I have always wanted to try bartering. I am not sure I have enough guile or ability to keep a straight face if I really want/need something. I would probably get taken to the cleaners, so to speak. But, I am also a bit stingy, as my husband would attest, so I am not likely to give up much more than I planned on to make a deal. Hopefully those two characteristics can balance each other out.That being said, bartering is a skill that should be practiced as part of your preparedness lifestyle. I imagine on our homestead we will end up doing alot of bartering for things we need or want. Trading eggs, or meat, or milk, for tangibles like grains, feed, etc.

Being part of a preparedness meetup group helps to develop those connections of like minded people. People who might be willing or excited to barter with you for your skills or tangibles.

Maybe you are a skilled mechanic, and someone is a dentist. You could barter a brake job for a teeth cleaning. Or an accountant and a gardener can barter each other services. What if you have an old washer, and someone else has extra chickens… Swap away. 🙂 You can also just as easily swap a chicken for accounting work, or an oil change.

You just have to decide how much you value the thing you are bartering and what you really want or need. If I really need brakes for my tractor, and I have an over abundance of roosters in my flock, I might be willing to part with a large number of meat roosters, for those breaks. I might even be willing to butcher and clean those birds if I really need to make the deal. Knowing your own limits is the first step.

Knowing what the other person wants or needs is the second step. If you can discern what they are willing to part with to get what they want, you are way ahead of the game. For instance, if I know my neighbor needs meat to get through the winter, and he has grain that I need for my flock, we have a sweet deal in the making.

There are 3 ways these bartering situations can go:

  1. Ideal Situation: Everyone thinks they got the best deal. (rare in a survival situation where one person typically needs and the other doesn’t. Most people will think to take advantage even if subconsciously, but  it is possible among mutual assistance group members or friends.)
  2. Usual situation: One person feels ripped off  or at least taken advantage of, while the other person thinks they had a sweet deal. (This is typical in a situation where one needs and the other doesn’t.)
  3. Best alternative situation: Both feel like they got slightly taken, but are still satisfied with the trade. (This is most common when both are not in serious need, and both are successful barterers.)

If you develop a reputation for the second scenario, you may find that people stop coming to you for barter. In all actuality, the 3rd scenario is your best bet to strive for, and the 1st will be difficult, but not impossible if you are an honest and fair person. You have to learn to protect your own interests and be willing to help others at the same time. This is easier if you have plenty of what that person wants or needs. Read my recent post on value and what that might look like.

Below is a fun video of one man’s exceptional experience with bartering, for entertainment purposes only.

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Please tell us about your bartering experiences in the comments below!


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