Some thoughts on preparing for bartering

Buying stuff for your SHTF storage is good off course, and buying it on smart way so you can save some money is always welcome since most of us are not multimillionaires.
But have you ever thought about buying the things for SHTF scenario on some not so „regular“ ways? It will save you money too but maybe even more important is that it will prepared you and show you how finding and buying stuff will probably look when SHTF for real.

I am not advising you to do anything that might be against the law, I am simply gonna give you examples how I find some things. It is up to you how you or if you gonna use anything of it.

Have it when you do not need it (have it before you need it)

One of the most basic rules in preparing and acquiring things for SHTF is that you need to have it before you need it. You may think „oh, but it is so obvious“ yea and no. Sometimes it is not. When SHTF you may find out that it is very important to have for example tetanus shots updated, but then it can be too late. You need to fix that before SHTF.

Simply if you gonna look for the tetanus shots when SHTF price can be high. In every SHTF scenario anywhere in the world there is gonna be people who are gonna make fortune and power by having the stuff that most of the other folks do not have, because it was not so obvious that it is gonna be needed.

Ways to obtain things

Things can be bought in many ways. Some of them are illegal more or less so no advice, just examples.

I buy my fuel from guys who sell it not from the gas station, I buy it always from the same guys so in that way they do not find it useful to cross me with adding strange stuff inside in order to make more money. Repeat customer is good customer.

Where do they get it? I do not know, and I do not want to know. But some examples would be that they are just dealers for the big guy who want to „go across“ some taxes expenses, or they buying it as a „agricultural“ fuel etc. I do not ask. Is it illegal? Yes. Am I seen and did worst things then that? Yea, sure. Survival.

Ways to buy things does not necessary needs to be illegal, it can be just strange and other than you use to. In that way you are just preparing yourself for finding things when SHTF.

Some its like practice for getting things directly from people. Why not start now and tell neighbours what you can get for them cheaply and ask them if they have connection to some stuff too?

I know people in different areas of life. So I know guys from local politics and guys from local small gangs. I like to keep my ear on ground as apart of preparation for coming SHTF. Money is short here and during war people got used to get stuff through other people so the same system still works.

I also often trade for something when it makes sense. I use my preps and trade two pairs of police boots for new jacket for example.

What things do I need?

Do not think only about „ what things do I need?“ feel free to think about „what things people need?“ because you are gonna trade it.

Look around you and keep in mind when SHTF the term „useful thing“ gets whole new meaning. So you ll see ( I saw that ) that for some people it is priority to loot mall and take TV set, stereo or something similar.

I saw few guys in first days of chaos were rolling 4 new car tires from looted mall, they were laughing, very happy because they thought they made good „deal“ with that. I guess pretty soon they realized that those 4 tires are worth like one pocket knife or something similar.

Smarter folks, or you can say people with „vision“ look for the weapons, food or similar useful stuff.

Important thing is that everyone took everything, it was like storm. As the time passed by and when everything „more useful“ was gone people took everything else, like pieces of shelves where stuff was kept. People find use for that too.

For example when SHTF I expect people to smash parking machine for the money inside, I am not gonna care for the worthless coins inside, but those machines work thanks to small solar panels installed on pole above it. I would go for the panels that most of the folks not gonna notice at all.

Small things were always useful to trade. Also some bigger „invented“ things had good price, like small wood stoves made from cans or pressure cookers. Pretty soon people who were skilled made good trade with handmade portable wood stoves.

Maybe you can find something to build with empty cans or other waste products?

People tried to trade everything so you could see some funny stuff too, like I wrote in other post the old FM radio taped to some huge batteries handmade from other sized batteries and taped together. Or homemade teas guaranteed to cure something mixed from different kind of plants.

Of course scams were everywhere and you needed to be very cautious.

It was always better to have more small things to trade then bigger bulkier stuff. Easier to carry and easier to sell. Candles, batteries, lighters, canned food, spices, small tools, pocket knives…

What more you can do today

Of course that preppers look for discounts and wholesale, yard sales and similar chances to save money. But also you need to think about practicing bargaining.
I am buying lot of things on local flea market or through people I know. You can find lot of things on flea markets, and if you look hard you can find stuff that are not usually belong there.

Few rules :

  • Never act like you really need the thing you want to buy (let it be your second choice for example)
  • Split money in more pockets when you bargaining (do not bargaining with hand full of money)
  • Many times seller will set the price basing on how hesees you in that moment. So of course do not show off any symbol of wealth.

Also remember that buying things at the flea market (in your case maybe yardsale or similar) is very good practice for trade in SHTF condition simple because there is a few things similar.

Prices not fixed (they are more thing of oportunity and skills), way how you look act and talk sometimes can be more important than how much money (value) you have in pocket.
Remember that when SHTF lot of things can be valuable, things that you usually would not even notice in normal life.

For example when SHTF batteries and candles had big value, reasons are of course because people are still used to commodity of light at night, using it in every room etc.
But very soon folks realized that candles are something like luxury so for example if you wanted to read book you would read it by daylight, or people in house simple gathered in one room under the light of one candle in order to spare the others.

So value of candles went high up in beginning and then got down.

So if you planned to make some big success with something for trade it can be said that you need to choose correct time. Some things have same high value almost all the time, like coffee, or cigarettes.

Other things gain value over the time, multiple times value. Stuff like some seeds, plants and knowledge about plants like teas, and herbs for healing etc.
Point is if you offered at the beginning stage of SHTF homemade teas as a remedies for something you would not have big success, because people did not believe that SHTF gonna last too long, or in other cases people still had some stash of antibiotics, painkillers etc.

When few month passed and people realized it is gonna SHTF gonna last for longer period, and no doctors, no hospitals, diseases spreading of course that home made remedies become suddenly popular and in the same time much more expensive.

I have more examples about trading in my survival course.

So small things that are kinda ridiculous cheap in normal time and normal life become important equal expensive. One more example would be flints for lighters.
Things like these are very important if you stash many things in order to do much trading to make life easier when SHTF.

Point is to carefully observe what things have what kind of value and more important what thing have chance to multiple value in few weeks or months.

I even knew guy who make small necklaces for luck, you know kinda of small metal on rope and if you carry that all the time you can be sure that bullet gonna miss you, he was something like monk, he trade that for food and it worked. When times are desperate people do and trust in lot of things.

Power of the media

In today’s world it is easy to get fooled and think that all media is there for us, to help us, to keep us updated, to make life easier or whatever.

Some 20 years ago, I was lying in improvised shelter on side of the street, behind big iron garbage truck that was rolled over and full of holes. I waited for dark so I can move on.

I was not alone, me and my friend shared that small piece of cover from open view and snipers with three guys. I know one of them from before, but that did not actually meant anything.

When shooting started we all jumped there almost at the same time. After few minutes we agreed that we gonna share it until the night.

Some half hour later one of them pull out from his bag small fm radio, kinda that we called “pensioner radio”, for walking and listening sports events in normal world.

Actually it looked like he pulled from his bag some brown package and on it was radio taped. That brown package was some kind of homemade battery pack, made I guess from different batteries, 2 times bigger than radio.

Anyway it was important thing in that time, I speak about how important information was in my course.

We all looked at that “machine” like bunch of cavemen would. It was ticket to get more information, real information, not just rumors and reports of crazy killings, that was our hope.

He turned that on, and all that he could find was radio station in other country, pretty close by distance, but light years away at same time. We were listening to some music very quietly, then news came.

We were listening how speaker talked about events in our region, he was something like: “and battles continued …” and that was it.

After that there were long talks about some songs contest, and some dude was interviewed. He talked about his terrible problems in finding correct clothes for movie scene, then about his stage fright… And then radio stops to work.

Big dude who owns it says comically “screw it, it looks like batteries needs some break.”

Rest of us were quiet. But I am sure that we were thinking pretty much same. Here we are, couple of guys in rags, one has some kind of uniform made from 3-4 different uniforms, some have weapon, one has kind of fishing hat on his head, like in some parody.

One guy chewed something, I do not think it was food, he just chewed it for too long. Like he was trying to chew piece of shoe.

Other had two different snickers on his legs, probably result of looting some mall in starting days. Probably all of us together in last 24 hours had like one meal shared among us.

We all hiding behind destroyed dumpster truck, waiting for the night, while some other dude on other side waiting for our heads to come up so he can shoot us. He probably was hungry and weird looking like we are.

And at same time few hours driving distance from there, main problems were how some probably funny looking guy is afraid to go to movie scene, and end of the world problems about choosing correct clothes for that same scene and musical performance.

I had moment much more dangerous before and after that event, but somehow in that moment, I emotionally touched the bottom.

Simply nobody cares for us, we were no news anymore. Left alone. “Battle continues…”

Few months before that same media were screaming about “problems in regions, fear of people getting armed, we need to defend, we need to fight, freedom does not have price, we will prevail, democratic changes, we have the right…”

Leaders from all sides were frantically announcing new age of democracy while in background they prepared to flee. Media helps folks to form opinions, to do things, to start things to happen. And then when all is set in motion you are simply not news anymore.

Same radio host screamed about need “to protect our rights” and “do not fear”. Then same guy told us that it is impossible that war happens because “we have leaders that will find solution” while at same time leaders were leaving area, or piling stuff for tomorrows black market.

We figured later that same leaders own the media actually.

Then when S. hit the fan, pretty soon when every day becomes same in meaning that every day is killing, starving, violence etc. It is not news anymore. Media just covers exciting stuff, because its their business. This is same for all media, also media that keeps saying collapse happens tomorrow and then the week later and then month later.

Mainstream media says everything is good, politicians take care of you and some alternative media keeps promoting news that everything is bad, collapse happens even before it happens. They also need to keep people interested. They all play news theater to keep people interested.

The lesson I learned is dont trust and care about any media much. Be prepared but not scared whole time that collapse happens tomorrow. That is why you are prepared, no need to worry too much. Just monitor events but forget about “opinion pieces”. Look at history of reporter if you plan to trust someone. He uncovered “big scandal” already 3 times but it was only big scandal for him? Forget about him, he or his media company just wants attention or save your time and realize most reporter wants big story and attention and just a few want to really inform people.

Few days ago I was checking one internet page about “world events by years”. I checked the year that I was writing about here, and there were many “important events” in that year.

I found two events very loosely linked to my region, out of the many. One was about some politic demonstration, other was about some agreement. Both of them were in my wider region, but not even close to my city.

Nothing about people in rags fighting for their lives, eating grass boiled in water, catching rain, drinking mud sometimes.

Media showed us in a way. Then media forgot us, we were not usable anymore, we simply did not exist. I understand that, same guys still fighting in same city and so on. It is just important that news show what is new and not really what is going on.

For years I very rarely watched TV, or listened to radio. Not following famous shows, my opinions are not formed by actors, singers, sport stars, or idiots who are famous for one season.

If I find something specific that I want to check I will check it, but I do not want to be pulled in media grinding machine of opinion forming. I read different news articles from different networks and try to find people on twitter who are on the ground of event.

As survivalist and prepper you need most accurate information to make decisions and that is why knowing what is really going on in neighborhood or city is often more important than some shooting of single guy hundreds of miles away. But media always needs drama and presents it in way that its interesting for most people.

Every time when I hear somewhere on radio or TV “shocking news” or “battle started” I imagine few guys in few months laying somewhere in dirt, while nobody cares for them because there is a new star with huge butt, and everyone knows her, in biggest city or in smallest village, even somewhere where electric energy is still new thing. Keep the stupid masses entertained.

Point of everything again is that when SHTF you are alone with what you have prepared and learned. Do not expect media to paint real picture of situation. They are there for news. After initial news and maybe even help from outside because your area is in spotlight you are left alone. Don’t be surprised when you are forgotten.

That’s why we learn to take care of ourselves.