People Debate Which Things Could Function As Currency During An Apocalypse

People Debate Which Things Could Function As Currency During An Apocalypse
Khamkéo Vilaysing on Unsplash

If that pandemic taught any of us anything, is that supplies can, in fact, be limited.

Not everything in our world will always be readily available and sometimes that means planning for the future.

So what happens when the "Event" happens, the world falls apart, and money, gold, jewels, all of it, becomes completely and totally worthless?

What should we stockpile to use as currency then?

Reddit user, yanmak, wanted to know what we could use to finance the future should things go wrong when they asked:

"In case of an apocalypse, what could function as a form of currency?"

It can be hard choosing, honestly, because we don't know how the world would end to start. Nuclear fallout? Disease? Zombies? The Director's Cut of the 'Cats' movie?

Depends On How We All Die

"Depends on the kind of apocalypse to be honest"

"War torn societal collapse? Likely ammo and guns"

"Post nuclear? Likely safe food and water"


Do Something For Me, I'll Do Something For You

"It’d be a barter system I think"


"Exactly! I can't understand the preppers who hoard gold. Come to me with a lump of gold after the collapse of society, and I'll give you f-ck all for it."


"Sure but currency is just the barter system made convenient. They're not two separate things."

""I'll trade you these sacks of potatoes for fixing my well.""

""I don't need potatoes.""

""Ok, so let me go trade these potatoes for something else then give you that to fix the well?""

""Just give me a universal IOU for the value of the potatoes/well fix and I'll trade it elsewhere for something I do need.""


Strangely Enough, We Might Have Some Experience Here...

"If the early pandemic taught me anything, it's that Chef Boyardi Spaghetti and Meatballs will be the currency of the apocalypse"


"Nah man It's going to be toilet paper"


We all like stuff, right? Who doesn't like stuff?

Of course, that means the right kind of stuff will be highly valued among the right kind of foragers.

Pay Me In Nicotine!

"Depends on the type of apocalypse. Food, medication, ammunition, lead... in post WWII Germany, they used cigarettes sometimes."


"And chocolate. My grandfather paid a German ex-soldier in chocolate to act as his assistant"


Enough Spices Could Fix Anything

"Spices/salt, silver/gold, ammo, medications, gasoline/solar power. Food and clean water to a lesser extent after the initial adjustment period. (Simply put, people will either figure out how to grow food or clean water or they'll die.) Eventually knowledge will become a great bartering tool; the guy who knows how to build a water wheel or the lady who can sew clothes will be given priority over the lawyer."


Burn, Baby, Burn

"I was told by an ex military friend of mine who served as a peacekeeper in a few warzones that "matches" are always a reliable one when things really fall apart."


What Gamers May Suggest

"Bottle caps. If you up vote this you are gay."

– pokemon12312345645

Definitely Tradable

"I will be growing marijuana, opium, tobacco, and coffee. Not a currency per day but tradables. Edit: I will also be growing fruits and vegetables. I mentioned the first four because they aren't always thought of for SHTF but they are still valuables."

– Shaynon17

Top Nine

"VHS copies of Beetlejuice"

"Crisp high fives"

"Frenzal Rhomb CDs"

"Hula hoops"

"Trail mix"

"Post-It Notes"

"Casey's pizza box tops"

"Pogs. Anyone remember pogs? I had a sh*tload of those."

"Words. (This is based on a short story a buddy of mine wrote once where words were currency - the better spoken or written you were, the richer you were.)"

– Smooth-Impact2435

Back To Simplicity

"Decline of civilisation and collapse of centralised currency? Well let me tell you pal I have 0.001244 bitcoin and 3 dogecoin. Unfortunately we have no power or Internet so I guess I'll just go around selling old tins of food."

– Scientist2021

It feels sort of silly to think of, but we already have a really good system in place.

Maybe we should try to get back to that?

The Obvious Answer Is, "We All Have To Eat."


"By which I mean Nonperishable Food Tins, of course."


"I was scared, for a second, I thought people expected a working internet after an apocalypse lol."

"Yes, food will be the world currency. Oh and guns, you can rob and be robbed as well as barter... good luck trusting anyone."



"Unless the apocalypse was caused by an antibiotic resistant bacteria."

– AsteroidTicker

What Mother Nature Intended

"Leaves obviously. Be careful about inflation though. You might have to burn down some forests to avoid it."

– PadanFain667

"Sex Is Not Fungible" Is Your Internet Line Of The Day

"drugs, sex, food, clean water..."


"Water is too heavy to use as currency."

"Sex is not fungible and cannot be accumulated."

"Non perishable food or healthy seeds could be used as currency."

"Pre-apocalypse drugs could be currency for a while but they are perishable and probably won't be abundant long enough to be currency. Drugs produced after the apocalypse would have too much risk of counterfeiting."

"Bullets would probably be currency for at least the first decade or two. Abundant. Intrinsic value. Difficult to fake. Light enough to carry. Long lasting."


We Need To Get Back To Basics

"It starts with food, water, safety in a barter system."

"Eventually you would have small communities which would pool resources (no barter within the community). People who are good at farming farm for the community, people who are good at shooting protect the community."

"As those communities get large enough and needs become less immediate (I want to eat my meals at a table instead of just wanting a meal), each community would develop some type of currency. This happens because "how many bullets in exchange for one table?" is a silly question ... especially if you already have a table ... or if you make tables and don't know how a gun works. But, you can sell a table for 100 currency, and buy 3 chickens, 2 sets of curtains, and a bag of potatoes (none of which the bullet guy had)."

"At this point you pick something relatively rare (some kind of metal, maybe), form it into a regulated size, put an identifying mark on it ... bang, currency."


When the big one drops, good luck to all of you. Start saving all your matchbooks while you can.

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