Barter is the act of trading goods and services directly, rather than using currency. Long before credit cards, checks, cash, and even gold or silver were minted; people would barter. Vegetables were traded for tools, salt for construction labor, and all other possible combinations. Barter is also used in modern society as it allows one to avoid taxes and generally be more self-sufficient.
Bartering has some issues that do need to be addressed.
- Value can be difficult to agree upon. Unlike currency which has a fixed value that is generally negotiated ahead of time, bartering requires the involved parties to negotiate the exchange rate between their goods or services.
Sometimes barter systems will have some standard substitute currency, usually these items are scarce and/or universally desired. While there is no guarantee of any item becoming a standard currency following a disaster, there are some items widely thought to be potential substitute currency.
- Alcohol as a beverage, fuel, or for medicinal purposes
- Ammunition - invest in Copper-jacketed lead precious metal
- Food, especially rarer of luxury items such as chocolate
- Precious metals such as silver and gold bullion or coins
- Medicine - Medicinal Herbs
- Tobacco, as commonly seen in prison
- ZS Barter Thread
- Money stack exchange: "What assets would be valuable in a post-apocalyptic scenario?"