Letter Re: Salt and Other Key Items to Store for Barter

Mr. Rawles:
I recently stocked the salt supply to the point that I have barter material, purchasing salt for under a penny an ounce. That is a pretty good investment, if you ask me. I purchased four 25 lb. bags @ $3.99 each. Salt is going for between two and three cents an ounce in the supermarkets, but a local restaurant supplier had the bags on the bottom shelf. I will get more the next time I am there. And while I was on the salt kick, I got my first salt block for my supply, and also picked up two of the ten pound blocks to stash for…yep, barter.

Also, after canning several batches of butter and margarine, I realized that this is something that most people will not have. It is very cost-prohibitive for the average bargain hunting prepper to buy the canned butter, but at 59 cents a pound, margarine is cheap. It cans beautifully, and the shelf life is about two years, with some going longer. I am canning some in the 4 oz. jars for ease of barter. If you have the room to store it, it is a great item to have on hand! Let’s face it, a pat of margarine goes a long way to a semblance of normalcy! Not a necessity by any means, but so nice on that cornbread or hot yeast bread! Directions for this process are all over the net, and many sites have pictures. It is actually fun to do, and takes no special equipment.

I also have been buying all the over the counter medications that I can get on clearance, knowing that these items will be in big demand. Just because the store can’t sell it doesn’t mean it isn’t good. Think about it. How can they keep us buying if they tell us the real shelf lives of these products?? It may lose a bit of potency, but it is still good.

I never go into a store without checking the clearance aisle. Spices, medications, first aid, and toiletries are often there, and cheap. I can get them at a pittance. I also make a game of the advertised specials, looking for the real deals, the “loss leaders” [a retail item that is sold at cost or even below cost to attract customers.] If it isn’t 50% off, it isn’t a good sale!

Even with the strict rules for stocking, I have to get creative now with storage. Prepping can be done, on a budget, without breaking the bank. And it can also yield the items that will barter our way into what we don’t have. By stocking when the sales occur, and using from our stock for the everyday items, the money goes so much further. Even if the Schumer never hits the fan, this is a way of living that makes sense, provides physical and emotional security, and stretches those pennies to the maximum.

I would rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it! – Sparky

JWR Replies: Salt will indeed be a crucial barter item, especially in inland areas.

When planning for barter, consider container size. For salt, a one pound paper canister, while somewhat inefficient use of storage space is the ideal size for barter. My advice: Store your own family salt supply in bulk, but your barter stock in small and convenient containers.

In addition to planning fri cooking and food preservation, you should store lots of salt for attracting big game.As I’ve written before: After TEOTWAWKI, you shouldn’t “go hunting.” That would be a waste of effort. Have the game come to you. If you have the storage space, buy 20 or more large (50-pound) salt blocks. These will also make very valuable barter items, for your neighbors that most likely won’t plan ahead as well as you.