Every survival and disaster preparedness book recommends that you keep some cash in your stash. The reason is obvious; when the electricity is off, credit card terminals, ATM machines and bank computers will be out of commission. Even if stores are open, without electricity they will not be able to accept your credit or debit cards. All transactions will be cash only.
Keeping a stash of cash for emergencies is good advice and I recommend it too. But your cash is only going to help if the stores are open and stocked with goods, and if they have figured out a way to conduct transactions without computerized cash registers. (Heaven help us!)
Perhaps your neighbor has some goods that you need and is willing to accept your cash in exchange for them. But during a far-reaching and prolonged emergency, a situation could arise in which your cash could be worthless. After all, no matter how much money you have, you can't eat it! If the stores are closed or their shelves are empty, it is also possible that your neighbors will be unwilling to part with their supplies for your money. After all, they can't eat it either. If their goods are essential for their survival, and if they have no immediate use for your cash, then they might not be willing to tradeunless of course you have something that they do need.
This would be a time
when it would be far better to have excess stocks of essential goods rather than a lot of money, which after all is nothing but paper. (Perhaps you will find a use for your paper money when you run out of toilet paper.) Certain items in particular tend to be highly sought after during times of emergency and may be particularly useful for barter. These include batteries, matches, candles, fuel, ammunition, etc. Anything of value can be used for barter. It all depends on your neighbors' wants and needs. You can also barter your services. Perhaps you are good at performing first aid or at processing a deer for example.
While reading the next section of this chapter, the reader may initially think that I have departed from the topic of this web site. Please bear with me as I am confident that its relevance will become crystal clear by the chapter's end. The topic of money is complex so a thorough understanding of the basics is essential. I consider this to be one of the most important chapters in this web site. I assure you that your time will be well spent, for by the chapter's end, if I have been successful at setting the stage, you will understand far better than most what I consider to be our most imminent threat, and just as importantly, how you can successfully prepare for it.
A Brief History of Money