We both know that s*** will hit the fan sooner than later and when that happens, the world will be in chaos. 

And while you and I have had plenty of time to prepare for this moment, the reality is that most people will be completely bewildered when disaster strikes. They probably won’t even know how to start a fire or hunt for food.

This is a great moment for survivalists to prosper. I highly recommend you don’t just stock up on necessities for you and your family, but also leave room for some barter items.

That’s because money will most likely be useless in an apocalyptic scenario. And even if unprepared people don’t have valuable items to barter for, other preppers will certainly be down to trade with you.

There are dozens of items that people will want to barter for, but there are a few cheap ones you can stock up on right now that will be in high demand after SHTF and will prove to be more valuable than gold.

And that’s what I want to talk to you about today. These are items I personally stockpile because they’re cheap, long-lasting and extremely useful after a societal collapse.

  1. Alcohol

The stress of trying to survive will be devastating for non-survivalists. So, people will want to take the edge off and will trade big for some alcohol.

Not only that, but alcohol is also great for disinfecting wounds, starting a fire, repelling bugs, and treating bug bites and poison ivy rashes. Because of its versatility, alcohol will be in high demand after disaster strikes.

Stock up on high-proof distilled spirits, like vodka, rum or whiskey, as they can last an eternity if properly sealed.

  1. Lighters

It might be a cheap item right now, but a lighter will be invaluable when you need to start a fire or cook some food. And those are basic-level necessities for survival, especially in a colder climate.

Most people won’t know how to start a fire, so they will be willing to kill for a lighter. And they’re lightweight as well, so buying some lighters in bulk will likely be one of the best decisions you’ll make as a prepper.

I recommend getting refillable lighters – and if you have some extra room in your bug out spot, get some fuel to barter too. I like clear lighters because I can easily see when fuel is running low.

  1. Anti-inflammatory drugs

Because they’re used to the comfortable lifestyle of today, when disaster strikes people will go nuts if they get a headache or a fever.

Not to mention that tons of people are overweight, so they will probably get some agonizing muscle aches from walking long distances. And women will definitely be dealing with monthly cramps as well…

What I’m trying to say is that the majority of people you’ll meet will probably want to barter for an anti-inflammatory drug. 

And if you catch them when they’re in pain, they won’t even try to bargain – they’ll give you whatever you ask for just to get some temporary pain relief.

The good thing about stocking up on medicine is that even though it has an expiration date, that doesn’t mean it’s not effective after that date passes. 

A study made by the FDA at the request of the military concluded that most drugs are perfectly good to use even 15 years after they’ve expired. Therefore, high demand and a long shelf-life make pain relief drugs a must-have on the barter items list.

  1. Toilet paper

Toilet paper is one of today’s commodities that we just can’t get enough of. I personally stockpile toilet paper like crazy, but I also keep a separate box of rolls to barter in case I run dry on other resources.

Trust me – everyone needs toilet paper. This is one cheap item that will skyrocket in value after SHTF. I like to get individually packaged rolls, as it’s more hygienic and I can barter whatever number of rolls I want.

  1. Water filters

Water filters are not as cheap as the other items on this list, but I would still buy 5 or 6 extra filters to trade. 

If you run into complete noobs, water filters and lighters will probably be two incredibly valuable items for them. And in the long run, even well-equipped preppers will exhaust the ~1,000 gallons of clean drinkable water from a single filter and will be on the search for a new one.

Water filters are the last thing on my list of top 5 cheap items to stock up on for barter after SHTF. So I hope I gave you some new ideas for what to stockpile in your bug out spot’s extra space.

Keep in mind that you’ll also be able to barter your skills for other resources. First aid, building a fire, hunting or even shelter building are skills that we learn over the years… 

Newbies won’t be able to keep up the pace and will beg for advice from an experienced survivalist. So, if you take pity on someone you find along the way and decide to share the knowledge, at least offer your services for a pretty “penny.”

I should also mention that ammunition will be on high demand when SHTF – but be wary of who you make deals with. If I were you, I would only barter ammunition with close friends that I’m sure won’t use those bullets against me.


As a final thought, even if you don’t stock up on these items, I still recommend you make some room in your storage space and fill it with other bartering items. In the long run, your survival will most definitely depend on both your ability to be a good tradesman as well as your skills. Until next time…

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