When Money Dies; Lessons From Weimer Germany (Book Review)

What would you do if your money lost half of its purchasing power within a month?

Or, what if it only had half it’s purchasing power by this afternoon?

It may just sound like I’m trying to scare you, but, this kind of rapid currency devaluation is exactly what happened in the Weimar Republic from 1918 to 1923 between the two world wars.

I am sure you’ve heard the saying “those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it”.   so let’s see what we can learn.

When Money Dies, by Adam Fergusson, is an exhaustively thorough look into the causes, and effects, of the hyperinflation period that crippled the Weimar Republic during the early 1920’s. It is also an exhaustive read, as Fergusson meticulously describes the exponential increases in the money supply, and subsequent decreases in its purchasing power, number by number, through every order of magnitude (and there are quite a few).

It reads like a research paper, which speaks to the information’s validity, but, makes it hard to digest and process. In this article I’ll give you the most important lessons gleaned from this valuable historical account. The parallels with our own economy today are frightening, To put it bluntly; sometimes it felt effortless to interchange the current United States’ predicament and the situation in Weimar Germany.

Hyper Inflation?

“Hyperinflation is inflation that is very high, or, out of control” according to Wikipedia. That sounds about right. For example, Germany’s Papiermark declined from 4.2 per U.S. dollar at the outbreak of World War I to 1 million per dollar by August 1923. To also give you some perspective, toward the end of the hyperinflation period, the Riechbank was printing 100 trillion dollar notes with regularity.

To see what that looks like in a graph, see below:

when money dies chart


More Money More Problems

Ultimately, the hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic was caused by the government’s decision to repay its war debts & reparations payments by printing more bank notes. By increasing the money supply exponentially, they also devalued the currency exponentially, sometimes overprinting notes to a thousand times their nominal value. The money became so worthless from this overprinting that millions of papiermarks were needed to buy things like bread or milk.

Look at this commemorative coin, which displays some of the prices for basic goods at the end of hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic:

when money dies mediallion

A medal commemorating Germany’s 1923 hyperinflation. The engraving reads: “On 1st November 1923 1 pound of bread cost 3 billion, 1 pound of meat: 36 billion, 1 glass of beer: 4 billion.”

To the man on the street in Germany, it appeared that the price of goods was increasing dramatically, but in reality, the purchasing power of their currency was decreasing. This is a subtle, but important, dynamic to understand, and it is more representative of the systemic problem from which it derives: a currency which is being devalued.

Does any of this sound familiar? Paying debts off by printing bank notes? Rising cost of living and rising food costs? Deficits piling up with no ability to pay back loans?

Seeing a currency hyper-inflate in a graph is one thing, but to actually see what this all looks like in reality paints a much more grim picture.

Who Was Hurt The Worst?

Pensioners, fixed income retirees, and people who slavishly believed the State would take care of them were the hardest hit. As prices rose, the fixed incomes did not and the purchasing power for these people was reduced to nothing.

Employees of businesses could and did, negotiate for higher wages as the inflation continued. These wage increases generally did not keep up with the loss in purchasing power, but at least they did increase somewhat. Small business owners could also increase prices of their goods to try and keep up, but in general, everyone was hurt in the process.

The primary lesson here is to make sure you are not dependent on Gov’t handouts or a retirement account for your sustenance.

Did Anyone Profit?

The biggest ‘winners’ were the industrialists who used debt effectively by borrowing at one value, holding the produced goods until they sold at inflated prices, and repaying the loan with much left over to spare. They did this over and over again and while it was profitable, they had to keep up the ever increasing pace or they would quickly be destroyed. It was sort of like running on an ever increasing treadmill. While the pressure was immense, and the process very risky, the industrialists did gain a lot of assets.

The main lesson here is if you produce something valuable and useful and you manage your inventory carefully, you’ve got an edge. I am not advocating the use of debt, but it was a successful strategy which made the industrialists incredibly wealthy.

Exodus Of Wealth

With exponential rises in the cost of living the German people were reduced to selling prized possessions and family heirlooms to make ends-meet. The exodus of wealth from Germany was massive as rich foreigners came in from all sides to buy up German goods for a fraction of their former cost. Increasingly destitute and starving Germans sold anything of value to visiting Frenchmen and Englishmen. Musical instruments, jewelry, furs, rugs, china, were all sold off just to pay for meager rations of food. In one journal a woman described selling her family’s grand piano for a sack of potatoes. Another account described an old woman who made ends meet by cutting off links from her gold chain every day. We don’t know what happened to her once the last link was sold.

In some ways this selling-off helped the people survive and hold on for a bit longer. But there were two very painful consequences: the selling stripped the country of almost everything of value, and it created greater animosity between the German people and the rest of Europe. .

This same ‘stripping by foreigners’ is going on right now in Greece as that country falls apart. There are reports of Chinese and other Europeans going into Greece to buy up assets of every kind including precious metals, fine art, land, factories, and other valuables.

A question I wonder about is when the US currency begins to hyper-inflate, will there be any other countries wealthy enough to come in and buy, or will the end of the US dollar cause a world-wide depression?

Appearances, and Stock Markets, Can Be Deceiving

In the midst of all the suffering, as the middle class was destroyed and the gap between rich and poor widened, there were still shops and coffee houses, restaurants, and shows going on. These catered to the wealthy industrialists, the foreigners, and the upper levels of the government, who, of course, managed to keep their incomes up to par. Because of these bustling shops and apparent upscale businesses, it was not so easy to recognize the underlying deprivation going on among the regular people.

Another confusing sign was a strange frivolousness that developed among the common people. With rapidly increasing prices, saving money was sheer stupidity. A ‘spend it while you have it’ and a ‘live for the moment’ attitude developed. People became less careful with their money because of their lack of faith in it. Some people took on an almost with a bizzarre party attitude of TEOTWAWKI because you just didn’t know how long the money would be good – so spend it all NOW on whatever there is, and why not just drink it up? There were numerous stories of people who had a windfall of money and immediately spent it on booze and threw a party.

LESSON: recognize that things are not always as they seem. Just because down town is bustling, and there is a party next door, it doesn’t mean all is well.

With such rapid changes in fortunes and volatility of the economy in general, came all sorts of speculation and ‘get rich quick’ schemes. One woman wrote that it seemed there were financial advisers everywhere telling you what to do. People who wouldn’t have normally participated in the stock market began to gamble there. The prices of stocks did rise, reflecting the increase in prices of everything in general. If all you were doing was watching the stock market you wouldn’t necessarily know how sour the economic downturn was.

The lesson here is: don’t look to the stock market as an indicator of health for the economy! Here in the US today, we see stock market rallies, and jumps upward, all the while unemployment continues to rise and our credit score is down…

when money dies photo of paper marks

Man using paper marks as wall paper

When Money Isn’t Trusted, Distribution of Goods Stops

Here is an example of just how business grinds to a halt when money dies. During this time, Germany still had lots of agriculturally productive land all across its countryside; And in fact, bumper crops were produced during several years in this period. But with the money becoming more and more useless, the farmers would not sell their products for the increasingly worthless cash. Food staples like butter, sugar, salt, vegetables, and other necessities became so expensive that many shops couldn’t stock them, people couldn’t afford them, and many businesses closed.

Barter ensued for a while, but once the city people had traded everything of value, there was nothing left to trade, and the abundance of food in the countryside never got distributed to the urban areas.

A big lesson here is to realize how important bartering will be in certain situations. It’s a good idea to get used to trading without money now, before you have to depend on it to get essential supplies. Another lesson is to stock up on useful items just for the purpose of trading them when money no longer works. (Hmmm, I could write up a list of really useful items for trading, and how to go about getting some bartering experience – drop me a note in the comments section if you are interested).

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Desperate People Take Desperate Measures

Bands of people from the urban areas were known to go into the small farming villages looking for whatever they could find. These were mostly dis=organized and chaotic groups. Some of the accounts of these raids were horrifying, and remain a testament to how drastically the nature of a people can shift when put under such crushing economic pressure. These people reached a level of desperation we cannot imagine. They no longer had anything of value to trade, no hope of employment, they were cold, and they were starving. Keep in mind that these were people who in normal times were decent, hard-working, capable folks. The extreme duress that made them even consider going out to rob and pillage also made them crazy. Literally insane. There were descriptions of how the city folks needlessly ransacked and destroyed. The written testimonies of the farmers went something like this: “we would have understood if they (the looters) had just stolen food, but we couldn’t understand why they destroyed everything else”. There were descriptions of furniture and household items broken, clothing scattered everywhere, livestock mutilated, granaries ransacked with grain wasted, crops trampled, and tools destroyed. One example was of a highly prized milk cow whose udder was slashed open and the cow left to stand bellowing in pain (the cow was unrecoverable and had to be put out of her misery by the returning farmer).

Who would have thought that a formerly first-world nation could be reduced to pillaging between citizens and sporadic anarchic violence in a matter of a few short years.

The lesson here is a painful and difficult one, be prepared to defend yourself and property with arms. And realize you will not be facing ‘normal’ rational people, but good people driven to insanity by intense deprivation.  (While this site focuses mainly on food and medicine, drop me a note in the comments section if you are interested in personal and home security.  I’ve been reading, watching videos, and taking training – a lot of which is not really that useful for the average person – but I have found a few gems which I would be glad to share – again, put a comment down below and I’ll get it out to you).

Corruption Becomes Entrenched

Finally, the most insidious consequence of the hyperinflation was that corruption became the norm to what had otherwise been a very honest and trustworthy population. Onerous taxation and laws drove everyone to cheat or lie on taxes or business reports. You could not survive without being involved in black market or illegal trading. Bribing and corruption of police, judges, and government officials became a necessity for even the most common of person. Throughout this period corruption became entrenched in the people and opened the way to tyranny…during this time period, history saw the first appearance of Adolf Hitler, of the National Socialist Party (Nazi’s for short).

when money dies woman burning notes

Woman burning paper notes for warmth


Having had their entire way of life stripped from them in less than half a decade, the German people were looking for any way out of their predicament. The fervor-inducing rhetoric of Adolph Hitler’s speeches, which railed against the rich foreigners who had bought up much of Germany’s wealth and promised to restore Germany’s former glory, resonated with the destitute German populace. Jewish Germans were specifically targeted (a stigma that developed during the hyper-inflationary years) because of their wealth, and were an easy scapegoat to create focus on and place blame.

Once brought to their knees, the German people were happy to follow anyone that would lead them out of their current state. We forget sometimes that Hitler was popularly elected. And we all know what happened there…

Ultimately, the corruption at the core of a society spreads to its limbs, like a sickness. The value and stability of a nation’s currency is one of the major indicators of that nation’s economic life.

Again, I don’t really recommend reading this book, as it’s a bit dry and repeats itself often – but the lessons and parallels are essential to look at and consider in a critical, measured way.

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This post was written by Marjory


  • Rick says:

    Very interesting and something to prepare for. I think I understand that bartering in items; food (I think the most valuable),gold/silver, tools, clothes, etc… will be the norm. What do you have in ideas of what will be good barter items, cheep right now, easy to store and things post SHTF items needed that one right now is not thinking of, thanks.

    1. James says:

      true True oh so true.

    2. Kat says:

      Cheap useful things to save up for bartering would be seeds, beans, kosher salt, toilet paper, canning jars, and trash bags. We save everything. My husband saves scrap metal and lumber, and horse drawn farming tools, motors, tractor parts, tires, etc. I save all sorts of seeds, clothing and shoe patterns, fabrics, and wool yarn. But the best thing to get for bartering will be Trade Skills. My husband is building a forge and learning how to make tools. I am experimenting with growing cotton, flax, and other fibrous plants and learning how to spin it into yarn. I crochet and loom. We are already doing a lot of the things that will be needed if something catastrophic comes, but are learning more every day. Herbal medicine skills will also be in great demand. But simple things like learning how to make vinegar and honey mead would be quite popular both now and in the future. Knowing what you can and can’t eat in the wild will be the difference between life and death. Gathering extra wild foods for bartering will be helpful. We’ve also recently been experimenting with growing alternative foods like meal worms, grasshoppers, spirulina, etc. I could go on and on, but hopefully I’ve given you some ideas on things you can do to get started with your own journey towards both independence and a better life.

  • Dan says:

    Hi Marjory,

    My wife and I have been prepping for quite some time, but I never feel we are truly “prepared”. I probably never will. I am interested though in your list of barter items. We have been collecting items I feel would be of value during TEOTWAWKI, but perhaps your list will give me some ideas on other items.

    1. Hi Dan,

      I agree with you about never feeling ‘prepared’ LOL.

      the response for bartering info is so big I am going to get on that right away.

  • Erin says:

    I would like to see your list of items to have on hand for trading.

    Thank you for your articles!

  • Wayne says:

    Hi Marjory,
    Thanks for the synopsis. Your article mentioned writing here for useful items to barter when money dies and also some gems you found on personal and home security.
    Thank you for all you share in these scary times.


  • Simone says:

    OK Marjory I’m properly terrorized!
    I would love to know what to stock up on to barter with. I have read liquor is a good item and soap as well.

    1. Rob says:

      Another good idea for soap is to grow it then you will have a continuous supply to barter. Most soapberry trees are cold hardy. In Fl, we have a native (Sapindus Saponaria). Here’s some links about the soapberries: http://www.soapnuts.pro/?gclid=CM6UnrXh46cCFQLs7QodyWAzzA . The Sapindus drumondii (western soapberry) is another variety of the soapberry tree.

  • Caroline Cooper says:

    Study Austrian Economics and get to know the Mises Institute: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1Dh6E-U6gw.

    1. Caroline says:

      Actually, this is a better version of Detlev Schlichter’s lecture about Paper Money Collapse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jt-6lHTpefU.

  • Laurel Robertson says:

    Marjory – I’m interested in both a list of items good for barter and in the best home defense tactics that you’ve gleaned from your readings.

    I’ll also see you at this year’s Bug Fest (tho you may be a little too busy to visit….).

  • Malissa says:

    Please share info on bartering. Thanks

  • Caroline Cooper says:

    Another good book is “What has the Government done to Our Money? by Murray Rothbard: http://mises.org/money.asp.

    1. Oh Carlyone, thanks I am watching the video you recommended too.

  • Theresa says:

    I’m interested in both a list of items good for barter and in the best home defense tactics.

    1. Maggie says:

      So am I! Btw, well written article, Marjory.

  • jim says:

    Marjory – I’m interested in both a list of items good for barter and in the best home defense tactics that you’ve gleaned from your readings.
    I would like to see one of your e-mails cover that information.
    I couldn’t make my request any better so I just cut and pasted Laurel Robertson’s.

    Thank you for all you do.

  • DEE GOSS says:

    Marjory – I’m also interested in both a list of items good for barter and in the best home defense tactics that you’ve gleaned from your readings.

  • Pop63 says:

    Sounds like we’re almost there ourselves ! Would love to hear your ideas on barter items to stock up on. I grew up actually using hand tools. Hammers ,saw. ax, hoe, push plow (you get the idea)

  • Sandy Jones says:

    I would like to take you up on your offer of “a list of really useful items for trading, and how to go about getting some bartering experience.”

  • Clare says:

    Thank you for this eye opening article. Once again you have educated us about a topic that we all need to know about. I am also interested in both the barter items list and the best home defense tactics.

  • Rachel says:

    Thanks for the article! Like others, I would enjoy seeing a list of bartering items and the most important home defense information you have learned over the years.

  • kennethbroz says:

    The Reichsmark was the Coinage Act of 30 August 1924 introduced as a replacement for the completely devalued by the previous hyperinflation in the years 1922 and 1923 paper marks after the German currency as early as 15 November 1923 had been stabilized by the introduction of the pension market.

    The exchange rate of old paper marks to new Reichsmark was (one trillion to one). The Reichsmark was so in daily life with the same value of the pension market.

  • Kirstin says:

    I, too, would like the lists…barter items and home defense strategies.
    Thanks for your article and the reminder to be prepared. Continuing on that path!

  • kevin says:

    Marjory, I am interested in your list of barter items and home defense also. Great article, hope to see more

    1. thank Kevin, there is more coming!

  • Melissa says:

    Hi Marjory,
    I’m interested in additional information in regards to good bartering stock. Thanks.

  • Kim says:

    I, too, am interested in a list of items good for barter and best home defense tactics.

  • Al Bastinelli says:

    Just some info! I read that one of the most sought after products in Europe was clothes and body soap. I have been buying a little at a time. I was way off in left field before finding this info… We have a small farm north and east of Dallas. Lots of water! I am now purchasing
    meat rabbits at your suggestion. We have meat goats and chickens… We live on a dead end road in the middle of nowhere… We have stocked our pond again and have been feeding for faster growth. I am a former govt employee on a small pension with SS. Wife is inThe utility business (sales). I have tried to put aside some other assets with some success. The word I have gotten is to burn wood for fuel for heating and cooking… Have many Dutch ovens but want to build a beehive oven for breads, meats, pastries and custerds. Have gased some legumes…we are practicing catholic Christians. We are expecting refugees to walk up our road that we may feed and tell / talk about our Jesus… Some friends are collecting coloring books and crayons for the children. We have some classic books to read and educational materials. Don’t play any instruments. But I’m murder on the spoons. ( no talent there! ) how are your tire potatoes doing. Been trying to find a way to store them here in Texas othe than newspaper and a dark cool room. Can you give me any help there?? It is going to be a lot worse than folks think. You used my words in saying ” desperate people do desperate things! ” The have nots have been getting so much for free that they are stuck in a mental trench. With liberals wanting to turn this state blue or purple greatly concerns me… I know I sound like a biggit but I wish we could turn them back at the state line! I’m not talking about their hearts just their heads. I call it stinking thinking.. Some meds from the vet can be used. Gotta know what! I ordered your dental kit but never got it. Can you check?? I am also planting edible roots.. Our raised beds have been very fruitful. I have some good neighbors. I have worked at it being there to help when not asked! Please send any advice…

    Thanks for this forum!

    Al Bastinelli


    1. Hi Al,

      Oh thanks for mentioning that about soap and hygiene. That was one thing I noticed on my trip to Cuba – shampoo was a big issue!

      I am really heartened to hear of all you are doing. Yes, being prepared for those who are unpreapred, and planning for that is vital too.

      I just checked and your order never went through our system. I see you’ve been on the list for a long time! But the funds for the dental vid never were processed – can you try it again? here is the link

  • Richard says:


    I am interested in your list of barter items and advice on gaining experience.
    I am interested in personal and home security.

    My wife and I are aware of what is happening in our Nation and are sick about it. We pray for the best, but are learning to prepare for the worst.

    Thank you for your help with these issues.

    God Bless


  • Kimbo says:

    Please send me info on both topics- thank you .

  • Susan says:

    The scary thing here in the UK is just how many people have jobs that pay so little that they can claim government assistance. The most recent article I read said that there were more people then ever with jobs. Yet many of those jobs paid so little that there were large numbers of people who were able to get government asistance to pay their rent or for childcare. These numbers are in addition to pensioners, and those incapable of working on the grounds of health or disability being on a fixed income. This is one reason why the austerity measures are not as effective some people expected them to be. At least the UK government is trying to do something and something is better than nothing!

    The US dollar is the main currency online even for those outside the US. But a hndful of people are starting to wonder if they can trust the dollar enough to do this and are now pricing their online products in pounds rather than dollars.

    1. Trisha says:

      If China and a few other countries get their way the dollar will not be the world reserve currency for much longer. The FATCA that goes into effect this month where the US Government is forcing ALL banks to report ALL transactions of ALL Americans will go a long way to have many banks worldwide decide that it is not worth the time, money and hassle. It will be easier to refuse American accounts. We all need to get ready for a rocky ride I am afraid. Self Sufficiency, or as close as we can get, is our best hope. God Bless us one and all.

  • Carol Burnham says:

    Marjory – OF COURSE I’m interested in a list of items best for bartering! I’ve learned so much from your articles and resources.

  • Lois Wells says:

    Thank you so much for the information and the help in preparing for the future! I would very much appreciate getting the barter list from you. Also I would love to read the information about property defense. My husband and I are in our late 60’s and living on retirement. I would love to have some information about the best place to put our small savings to keep it as safe as possible. Thanks

  • Stephanie Malejko says:

    Marjory, I am very interested in items to barter and best home defense tactics. I feel and hope I still have time
    Thank you,

  • KKs Kountry says:

    Thanks a million for showing us this info. Although aware of it, this has me more motivated. I, too, would love to hear more about bartering and items I need to be collecting now! How about a post from you on what to stock up on and items that can help us all as we face the unknown.

  • cara says:

    As scary as it may sound we better get prepared for the inminent collapse of the US Dollar. I also like to learn more about bartering and what items would be priced hi for bartering.

    Thanks for all your information.

  • Pat says:

    I would be very interested in your lists for bartering and ideas on security. I have taken some lessons on handling a gun but I do not feel confident or competent at using one. A very interesting article. Thank You.

  • Cole Simonson says:


    I had a barn in Massachusetts and did prep for Y2K. When I went back to get supplies, I found much of it ruined by mice and roaches… In a cold climate, mice will shred clothes to make nests. Much was lost! (I don’t know if the same holds true for warmer climates.)

    Barter bullets, toilet paper, seeds, cigarette lighters, propane tanks. Perhaps it would be possible to barter a skill? Self-defense, wild edibles, primitive fire making, knife/ax sharpening, first aid…

    I installed a hand-water pump – a “Simple Pump” on my well. If the lights go out, I can help neighbors with potable water; maybe even barter some, and I’ve got it plummed so I can pump it into the house plumbing and/or the yard to water my garden. The Simple Pump has great pressure. Water is essential for everything!

    Marjory, I am interested in your list of barter items and home defense also. Great article!

    Thanks for all you do!

  • tim says:

    Marjory – I’m interested in both a list of items good for barter and in the best home defense tactics THANK YOU. Tim

  • Brad says:

    Thanks for the information! Very much appreciated.
    I would be interested in your list of barter items if you could send it.
    Also any home defense tips you may have encountered.
    Many thanks!

  • Sarah L says:

    ditto!… “Thanks for the synopsis. Your article mentioned writing here for useful items to barter when money dies and also some gems you found on personal and home security.”

    Would you please send links to that info? Thanks!

  • Jill says:

    I as well would greatly appreciate seeing a list of bartering items and the most important home defense information.
    Regarding hyperinflation… We will be putting our house up for sale within the next six to 12 months. Because we expect an approximately $100K profit from the sale, would it make better financial sense to sell the home and invest the profit in tangible goods, or keep the home (with its fixed-rate mortgage) and rent it? We are moving to a small farm 10 miles out of town but located along a main road. I suppose that means we will be an easy target. 🙁

  • Sheila says:

    I would like info on both topics too.

  • Ray says:

    I have to say ditto to all the comments above. I have two garden plots – 1 100′ X 70′, and the other 50’X90′. I am canning all I can…providing veggies for my church and family…and donating to food banks and such. Question? The way I understand O’bama’s executive order on foodstuffs…in case of SHTF, they can come and confiscate all our foodstuffs for “the greater good”…which, to me, means giving it all to the folks who won’t work. How can we get around this?

    1. Jeff says:

      I am with you Ray. We just have to find better hiding places for our food I guess.

  • Laurie T. says:

    I would definitely love to see info on home defense. Sure there are the standard things like get a gun, strengthen your windows and doors. But I’m interested in learning various strategies for the grounds around the house.

    Thanks for all you do, Marjorie. I can always count on solid information presented in a friendly and understandable way from you.

  • Margaret Wischmeyer says:

    Yes Marjory, I would love to have your information. I have started my petite garden and I have a number of pots on my porch. I have also started a number of herbs, some of which are suitable for treating common maladies. Some might be worth bartering.

  • angelia says:

    Please please send me any all information you can. Thank you

  • Dee says:

    WOW!!!! What a Fantastic Article!! I’m singing up so don’t Miss anything else. Please send lists and info about barter, defense etc. Thanks a Million for Sharing with everyone 🙂

  • Dee says:

    oooops meant to write that “I’m SIGNING Up” not singing up “my face is red here”

  • Jake Robinson says:

    Yes, please provide a list of barter items! cheers,

  • Dan says:

    I noticed a lot of people are asking about a list of bartering items. I also noticed in the article that bartering only went so far and then ceased. A better way to look at it is what can you produce that you can barter with other producers.
    Or what services can you provide in exchange for other items.
    There has never been an economy based on barter. There is always some form of currency or script that is developed. You can not work for someone nor pay wages with barter items. If you live in a city as explained in the example bartering ends and then there is nothing left except theft and pillaging. There is no way to produce goods or services.

  • Kevin N says:

    I’d really like to get that list of items to trade & bartering practice please Marjory. Thanks!

  • Kevin N says:

    Oh, the personal and home security info too please Marjory.

  • Theresa says:

    Thanks for the article. I have done some research on what happened in the Weimar Republic. We have been preparing, but I would like to hear your input on bartering items. Have to cover all the bases! Thanks again for all the work you do, it is deeply appreciated.

  • Slowhand says:

    When our economy goes bust, one of my worries is that governments will use war to try to boost the economy out of its downturn. And if war breaks out someone will use EMP to destroy the other sides economy. EMP would be the preferred strategy since you would avoid poisoning the planet and only one nuke would be needed to destroy the country it is used against. An EMP would wipe out our power grid and it would take years to restore it. The second effect of an EMP would be that all unshielded electronic systems would be rendered junk. If it has a transistor or chip in it it will be fried.
    Keep in mind that when our money goes worthless, every country holding dollars will find that their holdings are worthless. If you had a huge fortune and you lost it due to another countries stupidity would you not be mad. In my opinion the probability that we would be EMPed would go up exponentially. If that happens it is probable that over 90 percent of the people in this country would die. Good Luck.

  • Eula Batson says:

    We, my husband and I, live on a dirt road in the country, and are trying to prepare for the worst, but hoping for better. along with our garden and and fruit trees, we are also foraging for wild fruit. We have hogs and chickens but are thinking of getting rid of the hogs and going with milk goats and rabbits. We are storing things like candles, batteries, lanterns and dry food. We bought a grain mill and tried it out but are saving it til we really need it. I was thinking maybe straight pins and sewing needles and fish hooks would be good barter items. Toilet paper, too of course. I really like Survivor Janes idea of toilet paper replacement. I would like to find plans to make a wringer for washing clothes, and maybe a hand crank pea sheller. I hate to go back to the way we shelled them when I was a kid! Every time I go to the store I buy jars. I want to get away from a freezer. Duct tape may be a good barter item too. I would like to get your list of barter items and would also like to know what kind of rabbits that you raise that can withstand our Texas heat.

  • Sharon says:

    I am an urban dweller but still have 12 fruit and nut trees and raise a few items to eat also. Have been keeping a full pantry for a while but now that the kids are grown it is harder to keep it rotated. I store about a year of toilet paper and after dating my soap it seems I have 8 years of it so that will be one barter item for me. I would like your list of barter items and any suggestions you have about grown things in the desert. I wanted to try the aquaponics gardening but when I put an aquarium with water in the back yard it was boiling in a single day so would not support fish. How does one do aquaponics in the desert? and where do you get the fish to start it? I love all the tips you give. Keep up the good work.

    1. Maggie says:

      You would need to have the aquaponics under shelter–think hoophouse, shade house, etc. You might be able to find the fish in a local pond or stream if you don’t want to purchase them.

  • Paula says:

    I am also interested in the barter items and the security. Thank you for all you’re doing!

  • james says:

    Please provide list of barter items and info on home and personal security

  • John R says:

    A great article with a wake up call. My idea of the best hedge against inflation is buying gold and silver, I know, with what. I feel that good bartering items are as valuable as gold and silver. I think the best bartering items are like what the government think are the best items to tax. The so called “sin tax”. Alcohol, and tobacco. Although I don’t partake, I have many bottles of cheap booze and I have fashioned an old pressure canner into a still. I have tobacco seeds in my seed vault. I also have many cans of coffee, again of which I don’t partake. I think in the bad times coming, it will get rough, but people will want some of the “comfort” items that they are use to. The morning coffee, the evening drink, their daily nicotine fix. My idea of comfort is TOILET PAPER. I now have more TP in storage than WalMart.
    These are my ideas, please send along yours. And yes, everyone is concerned about home defense. I think there are more people out there in prepper land planning on bugging in, than there are planning on bugging out.

  • Pam says:

    My mother, from Germany, told me a story about when her grandfather had a large farm. He sold the farm with intentions in buying a bigger farm the next day. then there was the crash, over night, he no longer had the money to buy the larger farm. Overnight the money lost it’s value. They had no place to live. very sad time for everyone. makes me very nervous.

  • Donna says:

    When I arrived in Uruguay in the early 1980s, they had just “re-calibrated” their money, and were still using 10,000 peso banknotes as 1 Nuevo or New Peso. I kept one of the 10,000 peso notes and still have it as a reminder how bad inflation–really money devaluation–can get. In ancient times, people called it “debauching the money”.

  • Roberta Kelly says:

    Marjorie I love your article and I believe you are spot on!!!! I have been watching the trends for the past 8-10 years or so and was hoping it would not escalate as fast as it seems to be happening now!! I’m 65 now and still hoping for a few decades to go and would rather they not be as tough as it is looking like they might be…. I would love to share your article on facebook and get you some more followers… Keep up the great work…

  • Ava says:

    I’d be interested in learning what skills and goods and self protection beyond guns would be most useful?

  • Otsalanvlvi says:

    I would like info about bartering as well as security. This article was very informative.

  • Melanie says:

    Yes, please keep sending me your valuable info on bartering; and protection

  • Carol Kelley says:

    Really interested in home security.

  • Lynnb says:

    I would be VERY interested in a list of what you would consider as valuable barter items!

  • Karen says:

    Marjory, I believe God created you for a time such as this. You are a wealth of information and your caring. loving attitude in relation to helping people is admirable. I do not like to live in fear, but find myself mulling over the happenings in our country, and if I operated my business like the govt does theirs, I would be in prison! It is a great shame and disgrace because the majority of people are good, hard working people and do not deserve what I see happening. My husband thinks I am an alarmist, and I can’t get him on board, but I see the handwriting on the wall and am slowly putting some things away. Please keep up the great work you are doing and may God Bless you greatly in all of your efforts. Along with all others…PLEASE SEND THE CRISIS LIST!!!!

  • Great article, Marjory. I’ve been fascinated with studying past hyperinflation scenarios. There’s so much we can learn from. I’d love to hear your thoughts on bartering items and home/personal defense. We are desperate to become independent of utilities and grocery stores, but I know we’re not there yet. If the dollar crashed tomorrow, we’d be struggling to put food on the table. And we’ve been preparing for five years! I believe a crash is imminent. I just hope we have a little more time.

    1. Hi Kendra, Regarding time – me too!

      Good to hear from you.

  • TOBYFON says:

    Thank you for the excellent article, Marjorie! Please send me the information on items to barter as well as home protection.

  • susan says:

    I would love to know what kind of things to use for bartering. Also interested in personal and home security. Thank you so much!

  • Trisha says:

    We have been trying to get more things for barter and am interested in your take on good items. I personally think toilet paper is going to be a big one 🙂 Also, Marjory, is there anything that you could offer up as to good skills to have to barter? I have a small appointment setting business right now but somehow I don’t think there will be a big demand if things “Weimer” on us…or any of a hundred other possible catastrophes. Thanks

  • Anna says:

    Please share your list of bartering items, much appreciated.

  • Gregory Traylor says:

    I would be interested in any information you have on home security.
    Thanks in advance!


  • katherine says:

    Would like to know what you found about self defense I bought a 38 special but got rid of it, because I cannot pull the trigger, so that won’t work. What to do?? also need a better security system than ADT. Our elec was off for 9 days, the alarm kept ringing and we had to cut the wires as there was no other way to stop it.
    thanks for your help.

  • Darlene Pino says:

    I’m interested. Thank you.

  • ALVIN says:


  • Patrick says:

    I too, interested in both a list of items good for barter and in the best home defense tactics that you’ve gleaned from your readings.

  • J says:

    Wow! New to your educational compendium for life in today’s world. First, thank you. Second, I would appreciate the list of items to stockpile for bartering and any information/tips for security as offered above. Third, do you have a biography as to how you came to be so knowledgable on such a diverse array of practicle skills.

    Thanks again.


    1. HI J,

      Well, welcome to the [Grow] site.

      Hmmm, I’ll put up an interview I did with Ian Punnet of Coast to Coast AM. We discussed my background a lot in that one. Give me a few weeks and I’ll get it up for you.

  • Tom says:

    Count me in on both lists, please, thanks.

  • sylvia says:

    thanks for that great article!! Please send lists and info about barter, defense etc. Thanks for sharing Marjory. Value your friends, especially the handy skillful knowledgable ones–water is a big thing–do what you can, stand your ground and trust Jesus to get you through one day at a time. love you Marjory–you’re amazing!

    1. Tnaks so much for your kind words Sylvia.

  • Dean H says:

    I am always interested to learn more about anything that can help me prepare for the future. I would like to see your list of barter items. I would also like to see any information that could help me to keep my barter items safe from the people that didn’t prepare. I only have a few people to help secure my homestead and would appreciate any info on this subject as well…

  • Gary G says:

    Hi folks,
    I agree that food, gold/silver etc are great barter items. For some other good future barter items that are cheap now take a walk through your local dollar store. Think about what will happen with bad diets, diarrhea, constipation etc, people will be working with their hands more think cuts, bruises other pains (small bottles of 10 pills of pain reliever will stay good longer because the seal won’t be broken). Simple things like toothpaste, soap, shampoo will all be very expensive and good trading fodder. Take a walk through the dollar store every few weeks and spend $20. You will be more prepared and have some goods to trade.
    I can’t wait to see what Marjory follows up with. Thank you to all of my new friends on this site, I learn from all of you. Take care all.

  • Hi Marjory,

    I would like a list of items that are smart to stock up on to barter with as well as some pointers on Home Security. Thank you for providing valuable information and doing the research which I do not have a lot of time to do myself. I love your work.


  • David says:

    I am interested in your views on bartering and items you’d seen valuable tostock up on

  • Michelle M Colby says:

    I too am interested in the barter items. Thank you for all the useful information.

  • Robert Severs says:

    All of the comments you have received are people who are “preppers” and want to be ahead of the possible threat of economic collapse where the bottom line is to store food. You can store it quietly, you can barter with it, and you can eat it. All economies function on paper and when it goes bad lookout when it become worthless. With our country living off of loans and 17 Trillion in debt who can paint a bright picture when we can’t even keep up with the interest???
    The vast majority of the population poo-poo’s the preppers and are of “Normalicy Bias” and here is a definition of this malady:

    The normalcy bias, or normality bias, refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.

  • Tribal Lady says:

    I think barter would be essential in any area in a crisis. When my son & I discussed items to stockpile, we had very different philosophies. I thought of fresh vegetables, meat, cloth, repair knowledge, & raw resources. He felt that those particular items might encourage people to loot knowing that you had the root resources on your property. He said the one thing that will always trade is alcohol, cigarettes, toilet paper. He does not smoke or drink very often, so these would be perfect to trade because he does not need them. We laughed & talked a long time about the “realistic” perspective. I would be interested in sharing your opinion on what to stockpile & how to secure your home & property.

  • Rosie says:

    I would very much like to receive your info on barter items and home security.
    I find the information you share very helpful and enlightening. Thank you for teaching us the “how to” tips of survival, much needed these days!

  • keith sacco says:

    i would be interested in you sending me any information you have compiled as stated in your article. thanks and very interesting reading.

  • art says:

    Good article-I , too would like to hear more of the 2 subjects you have mentioned

  • Bill G says:

    Marjory – I’m interested in both a list of items good for barter and in the best home defense tactics THANK YOU.

  • Katt says:

    I am interested in info on bartering and security.

  • Sandy says:

    If it’s still available, I would love to have the information on barter items aND home security. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  • Rick says:

    Generally, when an American town goes down, the last two businesses standing are the resale store and the “watering hole”. Whatever happens, people want alcohol, cigarettes and coffee. Alcohol can be made at home; tobacco can be grown; the weak point in the U.S. is coffee. The population is a fanatic of it and can hardly function without it. Kept in a cool, dry place, it can last two years. I don’t know how much longer it would last in a freezer; the important thing is to keep the essential oils from evaporating and from going rancid. If you stay alert and catch the moment just right — those last 24 hours of normality — buy all the coffee you can, even the worst and cheapest. People will pay you its weight in gold.

    Speaking of gold, don’t bother. The average American just doesn’t have the concept. Even the majority of survivalists and preppers have never seen a gold coin. In Afghanistan and other such areas, soldiers report that gold and silver were not used as a means of exchange at all. Bullets yes; and food absolutely; so was tea (their “coffee”). You can’t eat gold.

    Focus on growing food even inside an apartment; with vertical gardening, you can do wonders inside any dwelling. I’m not telling you to do anything illegal, but you can acquire the knowledge to make alcoholic beverages. And store coffee, particularly at the last minute. If you have coffee when there is none, you will be able to buy your way out of anything.

  • Sarah says:

    Interesting article. I would like to get more ideas on personal and home security.
    Please email me. Thank you.

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