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Friday, January 20, 2012

Survival Skills for Barter

Original Article

image by Bekathwia
When preparing for an emergency or long term survival situation, it is good to think about items that will be useful for barter.  Maybe there is someone who will have all the supplies he or she needs and all the know how to use them so they can be totally self sufficient, but I’m guessing that will be pretty rare.  The rest of us will have to barter some of what we have for the things we need.

You could barter with physical goods.  Extra food and survival gear will be desirable.  However, how much “extra” do you have?  And at what point do you decide that you really have “extra” food, medicine, toilet paper, etc.?

Here is where your skill set comes into play.  If you have survival skills that you can barter with, you will never run out.  And skills don’t take any extra space in your food storage room (although some may require some types of equipment to perform properly).  Many survival skills are lacking in today’s general population and someone may gladly trade you something you want or need if you’ll perform a service for them.  Of course, survival skills may keep you or your family alive as well, so they’re worth having even if you don’t want to barter with them.  So here are some valuable survival skills for barter–feel free to add to the list in the comments.

1. Medical skills.  From first aid to use of herbs to minor surgery, medical skills are way up on the list of barter skills.  May require specific equipment, so make sure to have the items you need.

2. Gardening.  Someone has seeds but doesn’t know what to do with them?  Trade them garden work for a portion of the produce.

3. Construction.  Working with hand tools, wood, metal, etc. to build shelters, tools, and whatever other implements are necessary for survival.  Have the tools you need to accomplish the work.

4. Sewing/mending.  If I can provide you with a “like new” pair of pants by patching the ones you own, what’s that worth?  You’ll need basic sewing supplies like needles, thread, buttons, extra fabric, etc.  Also look into supplies capable of handling heavy jobs for repair of canvas, coats, or other thick materials.

5. Off grid cooking.  Your neighbor has a bunch of wheat in buckets in their basement, but doesn’t know how to make it into real food their family will eat.  You cook their food for both of you to eat.  Good deal.

6. Manual labor.  Some folks may not be able to physically dig themselves out of the rubble or get rid of that tree that fell in their yard.  Here’s where a strong man or woman could use a basic skill that really doesn’t require much training other than being reasonably physically fit.

7. Reloading ammo.  This will require some specialized equipment and supplies.  Not sure how many bullets, how much powder, brass, etc. you can store, but reloading could come in handy.

8. Vehicle repair.  Cars, bicycles, etc.  This will probably also require some specialized tools.
In general, any ability to make, build, produce, or repair something of use is a potential barter skill.  Skills can be traded for physical products or for other skills.  And, unlike extra toilet paper,  you can trade your skills again and again without the concern of running out of them.

So what skills do you have that you could barter with?  What skills would you trade for if someone else had them?

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