For many preppers, bartering is part of their plans. Bartering is the exchange of goods and services without the exchange of money. Say you needed eggs from your neighbor, but didn't have any money to pay for them. You might offer some produce from your garden as payment for the eggs. Your neighbor and you are bartering goods with the outcome that it will be beneficial to both of you.
Bartering works if you are practical about what you have and the value of the items you have to barter with. Most people will be looking to barter things they can eat or use. They will be more willing to help you roof your home in exchange for you helping roof their home. Ideally, bartering should be equal value and equal service. Most people will be very happy to trade on these terms and be conscientious about fulfilling their end of the bargain.
Having watched many people (including my father) barter successfully time and time again, bartering does work. You need to be conscious of the value of the things you are bartering. You need to be willing to do the research on the items you have as well as what you want and be fair to the other person. Most of the time, both parties save a lot of money by exchanging the items they do not want anymore for items they do want.
Many preppers think that bartering is a good solution to today's economy and think this is what will happen in the post-SHTF scenario. Many preppers prepare for this by stocking goods that they think other people will want. While this can be done and done well, there are some misconceptions and problems with bartering.
The problems with bartering are twofold. While bartering is a good idea, you need to be realistic about what you plan to barter and what you think the other person will have.
Another side problem to this is thinking that you will be getting in trade what you paid for an item. Once an item has left the store, the value of that item has declined already. Even if you have only used an item once or twice, that item is not worth what you paid for it. For example, you spent $400 on a brand new window air conditioner unit. You only used it a few times that summer and then it went into storage for a few years. You know someone now who is willing to barter some goods for that a/c unit. However, you will not get $400 for that unit. That unit is probably only worth $200 now that is has been used and in storage. You need to be realistic about the value of the item and not what you think it should be worth.
However, that leads to another problem with bartering. The value of someone's labor can be defined, but sometimes it is not fairly valued. For example, someone is looking for a place to stay for a few days, but they do not have any money. They are willing to do some labor in order to have a place to sleep. That is where you have to decide what is fair and equal value. You can ask for him to help pick produce, mow, paint, or other services for a place to stay. However, treating that person like slave labor and making them work for fourteen hours a day is not necessarily fair value for staying in your home for a few days.
While there are people who think that bartering can replace in part (if not in whole) the economy in harder times, that viewpoint is generally seen as unrealistic. There are too many people who will not be honest or hold up their part of the barter. Even in today's marketplace, people lie about the condition or the value of an item. Some people will lie just to get what they want especially if they feel no one will be able to hold them accountable.
While these are all problems that can be dealt with and overcome, being very realistic and practical about bartering is the only way it is going to work. You can not always anticipate your needs and may need your neighbor's help to get things done. If you exchange labor for labor, you will keep good relations with your neighbors. If you understand that your eggs are worth about $2.00 a dozen and your neighbor has some products of equal value, you have a fair barter.
What are your thoughts on bartering? Do you plan to barter? Do you think it will work?
Thanks for reading,
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