Currency of the Apocalypse–Watcha Got?

By Piper Bayard

The apocalypse has come. How are you going to pay for it? Your money is now worth nothing. Even your gold is indigestible. So what’s going to be the new medium of exchange?

image by Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 3.0, wikimedia commons

image by Larry D. Moore
CC BY-SA 3.0, wikimedia commons

Let’s start with the obvious. Spam and Twinkies. Food is going to be in short supply, and, unless there is some kind of polar apocalypse, or you’ve got a way to operate your electric vacuum sealer, modern food storage will be a thing of the past. Spam and Twinkies never go bad. Hence, they will not only prove a valuable commodity at mealtime, but they will help you keep up your body weight and give you something to trade for shoes and ammunition for your crossbow. Just watch out for cannibals and zombies – eat enough Spam and Twinkies, and you, too, will be salty, sweet, and well-marbled for predators.

Another handy trade good of the apocalypse will be Tic Tacs. Just think how bad everyone’s breath is going to be once we have no running water or toothpaste. And trust me, people will still want to kiss each other, and this is a good thing. Without that, humanity would die out quickly. So sell all of your gold and invest now in Tic Tacs for the good of the species. They will be hot on the barter market.

The third thing you don’t want to face an apocalypse without is a stash of toilet paper. Just ask Venezuela, which is currently suffering from a toilet paper shortage. People will give a lot for a roll of the white stuff when they’ve eaten too much Spam and Twinkies. Of course, that will be one of the two uses left for your paper money—the other being to light small fires—but you can get more mileage from investing that paper now in paper.

Toilet Paper Money canstock

Unfortunately for Archer in FIRELANDS, Spam and Twinkies are not an option. She and her people eat hemp gruel, the few vegetables the Josephites allow them to grow in their gardens, and whatever meat Archer brings them from the forest. For money, they are only allowed to barter unless they are trading at the Josephite-operated Big Box.

You, however, will have the time-honored cigarettes and chocolate to barter with in the Apocalypse if you are the lucky reader to win the FIRELANDS Apocalypse Survival Kit. You’ll also have a fantastic Eddie Bauer Go Bag, a can of Tactical Bacon–better than Spam or Twinkies–a signed author copy of FIRELANDS, and a stuffed Grumpy Cat to keep you company and cheer you up while surviving on the smoking heap that used to be our planet.

The easiest way to enter is to sign up for the Bayard & Holmes mailing list at Bayard & Holmes Newsletter. No hassles and no purchase necessary. Just infrequent newsletters and book release notices. You can also enter by leaving a quote or a picture of yourself with FIRELANDS here, on FB, or on Twitter, and by leaving reviews for FIRELANDS at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iPad, or Goodreads. Each entry is valid so you can enter multiple times.

Bloggers can enter by blogging about anything to do with the Apocalypse and linking to the original post, FIRELANDS Apocalypse Reader/Blogger Challenge. One great example is Julie Glover’s blog, Words for the End of the World. The blogger prize is a feature on Social In Worldwide, Inc., the web site that shut down the WordPress server this week with all the hits it gets.

For more details, see FIRELANDS Reader/Blogger Challenge.

What would you use as currency in a post-apocalyptic world?


Eighty years in the future, America has devolved into a totalitarian theocracy. The ruling Josephites clone the only seeds that grow in the post-apocalyptic climate, allowing their Prophet to control who eats, who starves, and who dies in the ritual fires that atone society.

Subsisting on the fringes, Archer risks violation and death each day as she scours the forest for game to feed her people. When a Josephite refugee seeks sanctuary in her home, Archer is driven to chance a desperate gamble. A gamble that will bring down the Prophet and deliver seeds and freedom, or end in a fiery death for herself and for everyone she loves.

Seeds are life . . . Seeds are power . . . Seeds are the only hope of a despairing people. What will Archer do for the seeds of freedom, and what will she justify in their name?


Available from Amazon in Paperback and on Kindle

Also in e-book at Barnes & Noble and Kobo,

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19 comments on “Currency of the Apocalypse–Watcha Got?

  1. Jack Flacco says:

    I think a box of matches, or rather, one match would be worth a ton on the barter system. Everyone’s going to need fire for cooking, boiling water, or just staying warm. I’m saving my matches for that day!

  2. I hadn’t thought about tic tacs- I plan on hording baking soda, toothbrushes, dental floss and toilet paper. And let me tell you it had better be something awesome to get me to give any of these up!

  3. Smplefy says:

    Wifi bandwidth.

  4. Julie Glover says:

    My entire apocalypse plan went pffft with the death of my mother-in-law, a woman who bought staples whenever they went on sale and had a garage of supplies that looked like a nuclear bomb bunker. I wonder where all that laundry detergent went. Several years ago, I was sure she was stocked up until 2018.

    The only thing I’ve ever collected is matchbooks. I rarely get them now since restaurants all went the way of non-smoking, but I do think I could run a bootlegging matchbox operation if those become useful in the post-apocalypse.

    Thanks for the shout-out with my blog!

    • Piper Bayard says:

      I used to collect matchbooks, too. Don’t know what happened to them all. Never placed a huge value on them, but now that you mention it, they are pretty rare in restaurants these days. Shoot. You might not need to wait for an apocalypse to get something for them. I’d check out ebay if I were you.

  5. At first chips, oreos, chocolate, and Cheese-its will be popular (and Pampers…). Then comes the treasures of toilet paper, coffee, bandaids, and matches. Then it gets more basic (to say would tempt people!)

  6. tomwisk says:

    Spam and Twinkies are cool but maybe a stash of a nice chardonay (100 cases or so) wouldbe nice to wash it down. And leavening and flour, Spam sucks by itself you got to have bread. The basic needs for first aid and sanitation are a close second.

    • Piper Bayard says:

      Good point about that chardonnay. I’m thinking something in a box, though, rather than bottles if it’s supposed to wash down the Spam and Twinkies. And perhaps a bit of cheese to go on that Spam sandwich, too.

  7. Fig Newtons and Oreos would be good commodities, as would soap … the nice smelling kind. For those of us addicted to Diet Coke and/or Coke Zero, a bunker full of that beverage would be better than gold. 😉

  8. Mike Lince says:

    Marijuana worked for Quinn in “Firelands” as a bartering tool. I don’t see that changing.

    • Piper Bayard says:

      Great point, Mike. I’m sure people would definitely want weed for so many reasons. Thank you so much for taking the time to read FIRELANDS and for leaving that lovely review. Totally made my day.

  9. Signed up for the newsletter…(not sure if a photo of me holding up a Kindle with Firelands on it quite counts… :-)) Apropos apocalyptical currency – in NZ it can be but one thing. Marmite. I have proof, we’ve just been through the Marmite-ocalypse – the sole factory that makes the stuff here was in Christchurch and knocked out for two years by the quakes. Marmite shortage was headline news for months. Jars of the dwindling 2010 batch were on sale for hundreds of dollars. Seriously, When the apocalypse comes, it WILL be the most valuable commodity here, EVER.

  10. […] Post-apocalyptic writer Piper Bayard still has her Reader/Blogger Challenge going on to win some PR/Schwag in honor of her amazing new book, Firelands – which I am reading and LOVING! She recently blogged about Currency of the Apocalypse – Whatcha Got? […]

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