Here are some great Alternative Post-SHTF “Currencies” that are NOT Gold

When preppers and even non-preppers think “alternative currency” they usually think about gold or silver (maybe Bitcoins). This is odd considering that gold and silver were synonymous with currency for 6,000 years.


At any rate, our modern fiat “currency,” that funny green paper (and 1’s and 0’s) backed up by a lot of … nothing, does not hold any value of its own at all. In times of crisis it will be worthless aside from starting fires, insulation, and toilet paper. You, also, cannot use gold for those simple purposes. Nor can you eat it.


Photo by Market Watch.


It may be that other alternatives may come in more useful. Good news. Great news! Alternatives abound, and this is mainly about things one can barter with. These are things everyone needs and will trade for. Tara Dodrill and Survival Sullivan have a huge list of 20 items you can use as currency with the going gets rough(er). Here’s a look at many of them:


Photo by YouTube.


“When society collapses after a SHTF disaster we all know the bills in our pocket will be worthless – as will the coins in the change jar on the dresser, unless any of them are old enough to have been made with real silver or copper.

So, what will become the SHTF currency? Gold is the most obvious and frequently discussed dollar bill alternative, but it has its drawbacks and many other realistic alternatives also exist. Like most preppers, the hubby and I have purchased gold, but it will not do us any good unless we are bartering for a substantial item worthy of a “high dollar” amount.”



Legacy Food Storage

The List:




Critical for all life, clean drinking water will be in high demand come the day after…


We kind of already see this phenomenon in the larger cities, where street vendors (even homeless people) sell bottles of water on the corners. A case of 24 goes for around $3 and they sell them individually for $1 each. And people buy them. It is proven to work.

Dodrill also mentions purification tablets. These are extremely valuable and much lighter than water itself.


Salt has many valuable uses beyond French fries. And it has historically been an actual form or currency. You can buy it in bulk now or collect it naturally if you live in the right area.


This means more than rubbing alcohol. Whiskey can be used for drinking, cleaning, disinfecting, and even for fuel.


Consider stocking mini bottles of rum, gin, or Scotch. Or a still….



The same eternal properties of gold but much more affordable – now.


Think about warm clothes and blankets. JC Penney might be closed for good after a permanent disaster. Years ago, fur trading was big money. It may be again.


This means hunting, trapping, and tanning skills will again be in demand. One could sell those skills in addition to or in place of the fur itself.

Herbs and Spices

These have much the same usefulness and history as salt. People will pay for the spicy, preserving, or curative properties of pepper, coffee, tea, and ginger, etc.

Precious Gems

They operate on the same principles as gold and silver. Some have technical uses. Most, however, are just a method of storing value and for trading for needed items – they are exchangeable for other needful items

Ammo and Gun Powder and Supplies


These will be in extremely high demand due to their various uses (security, hunting, etc.). In One Second After .22LRs became the defacto currency at Black Mountain.

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Strongly consider a secondary ammo stash, one for bartering. That way you can trade for what you need while maintaining a separate supply for your own uses.



Sugar will be needed for more than candy. See the properties, above, of alcohol and spices. People will trade for sugar, in packages or by the pound. If you have the ability, consider growing and making your own. There will be sweet rewards (sorry…).

Semi-Precious Metals

There’s a reason why, even now, thieves raid homes for wiring and pipes. The metals have value. Whether it’s copper, or steel, or aluminum, it can be used as currency or put to use for mechanical or technical purposes.


Candles and Lamp Oil


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Lighting, heating, and cooking products will be in high demand.

Matches and Lighters

Any firestarter will be tradeable. These can be acquired cheaply today in mass quantities.


People will be willing to trade for the ability to grow food when the stores empty of prepackaged edibles. Stock some in packets and/or dry your own from your garden.




Think about non-powered hand tools and nails, fasteners, etc. Even after doomsday, folks will still need to build and repair.




The builders will have to have something to work with.



Guns, knives, bows, axes, and other weapons will have high value – always.


Be very careful in selling off weapons you may need yourself. And be very careful who you sell/trade them to or with.


Comfort Items

The often overlooked survival category which encompasses a very wide range of items and needs. Dodrill has a good starter list. Use your imagination here.


And other gases and fuels. Storable in tanks large and small.



Some require more room and effort than others – cows vs. rabbits, say.  If you have the land, time, and resources, then livestock will be an excellent commodity.


If you lack the above requirements, then consider stocking some of those things than people with livestock will need – feed, tools, salt, etc.


Again, this is a simply fantastic listing but it is really only the beginning. Someone will always need something. If you have it, they will either pay you or trade for what you need (or try to rob you…).


Look around and take stock of the items you could easily use in place of money. And don’t overlook your labor and skills as well.

*Tara Dodrill is a homesteading and survival journalist and author. She lives on a small ranch with her family in Appalachia. She has been both a host and frequent guest on preparedness radio shows. In addition to the publication of her first book, ‘Power Grid Down: How to Prepare, Survive, and Thrive after the Lights go Out’, Dodrill also travels to offer prepping tips and hands-on training and survival camps and expos.”


Perrin​​ ​​Lovett​​​ ​​​writes​​ ​​about​​ ​​freedom,​​ ​​firearms,​​ ​​and​​ ​​cigars​​ ​​(and​​ ​​everything​​ ​​else)​​ ​​at​​.​​ ​​He​​ ​​is​​ ​​none​​ ​​too​​ ​​fond​​ ​​of​​ ​​government​​ ​​meddling.

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