5 Alternative Currencies for When SHTF

The world as we know it now is governed by currency. Credit cards, debit cards, checks, and cash are all forms in which we buy food and other necessary goods. But in a true SHTF scenario, one where the banks are just buildings, the ATMs have no power and cash is potentially better used as fire-starting tinder, other items will likely become the new currency. What this means in the present, in a time where we have easy access to most First World conveniences, is that the potential currency of a world in chaos is very much so within reach. More importantly and somewhat ironically, most of these items that could one day become extremely valuable are quite cheap. Here are five alternative currencies that can be easily stockpiled now, and not put a dent in your (thankfully still existent) bank account.

Cheap BIC Lighters

In a SHTF scenario the ability to make fire will be absolutely critical. Sure, there are plenty of ferro rods and nifty gizmos out there that will be important when it comes to this, but good old-fashioned BIC lighters get the job done just fine. At about $5 per 5-pack, stockpiling these for use later as a form of currency is both smart and affordable.


From headlamps to flashlights, to electronic scopes and rangefinders, batteries are a basic need for most folks in a real doomsday situation. Though not extremely cheap, buying AA and AAA batteries in bulk is a great way to assure that you have something to bring to the table should you need to trade or barter. Specialty batteries, such as CR2s, that are often used in electronic rifle scopes and other tactical electronic devices (though certainly not cheap, or easy to buy in bulk) are great options also.


Aside from their intended use, which make them quite valuable in a SHTF scenario, these cheap and (for now) easily found female hygiene products are great at absorbing blood. In a world without functional hospitals or a great deal of first aid around, tampons are quite a currency. They can function as good fire-starting tinder, they are lightweight and easily stored, and a box of 40 tampons goes for about $6 right now…while stores exist.

Non-Lubricated Condoms

Similar to the aforementioned tampons, these have an obvious use which makes them desirable in a world where things of this nature are no longer mass produced. However non-lubricated condoms in particular have many other uses, such as storing water or creating improvised fishing bobbers, which make them uniquely valuable. A box of 40 non-lubricated condoms runs about $10, and they are easily bought in bulk…while the Internet exists.


This is an obvious one, as ammunition is one of those things that could become extremely valuable in a supply vs demand sort of way. Focusing on bulk ammunition in calibers that are the most common in the US is your best bet. Ammunition high on the “must-have” list would be, 9mm, 30-06, 5.56 and .22 caliber. Sure, this is the most expensive of the 5 alternative currencies mentioned, but it is likely the one currency that will double or triple in value should a true doomsday event occur.

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