When a disaster occurs, either a natural one, or a manmade one, supplies can be cut off or extremely limited in the affected area. When Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans in 2005, she not only devastated the city, she took away the supplies that the residents needed to survive. She took out the electrical systems as well—meaning that the residents that remained had to make due with the cash they had on hand to survive.
What do you do if you have no cash, but need supplies in the event of a disaster? You barter. The idea behind bartering is simple. You trade an item you have for one that you need. In everyday bartering you can offer any number of products or services to bartering partners. If you are creative, you can make artwork, crafts, or other items to trade for the items you need. You could even offer services, such as house cleaning, copywriting, or consulting, to provide value for the people with whom you barter. Emergency bartering works the same way—but you will be offering items you have stashed away in exchange for the goods and services you may need to survive.
One of the challenges of bartering is determining the value of the items or services you offer, and matching them with the value of what you need. A good trade will involve an equal exchange of value. Keep in mind, though, that value can be subjective. If you create gift baskets, for example, these items may hold great value for people who need unique, personalized gifts for their friends, family members, or coworkers. Your trade should be based on this value, instead of on the actual amount of time and money you put into creating the item.
The value of what you need can also be subjective. If you need a written brochure for a candle making business, a good copywriter might be able to produce a compelling document in a matter of a few hours. Still, the finished brochure can be of high value to you, because it can help dramatically increase your sales.
One of the keys to successful bartering is finding out what people want or need, and how you can provide it. In the event of a disaster or emergency of some type, if you have a lot of one item on hand, like bottled water, you should be able to trade this for items that you need, like gasoline, food, or a radio.
When you prepare an emergency kit for your home, consider adding extra supplies to barter with, or to share as needed. If you are traveling and have an emergency, keep in mind that you may be able to barter for some of the items you need—many cultures are skilled in bartering, and trading is an accepted form of commerce in many parts of the world.
Bartering isn’t just for emergencies! In today’s tough economy, people are looking for creative ways to obtain the things they need or want while saving as much money as possible. If you have been searching for ways to reduce your household expenses, bartering can be a great option. Bartering allows you to get just about anything for free – no matter what you need; chances are you can work out a barter.