If ever faced with a true disaster – a real collapse of our society or economy… You can give a kiss good-bye to those little green pieces of paper that we call “money”. Originally, our currency was merely a token for trade; a certificate that was equal to a certain amount of physical gold or silver. But now in the digital financial society, they are worth only the value we give them. So when supplies are tight, production of our daily needed products screeches to a halt, and food is scarce – paper with dead presidents on it will mean nothing. What will matter is self reliance and a return to the traditional act of bartering.
But Even if the Apocalypse never comes, if the banks never shut down, if the Zombies never arrive – bartering can still be used in your everyday life to help you save money, leverage your skills, and provide for your family.
The self reliance that bartering provides is perhaps the most important factor that helps you sail through life’s difficult times. Moving alone has made men out of boys. But man being a ‘social animal’, cooperation and mutual aid also carry profound meaning in our life. These social traits are perhaps of highest value in distressing times such as a disaster. In such times, support and timely assistance can turn the tide.
Exchange or trading usually signifies the monetary/ non-monetary exchange between two individuals or an organization. For example, an accountant charging fee in terms of money or other services is a trade or business transaction. Such exchanges are taxable. Barter, however, means the exchange of values among friends, family and communities. This is not a new idea. It has just lost its significance in modern times.
Let me get into the details to put things into perspective. I spent my childhood in small town in the Carolinas with a strong sense of community. One of my neighbors down the road had a knack for tinkering on cars and engines. He helped people in their auto repairs and general vehicle maintenance every other weekend it seemed. In return, members of the community used to lend him a hand in his odd jobs such as cleaning, yard/garden work etc. So, I am referring to a sort of social bartering here. One where people integrate themselves into each other’s lives harmoniously.
So, what are the types of social bartering? Let me list a few:
• Repair or Renovation skills – Carpentry, auto repair, electrical expertise, plumbing skill.
• Transportation Assistance – Dropping neighborhood children to school; take elderly to medical appointments and airport runs
• Food or Culinary Help – Cooking tuition, community grocery runs or common dinners
• Baby sitting or giving company to elderly
• Coaching or Tutoring – Subject-wise coaching, teaching, excellence in art or music
• Boarding pet animals – Pet care programs during vacations/weekends, training session
How to Start Bartering
Bartering can begin with a simple approach. Here is a 4 step formula to get you started:
• Communicate – Share your talents among the community and know about other’s talents as well. Get to know your neighbors. Different people can be grouped together to create a wholesome community or neighborhood.
• Commitment – Start with a handshake and be true to your word. Trust is paramount.
• Deliver your Promise – Honor people’s trust by working with dedication at our duties.
• Share – Experiences count a lot. Share your knowledge and develop bartering further.
Successful bartering can make cash feel redundant – no matter what state our economy or society is in. Tasks can be accomplished without any cash provided your bartering is based on solid trust and values. When it comes to bartering remember one thing – be creative and explore new opportunities.
One of the most important areas of bartering is trade. Having the right items on hand, items in HIGH demand in a disaster scenario, can give you the upper hand during a social breakdown. If you are able to leverage these items in trade within your community, you can easily overcome the lack you didn’t notice in your preparedness plan before the s*** hit the fan. This may sound easy but there’s a level of finesse you’ll need to implement this at an expert level.
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