Barter skills aren’t really something you would spend too much time thinking about. But there is no doubt that when a disaster strikes, regardless of its size or ferocity, it will catch a lot of people off guard. There will be thousands of people left in a virtual world of turmoil, with very little to save them.
But besides preparing yourself with things like bug out bags, bug out shelters, food caches and even emergency home repair supplies (see this article), there are other things that you can prepare for, which will see you succeed where so many others will fail.
Those caught short in a disaster will need help when it comes to surviving and protecting their loved ones and the immediate world, will return to a system once thought of as primitive.
But while bartering might feel old and obsolete to you, it will prove much more once you know how to use it to your advantage.
What is Bartering?
Bartering is a system used when two people agree to make an even exchange of goods or services. While one person gives the other something they have, the other person will repay them with something of their own.
Think of one farmer who grows cows and another farmer who grows corn. If the farmer with the corn wants some milk, he might agree to exchange a bucket of corn for a bucket of milk. If both farmers agree to the exchange then the deal is done.
But there is one inherent problem with bartering. If you only have goods to barter, the other party might attack you for the goods at a later stage. Stocking items of value could turn you into a potential target.
The other problem with bartering goods is that their value lies with those needing the items.
Exchanging a sheep for a chicken might seem very one-sided, but what if the chicken was a laying hen that could supply the owner with fresh eggs on a daily basis? One might consider the chicken to be the more valuable item.
Bartering goods can be risky, especially with people who don’t have much to give. It opens up the chances for conflict and reprisals. But there is another item that you could barter; one far more valuable than anything else you might possess: you.
What Else to Barter
Whilst you might have some great bartering skills to exchange goods for goods, also consider bartering your skills, as well.
Bartering some skills you possess will prove to be invaluable for the community you live in, if you include yourself in one. It will also prevent people from harming you, instead valuing your existence.
Imagine a society or community that would protect you because of the invaluable skills you offer it. Rather than bartering goods for goods, you can barter your services for the goods you need.
One of the most important questions to ask yourself is what exact skills could you possibly offer in times of need? The answer might be one far easier answered if you consider the place you’ll be when the disaster strikes.
People are going to need some very specific skills in order to survive an event. While the skills might not be as refined as some of the specialist jobs currently around, they might be as basic as knowing how to find water or start a fire without modern conveniences.
Hopefully, the following list will give you enough incentive to learn a few, so that you can prepare your mind, and your home.
The Barter Skills You’ll Need
While some of the following barter skills might not seem as difficult to learn as others, never underestimate the power of knowledge. Knowing how to answer a question is easy if you know the answer. But when you don’t, what chance do you have?
Skill #1: Home Defense
While you might not think this barter skill is of much use now, imagine a world with no police, no law and order to keep people safe. People will become vulnerable, unable to defend themselves from marauding gangs who attack and steal on sight.
While this might not entail you fighting the gangs on your own, you might know the neighborhood well enough to lead the people and unite them to protect each other.
That way, you aren’t just protecting yourself or your neighbor, but the entire community at large.
Skill #2: Gardening
Hands up those who already have a small vegetable or herb garden in their backyard? You already possess enough knowledge to grow those items.
You understand when to plant certain items, what they need to survive and how long they take to grow.
The nutrition you need is no different from the nutrition your neighborhood will need as well. Help to set-up their gardens and you’ll have a definite skill worth bartering.
Skill #3: Mechanics
Vehicles will all eventually break down. It’s just a given, considering how many different parts each needs in order to operate efficiently. Sooner or later, your neighbors will need help with fixing their cars and when they do, you’ll be a perfect choice.
Skill #4: Midwifery
Reproduction is not going to stop just because a disaster strikes. Not only will women need help to deliver their babies, but they will also need advice and guidance to help them once the birth is over.
If hospitals no longer exist, this skill is definitely one that a community will need.
Skill #5: Water Purification
Remember how water is the most important element to support life? Without it a person has 72 hours to find some or die.
Whilst many people know how to boil a pot of water, the skills needed to properly purify enough water for long-term survival takes a lot more.
Learn more on water purification here: How to Purify Water 8 Ways and Survive
Skill #6: Survival Skills
Many people don’t know the first thing about living without electricity or surviving outdoors. Being a prepper, you will already possess a lot of the skills needed to survive in many situations.
Simply lighting a fire with 2 sticks could mean bartering a specific skill for something in return.
Skill #7: First-Aid/ Medical Knowledge
Regardless of the size of the disaster, medical services struggle to keep up with demand, leaving many with no medical help. A simple first-aid course could mean the difference for many people, leaving you with an extremely important skill that will prove to be in high demand.
Learn more about first-aid and wound dressing here: 3 Layers of Wound Dressing You Should Know
Skill #8: Home Repair
Depending on the type of disaster that strikes, damaged homes will need repair. Knowing how to protect the occupants and keep their belongings safe from the elements will be a skill much sought after.
Skill #9: Small Engine Repairs
Whilst many people might know how to fix a car, not many know how to repair the smaller engines like generators, chainsaws or water pumps. Having the skills needed to repair them is going to come in extremely handy during a crisis.
Skill #10: Animal Husbandry
Knowing how to turn one chicken into 10 is just as important as knowing how to grow a vegetable garden. There’s a certain set of skills needed to effectively breed animals, and if you know how, you’ve just scored one of the important barter skills.
Learn the Skills and Learn How to Barter Them
An important point to remember is that if you need the skill you are learning, then other people will need it as well. The demand for certain skills is going to go through the roof so take the steps now to make sure you are one of the people in demand.
Don’t be afraid to practice offering them to friends and see just what returns you get now, before a disaster strikes. The results might surprise you.