The Value of a Thing…

The value of a thing is what that thing will bring. – Legal Maxim

As part of a larger “prepper” community, I hear people talk alot about what will be valuable should a collapse of the fiat money (dollars) system happen, or something worse a collapse of the government as a whole.

While many people are purchasing gold stocks, and gold mutual funds to try to beat inflation rates, which is a good idea if you have the income to support it, and have faith that your investment will be returned. If you have any doubts, your other option is to be actual tangible gold – bullion, coins, and even high grade jewelry – will offer some protection.

Others look to silver as the most trade-able, usable “money” option. Because of it’s lower value it is easier buy for those with less disposable income. It should also prove easier to spend on everyday things should a collapse occur.

Others try to figure out what people will want in a grid down situation and stock up an “trade goods”. These are things they might not use themselves, but assume other people will value. Things like coffee, cigarettes/tobacco, alcohol are common threads you will hear discussed.

The truth is, we are gambling that we will know what people will want to the detriment of not having the things we (or they) may need. Things that will truly have value to people and themselves when infrastructures are down.


For me, that first means food. If we don’t have enough to eat, and ways to produce our own food, all the cigarettes or alcohol in the world won’t do us any good. Because of this we spend money on food storage for our family. If we continue to stock up on food, we may have enough to trade if needed.

People will do just about whatever they need to in order to get food.

“Our children are crying for food and we are going to get it.

We are not going to let our children starve.”
– parent at England, Arkansas

This statement was made back when people still believed in working for what they have, but in today’s society we have people, blaming homeowners for shooting burglars. They claim that robbing other people is their only source of income, what else can they do, they are victims of their circumstances? In a society like that, imagine what those people would be willing to do in a disaster situation.

When stocking up on food, some things are easy to forget.

  • Proteins – canned meat, tuna, peanut butter, protein powder, etc.
  • Fats – Tuna in oil, peanut butter (haha! yup again), canned butter, olive oil in cans, etc. Fat calories are very important. You can starve if your diet doesn’t have enough fat in it, no matter how many calories you are eating in other foods.

Seeds go hand in hand with food. Many people may be stocking up on food storage thinking that they just need to hold out till the government comes. But if the government doesn’t come, they will need to be able to grow their own food. Or you may find that you are sharing with your neighbors and will need to get a neighborhood garden going to feed all those extra people. Seeds will be highly valuable and trade-able. So will the skills and knowledge to grow food.

Consider raising Farm Animals if your ordinances or space allow. You can keep a small number for your personal use, and easily expand production should times dictate. You can trade the meat butchered or trade breeding stock.

  • Chickens offer a great source of protein and fat in eggs as well, so people will often trade for a chicken or two to get the eggs, or you can trade the eggs.
  • Rabbits are a prolific meat source, but offer little in fat value. If you have access to fats, or other meat sources, rabbits make an excellent addition and provide wonderful fertilizer as well.
  • Goats are a nice meat source being far more efficient than cows for both milk and meat per acre and feed required. Goats survive on just about any food source, and regularly throw twins. They are also fairly fatty.
  • Small breed pigs are an excellent meat and fat source and again high value for space and feed requirements.

Medical Supplies

Many people overlook this much needed item while they are prepping. They may have a well stocked first aid kit, but what happens when you can’t get to the store for more band-aids or gauze? Also, purchasing medical supplies from the store is expensive and give limited quantities.

Another place you can purchase medical supplies is feed stores, and vet supply stores. All the items are just as good for humans as well as animals and you can purchase items like syringes, that you can’t get otherwise.

Try purchasing your medical supplies online and in bulk. This gives you a good storage for your own use and possible trade goods. Items to consider would be:

  • Gauze and bandages
  • Rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, etc.
  • Ointments
  • Sutures and needles
  • Medical tape
  • Syringes
  • Antibiotics

Guns and Ammo

According to American Police Beat, the average response time for an emergency call is 10 minutes. Atlanta has the worst response time with 11 to 12 minutes and Nashville comes in at a lightning speed of 9 minutes. via Average-Police-Response-Time to a 911 call?

Yes, I said it… Guns serve an important purpose in an emergency situation where there is no help save your own. Current police response times average 10 minutes. That is in the best of circumstances in a non-emergency situation. For me, that is not good enough. What happens during an emergency where roads are possibly destroyed or backed up? That response rate will become a non-response rate.

While you may be anti-gun now, when the time comes you have to defend yourself or your family and police are to tied up with emergency services or with their own family’s safety, you will be glad you have one.

The New Orleans police chief, Edwin P. Compass III, resigned yesterday after the department announced that 250 police officers — roughly 15 percent of the force — could face discipline for leaving their posts without permission during the storm and its aftermath. via When Storm Hit, National Guard Was Deluged Too (Report on Katrina)

That being said, guns are probably the number one hunting tool out there. If you haven’t had the opportunity to grow your own meat source, such as chickens, pigs or rabbits, hunting will be your main source of protein when your food stores run out. If you are on a homestead already or plan to homestead, you probably know that you will have to defend your livestock from predators. Having livestock guardian dogs will help, but in case you get a persistent pest, you will probably want a rifle.

Remember to stock enough hunting calibers (different animals take different caliber firearms for humane hunting) and cartridges (ammo) for your weapons. Also, ammo will prove to be exceedingly trade-able should the time come. So you really can’t have to much. Also, learning the skill to reload your own ammunition could prove invaluable.

Prepper 365 has a good article on his experience choosing a weapon for home defense. While you may want a hunting weapon, some of the pitfalls he experienced are similar across the board.

Good for other circumstances

These 3 main things I will find most valuable in the event of an economic collapse or other type of disaster that leaves us stranded. They will also serve me best in the event of other minor, yet more probable, emergencies as well – Loss of job, short term disaster such as earthquake, storm, etc. I feel that many people will be wanting to trade for these things should the time come. And I will NOT be trading my usefull goods for their gold or silver. Since I can’t eat it, shoot it, or stuff it in a wound to make it heal. So for any type of long term situation, I will trade for things I will need like, feed for my animals, fertilizer maybe, parts for machinery that breaks down over time, and services I can’t do myself. Those things will have value to me worth trading for.

If I have money left over or find a crazy good sale, I might purchase hard alcohol. It stores FOREVER and is good for medicinal uses such as making herbal tinctures, sterilization, and as a last resort pain killer. I can also use it as trade goods for those who find value in booze.

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