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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

barter stuff


BARTER STUFF
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The series "oil economy lies" continues tomorrow.  I'm just taking a one day break with the following.
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I’ve been wanting to write up this subject for some months now but I just now compiled enough research.  Please don’t skip reading this.  Even though it is on stuffing cigarettes ( “roll” your own ), and most of you don’t smoke, the savings are so significant that anyone can easily afford to put away cigarettes for high profit barter.  Whereas it is tough to afford to smoke nowadays, the individual states displaying pure unbridled greed and avarice with regards to their taxes, it is far cheaper to do so if you roll your own.  It is 20% of the price of packs of cigarettes.  Almost nobody can afford to put aside cigarettes for post-collapse barter ( THE gold standard for barter.  You can easily make your own alcohol, but only a few folks will grow their own tobacco plants.  You will NOT get stuck with any cigarettes as long as you don’t wait too long to barter them ) if you buy them from the store.  But with roll your own, anyone can ( at $1 a pack rather than $5 for the cheapest-note, the cheapest brand name.  The cheapest generic are terrible, burning away too quickly.  They are false economics ).

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Roll your own is not really an applicable term anymore.  Thirty years ago, when I rolled, you had your little hand held machine that almost looked like a small newspaper printing press.  You filled up the tobacco, closed the loop of vinyl sheet over to create a tube of the stuff, stuck in a cigarette paper, rolled the paper in and over and around, left just enough paper exposed to lick the adhesive end, rolled some more and popped out a completed cigarette ( prior to that, folks rolled by hand, like most of you hippies did with a marijuana joint ).  As I was smoking Camel unfiltered, rolling my own was comparable.  Under-employed folks could still afford to smoke, doing it this way.  It was pocket change cheap.  Well, a bit later Clinton The Junk-Smoker got elected and my take home pay really took a beating.  Not only did the jag-off fund Junior Narc Programs to harass me working in a convenience store ( underage sale stings ) so I had to quit and take a 25% gross income cut, he also caused the price of cigarettes to skyrocket.  Luckily by this time, you could buy filters to add to your roll your own machines.  I was past the point I could smoke unfiltered anymore.  Again, this made roll your own darn cheap.

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Then, seven years ago, Obammy The Floppy Lipped Kenyan White House Negro ran on the pledge of No New Taxes.  Months after inauguration, he raised taxes on roll your own tobacco to match the prices of store bought cigarettes ( Bush The Elder lost reelection after breaking his No New Taxes pledge.  Obammy can do it since it is okay to hate White People now, It Was For The Children, and because everyone that voted for him hates me personally ).   I went to store bought as there was now no incentive to add labor to my addiction.  That was about a 200% increase in cost, but not too painful in relation to all the other rising prices.  Until last year, when that kid molesting goat humper the Republican governor of our state really put a serious raise on our cigarette taxes.  Suddenly, a pack of the cheapest was $5.  OUCH!  I can easily afford that smoking one cigarette a day, but as the ex-stepdaughter and the ex-wife had both stolen all my hoarded cigarettes, probably around a hundred packs ( hoarded at around three packs a month over the years ) if not more, I not only had no personal smokes for post collapse, I also could never replace them in a timely manner.  Not at the new price.  And forget about barter.

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I thought I was screwed, but a new co-worker turned me on to roll your own pipe tobacco.  It is much cheaper than cigarette tobacco and it is actually nice and mellow ( for the unflavored type ).  I’m now back down to a buck a pack.  And no, I’m not back to using it in a pipe.  I tried that long ago and for some reason I always inadvertently swallowed the spit while using a pipe and it usually unset my stomach ( to include the occasional vomiting ).  I’m stuffing it into filtered cigarette tubes.  The tubes double the cost of the tobacco but I don’t mind.  Not after such cost savings.  I tried this method with the cheapest start-up costs I could, found the results very pleasing, and invested a bit more cash into it.  Your cost can start at $50 which will get you two cartons, and from there it only costs you $1 a pack.  The only caveat is you must budget for $35 minimum up front cost each time ( no just buying a single pack ) and you must allow time for shipping.

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The best company I have found is Smokers Outlet Online


Their one pound pack of pipe tobacco is $12 ( Golden Harvest ) and their carton of tubes are $3 each ( same brand ).  Shipping is a minimum of $12 so you must order a lot of product at a time to reduce that cost per item ( the amount was the same for one pound and one pack of tubes as one pound and seven packs of tubes.  Tubes are as bulky as a regular carton of cigs ).

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I went to Amazon for everything else.  Nowadays, you don’t roll your own.  You stuff it.  So machines are a bit more expensive.  The one I got, with the best reviews, was the Powermatic Mini.  $18 with free shipping if you order over $35 worth of stuff.  This is an all plastic starter unit.  If you want a better one, spend twice the amount for the New Top-O-Matic Cigarette Rolling Machine.  I preferred to have a back-up so stuck with the Mini. 

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You don’t need a scale to weigh your tobacco, but I decided it was worth the money.  I make a consistent product and don’t overload the machine which increases wear and tear and can rip some tubes up, also ( if you guess by feel, if the machine is too hard to close prior to stuffing, you have too much tobacco in ).  It isn’t needed, and takes a lot longer, but I can also use the scale for ammo reloading ( I have the back-up analog scale as I don’t really trust digital for the post-Apocalypse future ) as well as better standardizing my output.  I’d recommend the American Weigh Scales GEMINI-20 Portable MilliGram Scale, 20 By 0.001 G.

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I found that .95 grams of tobacco is about ideal to stuff a 100mm tube.  The cigarette lasts a good while, but is not so overstuffed it is hard to draw smoke.  .85 grams is too little of tobacco, collapsing some parts of the tube due to lack of product.  .92 to .95 is about perfect.  As there are 450 grams, give or take, in a pound, you do the math.  It is close to five hundred cigs but I call it four hundred to be safe.  Four cartons of tubes are $12, a pound of tobacco is $12 and shipping is $12.  $36 for four cartons of cigarettes.  The machine pays for itself soon thereafter.  Keep the tobacco in the fridge or freezer after opening ( and don’t expect an unopened bag to stay moist forever ).  The object is to stuff your tobacco as soon as possible.  Once you zip-lock them into packs or cartons, yes, they will dry out.  So what.  Dried up cigs will still barter just fine as soon as the store boughts are used up.  But you don’t want to try to stuff that tobacco once dried.  Make them now.  It is a lot of labor, but well worth the savings.

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37 comments:

  1. My Sister in Law did this before she was forced to quit. She needs a new hip and is on Medicaid. Doctor told her he wouldn't do the operation until she quit. She has Metalosis from a previous hip replacement and now the company is being sued, Class Action. Anyhow she used pipe tobacco because for some reason, it's not taxed like cigarette tobacco.

    I though about doing this, but my BOL area grows tobacco and competing with the locals may not be worth it. Yes they use petroleum to plant etc, but I'm sure some of them would get in enough tobacco for a manual labor crop. They have the seeds.

    I scoped out that scale you recommended on Amazon, you should put a link on your page for it.

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    1. Like a dumbass, I forgot to do the blog top ad changes to the tobacco products this morning. 5am and no coffee yet, so I forgive myself.

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  2. Dead on target. But having swapped to RYO 2 years ago I would advise getting a top o matic it is worth the cost and keep the Powermatic mini as backup. We tried vapeing then switched to RYO. The small mini units are serviceable but the Top O Matic are faster and give a more consistent product. I use the electric Powermatic 2 and keep my top o matic and a hand slider for backup.

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    1. I thought of electric but I just don't plan on making that many to justify the cost.

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  3. I can verify of what you state as truth.
    Back when we were traveling the islands on our sailboat, one of the big restrictions on being able to support our habit. Was storage space for several months worth of cigs. We too, rolled our own. She smoked non-filter and I have always smoked filter menthals. When off shore, we both smoked non-filter. Reason being that the tubes and bulk take up too much space on a boat. We saved up all the papers included with the old cans of cig tobacco while in country and making mine with the tubes. The excess papers, from my wife's cigs made for great barter in the islands. Papers there were considered paraphernalia ! But not if you were American and had tobacco.
    Is true, when Obummer was selected, the price equalled store bought. So therefore, what's the point ?
    Haven't tried the pipe tobacco routine. Might work for her but I've always been hooked on menthol. Don't even smoke hardly if'n I can't get my green cigs.
    What about sealing the bulk bags with a foodsaver machine ?As most prepper types I assume have one. Perhaps make up small bags ,papers included. Seems to me that hard core smokers won't care about filters come the day. Hell ,they'll be smoking anything ! Papers likely will be a huge demand item.
    I will be checking into the tobacco supplier !
    We still have machines and spares lying around and tubes are available locally for much the same price. For that matter, likely tobacco is too. It is after all the south.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I'll be sealing rolled cigs, not the supplies. They will dry out, but then it won't matter.

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  4. friend used to put an apple quarter in his tobacco jar. provided just enough moisture in the sealed container.

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    1. Do you recall how often it was changed?

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    2. “Do you recall how often it was changed?”

      I was curious as to this as well, so I googled:

      “how to keep tobacco fresh longer”.

      I got a lot of results. The general consensus is try to not let the tobacco dry out in the first place. But if it does, you can sort of bring it back by re-hydrating it. From what I gathered, your living in a dry climate makes keeping tobacco fresh and hydrated a little more of a challenge. The link below looks pretty good James, and the mason jars that were just discussed will come into use for your purposes here as well. Another site suggested placing the tobacco in the mason jar while still in its pouch, for added preservation.

      To answer your question though, I saw one site that said once a week on changing the apple slice. Some people use potato or lemon as well.

      http://pipesmagazine.com/python/pipe-tobacco/pipe-tobacco-storage/

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    3. I didn't put a lot of research into this James, but from what I gathered, you don't really want to add a source of moisture until you need it, so you wouldn't wish to add the apple slice when the tobacco is still fresh. The key was to keep the tobacco fresh as long as possible without any additives. The mason jar sounded like a good idea.

      I'm thinking a vacuum packer would be a good idea as well. Obviously you would have to vacuum pack your post collapse barter supply, pre-collapse grid up. If you could vacuum pack pre-rolled cigarettes without crushing them, that would be a good thing. Also, and not positive here? But I want to say that I've seen my brother using mason jars that had a nipple for a vacuum packer attachment, so that you could remove the air from these jars?

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    4. I just talked to my brother, and he said that the mason jars that he used did not have special lids. Apparently, some (perhaps all?) vacuum packers have an attachment for vacuum packing mason jars. Vacuum pack the smallest mason jars that you can find with pre-rolled cigarettes. And like I said earlier, you might be able to get away with using a regular vacuum bag on the cigarettes if you're careful?
      But if you're serious about this James, you should probably look into getting vacuum packer.

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    5. I have the packer with Mason attatchment, but now I'm reading you don't want a vacuum. Jut seal in mason jars, without vacuuming. For pipe tobacco.

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  5. You would probably have to put many days into your investment James, at one cigarette a day for it to start to pay for itself. But since you're also looking at it from a barter standpoint, you can forget about that last part.

    You can''t go wrong with having plenty of cigarette papers on hand, since they also double for black powder cartridges. You might also wish to have a small bong, or hookah as those that like to put tobacco through them call them.

    As for the tobacco drying out, I wonder if you can keep it fresh longer by using a humidor as do the cigar aficionados?

    Bill Clinton kept his cigars in a humidor. It was the Monica Lewinsky model if memory serves me correctly? ;)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I'm rolling both for the NOL ( New Old Lady ) who smokes five to seven a day, and for PA smokes. If I got off my lazy ass and rolled a pack a day ( about a half hour's time ) I could have a serious stash.

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    2. A non electric Top O Matic makes a pack in 5 minutes .

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    3. Well, I do weigh each cigs tobacco. Not sure how much time I'd save.

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  6. I wouldn't stock tobacco for barter for a few reason.

    I don't smoke and never have, smoking stinks. Smokers really have no idea how bad they smell and how much it infringes on those around them. I can smell the unpleasant smell 50+feet away and will not support it's use. Not because I care if someone smokes, but purely based on not wanting to smell it.

    And I have found most smokers don't care who smells it. They think 20-feet is far enough away and really it takes closer to 100 or more feet. They step outside a door of a building (within 25 to 20-feet of the door as they are to lazy to walk farther) and smoke and stink up all the air and people around them.


    Just as most people would find it unpleasant if I eat beans several times every day and expelled the result of those beans in such a way at to share it with them several times a day. They would not have a favorable view of me any more then I have a favorable view of how they stink.

    The other reason I won't try to corner the tobacco barter market is that to barter items (a finite product) is not a long-term survival strategy to get by.

    My barter item is actually my repair / manufacturing skill. With just a basic set of tools I can repair most things people have, adapt things to get something up and working, or use discarded things to make new useful things. And I have WAY, WAY MORE tools then just a basic set. And skills don't run out...


    Chuck Findlay

    ReplyDelete
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    1. As the old joke goes:
      Mind if I smoke?
      No, mind if I fart?

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  7. I have a suggestion for an article! Please write a scenario where bartering takes place and no one gets shot, stabbed, ambushed, hit in the head with a rock, cheated, short changed and walks away with a satisfied trade. I know it's possible in a village or community setting perhaps but how about on the road? One on one. If the collapse happens in my lifetime which is getting shorter everyday I see trading as the most dangerous activity a person will engage in (not counting unprotected sex :-) )your thoughts?

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    1. Well, you got my brain going-no guarantee on an article but I'm sure going to try.

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    2. In reality, I totally agree with the Rat. Barter is a sure fire method of getting mugged or worse.

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    3. I wrote the article, with the assumption it was a gamble but somewhat doable. Like a last minute shopping during a disaster unfolding-silly but some will insist on it anyway. Even if for the best of reasons ( sudden unexpected influx of family members perhaps ). So, while nomadic trading is dangerous, some minions might be compelled to try. I hope my article will at least start a conversation/thought process.

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    4. Spud and rat tobacco is a luxury trade item like coffee tea chocolate. Any bartering during a collapse is with risk . After it has settled down is when these items have the best value and lower risk.

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  8. Warning: The surgeon general has determined that E-cigarettes may be harmful to your health ;)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1LjSuq0rk8

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    1. Traditional cigs kill you in a more humane time frame :)

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    2. I don't know if you watched that video or not James? But it looked like that dude celebrated the 4th of July a little early by setting off a pack of sparklers in his pocket! :shock: ;)

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    3. Fast or slow, dead is dead.

      Chuck Findlay

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    4. The video was pretty low grain, but funny in the general sense. Slow dead is what most of us choose.

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  9. How will smokers be able to shoulder their yuppie survivalist BOB to make it to their hidey hole in Idy ho via the shanks mare if they are smokers?

    Matt in Ohio

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    1. Smoking one cig a day, my only cardio issue is not excercising rather than smoking. The key isn't not smoking but smoking very moderately. Any smoking is bad, but some smoking is far worse than others.

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    2. If you're gonna smoke James, you would be better off smoking the E-cigarettes. If you insist on conventional smoking, then smoking through a hookah (a bong) is still better, because the water filters out a lot of the crap. I know that I probably won't change your mind, but just thought that I would throw it out there for your consideration.

      I'm probably more sensitive to this than most, since my dad died from lung cancer. It was a rather unpleasant situation.

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    3. My grandparents ( fathers side ) were heavy drinkers/smokers and died in their 50's. My dad is a moderate drinker and smoker and is in his 70's, after a heart attack ten years ago. We have weak hearts, and that should kill me soon enough ( or, more likely, lack of modern medicine to artificially sustain me won't be there ). Smoking is rolling the dice on cancer, I know. Luckily I'm too poor to fight it and will die without prolonging my misery with medicine.

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    4. “We have weak hearts, and that should kill me soon enough”

      Who knows, you might beat it due to the intense cardio from riding the bike 10 miles a day for all those years, that should count for something? Unless of course it's genetic, and then I guess you get the hand that you were dealt.

      Heck, I already have little enough to look forward to every day as it is. But no Bison? Perish the thought!

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    5. Don't worry, I'll probably outlast the Internet, the way things are going. :)

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    6. As far as the weak heart get into taking Hawthorn and Cayenne. I have the capsule machine ($16.00) and make my own capsules. Cayenne stops heart attacks within a few seconds of taking it. Hawthorn strengthens the heart walls and vanes. Capsules are $12.00 for 1,000 of them. Size 00 is what I use for the most part.

      Cayenne is in every store, the dollar tree has it. No reason to not have it on hand. It also works to stop bleeding like Quick-Clot. And cayenne can be use as a 2-prong attack on bleeding, you put it on the wound, and drink it. Both ways work. Internal bleeding is something we need a hospital for as most all of are not set up to fix it. But taken internally (drink some of it in a glass of water) it works fast to somehow clamp down on bleeding. It is The First-Aid Herb to have in your first-aid kits.

      I make up my own heart health mixture of 5 or 6 herbs good for your heart and take it every day.

      Also buy a bottle of cayenne tincture and have it with you at all times, feel an attack (or bleeding issues) starting, put a few drops (5 or so) in a glass of water and drink it. OK it's hot, but then death is kinda forever so it's worth a bit of heat.

      Capsules take 8-min to work, tincture works within seconds. But cayenne in capsules are not hot at all.


      I don't have medical coverage and have gotten into herbal (and regular meds) medicine over the last few years. It is amazing what they can do.

      While it's not the answer to all medical problems I have found herbs able to address a lot of things. Herbs mixed with what we in the West call medicine has done me well so far. I even started somewhat growing them myself.

      Who knows if we really got bad SHTF times a base of herbal meds could be a barter thing

      Chuck Findlay

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    7. I'll admit that was something off my radar ( now that you bring it up, Kurt Saxon gave his home brew herbs a go at one time ). Not a bad idea to pursue. My health insurance is Vit. C so herbs are a good fit.

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