There may someday come a time when our current form of currency won’t be worth the paper it is printed on. If this were to come to pass, you may find yourself in need of either goods or services and need to render some form of payment. Thus, it may be prudent to stock up on a few things that are somewhat inexpensive now but may be worth their weight in gold down the road.

The first thing that comes to mind are those items we might consider vices now. Tobacco and booze top that list. There is little need to go out and get top shelf product either. Those people who would be willing to trade you some extra meat for booze won’t be concerned too much if it isn’t Glenfiddich single malt. For tobacco, I’d suggest storing it in your freezer (while it is still working), as well as some rolling papers. Just buy the larger canisters of loose tobacco as that’s much cheaper than a carton or two of even the cheapest cigarettes.

Coffee is another great idea, though I’d suggest storing it as “raw” beans, roast and grind them as needed. Candy, gum, and other sweets, if stored properly, will last a good, long time.

Moving away from consumables, some hard goods to keep on hand for barter would include needles, thread, matches, candles, blankets, soap, and fishing supplies (hooks, line, etc.).

I have seen some people advocate using ammunition, especially .22 shells, as currency. Personally, I don’t like the idea of giving bullets to anyone who might conceivably use them against me at some point.

How many fish hooks would equal a can of food? I have no idea, that’d be up to the people conducting the trade. Remember though, the best trade is one where each person thinks they got the better deal.

Aside from stocking up on goods, you might also consider what skills you have that might be “marketable” down the road. If you know how to sew by hand, you could probably trade some mending for extra candles or something. Be sure to stock up on anything and everything you might need for your hobby/career.

Remember, the items you stock up on for barter purposes are secondary to the stuff you put aside for you and your family. Meaning, only worry about the barter items after you’ve stocked up on what you and yours need to survive.

Caffeine Addiction

Raise your hand if you drink caffeinated beverages on a daily basis. Coffee, tea, soda, whatever. Yes, you in the back, this does include those lattes and frapps you love so much. Now, let’s say there’s a disaster of some sort that affects your area. Long-term power outage for example. Something that is going to last a few days at least, maybe from an ice storm perhaps? What are you going to do for your caffeine fix?

Some time ago, I suffered through a brutal bout of the flu. The kind where just the thought of anything other than sips of water is enough to curdle your stomach. It was a whole lot of no fun. But what made it worse was the caffeine withdrawal. Just as I started to feel better, the headache hit. I’m here to tell you there is nothing that will cure that headache outside of feeding that caffeine monkey.

If you are like me and are an admitted (or even a closeted) caffeine addict, you’d be well advised to consider this in your emergency preps. Plan now for a way to satisfy that addiction. If nothing else, maybe include a packet of caffeine pills in your emergency kits. Tea of course can be made quite readily by heating water over a fire. But, if tea won’t cut it for you, try instant coffee.

Emergency situations are stressful enough, don’t add to it by having to think through the caffeine withdrawal headache on top of everything else.

Radio Scanners as Survival Tools

I rarely ever recommend folks to go out and buy the latest and greatest gadgets for survival preps. However, this is one piece of equipment I feel is worth the price. A radio scanner, sometimes called a police scanner, allows you to listen in on radio traffic (police, fire, rescue squad, etc.) in your area. As long as you don’t modify them so as to hear cordless phones or other prohibited conversations, they are quite legal to own and use.

You can find them at any decent quality electronics store, such as Radio Shack. I don’t recommend buying one at a big box discount retailer, such as Walmart, unless you know exactly what to look for in a unit. Be prepared to spend upwards of $100.00 to get a decent one. You want something that has an AC adapter to plug in at home, as well as being able to run on batteries or a DC plug for your vehicle. Further, get a portable one (handheld) rather than a base unit. I’ll explain why shortly.

The idea here is to perhaps get some degree of warning with regards to emergency situations. Radio traffic concerning roadblocks, for example, would allow you to plan a different route out of town if you’re trying to evacuate the area.

These scanners are programmable. Odds are good they’ll try to sell you the latest edition of the book that lists all the different radio frequencies. Don’t bother as this information is free online. My particular unit has 10 “banks” of 40 channels each. A bank is nothing more than just a group of frequencies. I can set it up to scan one bank, all of them, or any combination thereof. You want to program in all the emergency services frequencies in your area. Keep those all in the first few banks of your scanner. Then, program in State and Federal agency frequencies as they may apply to your area and concerns.

Now, here’s why you want a portable unit. If you anticipate having to travel any distance to get to your emergency retreat location, program the last few banks with the emergency services frequencies for the areas you’ll likely travel through between home and your retreat. Doing so will perhaps allow you a “heads up” as you approach those areas.