedom and liberty change in OUR minds just because it’s 2020? Tyranny and government overreach still exists today.  

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No I’m not saying we all have to become Paul Revere or Patrick Henry or openly defy all laws made by our government, but we should have the attitude to not just accept what we’re told.  We should also be brave enough to stand up to politics and actions that violate others individual liberties as yours could be next. 

Everything that I have just talked about does NOT align with many political views out there, socialism and communism to name the biggest.  My argument to them is that their freedoms and liberties or “rights” as they like to call them do NOT constitute participation from others.  When you say that I must pay even more taxes to cover welfare programs that I do not agree with, you are then forcing me to do something I do not want to do and taking my own money unwillingly.  No I’m not heartless and yes there are people who are in need, but that still does not give you or anyone else the right to take money that I have earned.  Hence why taxation is deemed as theft by many libertarians and similar ideologies. 

What’s the solution?  I have no idea, but I’ll tell you what I’m going to do.  I will continue to promote/exercise individual liberty and freedom to pursue the life that I want until my dying breath, and maybe if we all adopted this attitude, the powers that be would be less inclined to force their will and the will of others upon our lives, and stop them from forcing you to comply or to becoming a criminal.  The decision and consequences are yours to make, but you will have to live with your action or inaction for the rest of your days.

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What’s your COVID tipping point? When is enough, enough?

“It’s not my job to tell you how to live your life, but it’s also not anybody else’s job to tell me or others how to live ours.”

Gary Phipps

2020 has really been something, aside from very elderly folk, we have not seen something of this magnitude in modern times. Despite where you stand on issues such as lock-down orders, mask mandates, forced store closings and more, YOU as the individual must ask yourself “when is enough enough?” At what point do you say NO, it’s time to start actually living again.

I know some of you are thinking “this guy is the problem. This way of thinking is what got us into this mess”, but if you take a moment to understand my point, you’ll see that’s not the case, nor the point I’m trying to make.

We are now as of November 13th, 2020 nearly 10 months into the COVID “pandemic” and many are saying lock-downs and spikes in cases are expected to continue and get worse. Remember the “14 days to flatten the curve”? I won’t bother posting links to reported numbers from the CDC of other places simply because they aren’t consistent. If you ask a panel of people who are ardent mask/lock-down supporters, most will likely give different “numbers” that they will use to justify these mandates. I’ve found out that arguing “numbers” and “sources” has been one of the most frustrating thing about arguing the validity of the pandemic regardless of the “side” you’re on. It comes down to who the individual trusts with disseminating the information they are digesting, and the truth is, you have no way to know for sure that this information is true or not.

With that being said, how long are YOU willing to accept living under the fear umbrella that is the COVID Pandemic? I understand the thought process of “wear a mask and stay inside for those who are at risk” and other forms of that argument, but are you willing to live like a hermit for the rest of your life for “others safety”? No matter what side of the argument you’re on you SHOULD still have a tipping point. When is enough, enough?

One of my favorite movie quotes of all time from Shawshank Redemption “Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin'” comes to mind when I think about ending the lockdown. Another quote I find fitting is from Benjamin Franklin who says “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Think about this for a second, you’re now nearly a YEAR into the pandemic, one whole year out of your life, how many more are YOU willing to live like this? I for one would prefer living my life freely, able to go to the movies with my kids, go to a restaurant with my friends, concerts and other things that make life WORTH LIVING.

The solution to the pandemic cannot be worse than the sickness itself and we are now way past that point.

Let’s fast forward three more years. The “pandemic” is still ongoing with spikes in infection and lock-downs every few months, hospitals and graveyards are still NOT being overwhelmed, kids now attend school 100% virtually, social skills and interaction with others is on the decline, depression and alcoholism is rampant in society, thousands of business owners have lost their dreams due to lock-down mandates, marriages are ended out of stress about money and lifestyle, and the lower/middle class is nearly completely dependent on federal and state welfare. If you think this outcome isn’t realistic, you’re fooling yourself.

I’m sure there are a bunch of people out there who would willingly live the next 50+ years of their life wearing a mask and adhering to lock-down mandates and orders, but I am not one of them.

You might ask me “Gary, so what’s your solution then if the way we’re doing it now is so stupid?”. My answer is this – It’s not my job to tell you how to live your life, but it’s also not anybody else’s job to tell me or others how to live ours. If you think people should be controlled and told what they can and cannot do, where they can go and where they cannot go, what they can buy and what they cannot buy, then YOU are a bigger threat to living fulfilled life than COVID is to freedom loving people everywhere who only want to live their life the way they see fit.

If you’re worried about COVID or at risk, please stay home, wear a mask and social distance as much as you see fit, but please stop telling others what they should and shouldn’t do, it’s their life, not yours.

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