What is going to matter are skills. What goods or services can you provide that will be useful for others? During and after an economic meltdown, survival will be the challenge. The basics of food, shelter and clothing are obvious. Other skills will be extremely useful to travel, commerce, and aggressive defense.
The concept of private barter and alternative economies has been so far removed from our daily existence here in America that the very idea of participating in commerce without the use of dollars seems almost outlandish to many people. People sometimes forget that the smallest and most convenient storage space is in their own heads. If you find yourself in the midst of a disaster and you need to either build or fix something, having the necessary knowledge and skills in your mind instead of in a book will hugely benefit your ability to survive.
There's no way of telling quite how different life after a major disaster or serious collapse of society could be, but humans are remarkably resilient, so life would certainly go on.