Economic collapse is always lurking around the corner. It's scary but there are things you can do to protect yourself and regain control over your life.
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The economy is more fragile than most people realize, and unfortunately the prospect of collapse is always lurking around the corner. Millions of people stand to be affected as they watch the value of their possessions, homes and livelihoods plummet beyond their control.
It is a scary prospect; but there are things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones and regain a little of that control over your own life. At the time of writing, the world is suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic which has brought worldwide trade, travel and businesses to its knees.
Experts are warning that this could be more severe than both the famous Great Depression and the recent American recession. No-one knows what their future will look like or whether things will ever return to “normal”.
Instead of hoping for the best, its time to take matters into your own hands and define your new normal – before your options slip away, uncontrollably.
In truth, there is no one “model” for economic collapse. Experts can only make well-educated guesses based on the current economy, past events and clever predictive models.
The world is in a constant state of flux, so no one can say for certain how bad things might get.
In this article, we will teach you to prepare for a worst-case scenario in which assumes:
The value of your currency falls drastically, inflation hits an all-time high and paper money is essentially worthless.
Banks go bust and even virtual currency has no value. Credit and debit cards cease to function.
Panic-buying and looting sets in due to low economic activity (and therefore no means to transport supplies round the country), so stores run low on food and supplies.
This may seem drastic and you might wonder: “could that REALLY happen?” - but better to be prepared for the worst-case scenario and be pleasantly surprised if it’s not that bad!
How to Prepare for Economic Collapse
1. Adjust your mindset
One of the most important things you can do is to mentally prepare and brace yourself for an inevitable economic collapse.
Whether tomorrow, two years or ten years down the line – at some point it will happen.
Don’t get complacent
Complacency is a killer. Fact.
It can be all too easy to reach a certain status and level of comfort in life and simply plateau, expecting things to more or less continue this way for as long as you live.
Unfortunately, these people often suffer the most during any kind of societal collapse, because they rely too heavily on the system and have not put measures in place to be self-sufficient or have a solid back-up plan.
Don’t let this be you.
Don’t live in fear!
Quite the opposite to complacency, it can be all too easy to be consumed with worry, and sadly preppers get a bad reputation for being overly “doom and gloom”: living each day as if disaster will strike tomorrow.
You don’t want to get sucked into this negative mindset which stops you from actually enjoying the life you live right now. Fear also makes people act irrationally and panic, which usually leads to further trouble and negative consequences.
There is certainly a middle-ground to be found when it comes to preparing for any disaster scenario, which differs from person to person. You want to be prepared yet still able to live your life to your own standard in the meantime. Start prepping and find your balance!
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2. What to Stockpile at Home for Economic Collapse
Food and water are usually where most people start, and are indeed the most essential things to stockpile.
This doesn’t mean that you should head to the store to grab as many items as you can when disaster strikes; rather start in advance and gradually add to your supplies.
Stockpiling food is an art, as you need to know which foods keep well, how to plan for years worth of survival and many more factors.
Some foods are better than others, and it is still important that you have a relatively balanced diet plan so that you can stay healthy – not just alive – in a disaster.
Fresh food in its raw form like fruit and vegetables is obviously no good, but freeze-dried food is a great alternative which extends the shelf-life from just a few days to a few years.
It’s also important to consider high calorie content in the foods you choose. The energy-to-weight content is what we use to determine which foods are beneficial, and things like nuts and seeds come out on top.
For a comprehensive list of the best foods to stockpile in any given scenario, read our guide on best survival foods.
Aside from the calories and nutrition you’ll need, think of how many other items you rely on in your day-to-day. In the face of economic collapse, money will lose its value and the price of everyday goods may skyrocket.
Here are some things to think about stocking up on in advance:
shampoo and soap
toothbrushes and toothpaste
laundry and dish-washing detergent
dish brushes and sponges
feminine hygiene and baby products
underwear and socks
matches and lighters
water purification tablets
… and the list goes on! In fact, looking around your home you could probably find a use for everything and may feel the need to start hoarding.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, so long as you keep your stocks well-organized. Don’t let yourself down in a disaster scenario by being messy.
3. How to become self-sufficient
Grow Your Own Food
One of the ways people survived in the Great Depression was through the trade of home-grown and home-made goods.
If you have ever wanted to start your own small survival garden, vegetable patch or even plant a few fruit trees but – then now is your perfect excuse to do so!
Do this in tandem with preparing your dried food stores as detailed in the section above, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a bounty of food to keep you and your family nourished and healthy. Your produce may also come in handy, too.
You may also want to consider keeping a few chickens, a goat or cattle – if you have the land space to do so. These little touches to your life can make all of the difference to your health (and sanity!) when every other luxury is removed.
Check out this video about starting your own garden from SSLFamilyDad.
Get Off The Grid
Millions of homes across the world are dependent on their economy for their energy and fuel sources. Heat, electricity, water, waste disposal: all hinge on stable and functioning economic activity.
Transitioning to off-grid living and learning how to rely only on yourself for these basic needs is fundamental to surviving economic collapse.
It is easier than you think to get off the grid. It does require a larger up-front investment – especially if your property is currently completely reliant on external sources – but it is worth it in the long run and can even end up saving you money.
Here are some off-grid switches you can make:
Wood-burning stove. Consider installing wood burners to heat your home and to cook. Stock up on plenty of seasoned wood and kindling and keep a healthy reserve in your stores only for emergencies.
Tap into a local stream or dig a well. Yes, really, both of these things you can do! Depending on your location, you will likely need planning permission – especially if you live in an urbanized area. If you can’t install either of these, then at least know your nearby options for water sources so that when SHTF you can quickly access fresh water (I doubt the local council will be checking planning permission in a state of total environmental collapse.)
Solar, wind or other renewable power. Many homes are transitioning towards renewable energy sources as their full or partial source of energy. This is where you’ll likely incur high set-up costs, but reap the rewards in the long run. Even tightly-packed apartments or town houses can benefit from solar power, and you don’t have to live on the equator! Take out a map and look at Alaska – many off-grid homes there benefit from solar power and they are at a high latitude. Of course, you’ll receive much less sun in the winter than in summer so it is good to have a backup renewable source, or generator.
Composting toilet. It may not seem like your obvious choice, but having a way to dispose of your waste without relying on external systems is invaluable. There’s no need to go into too much detail but imagine that your families’ water gets cut off and you have to quickly find an alternative bathroom – not idea. Composting toilets are low-cost, easy to set-up and will benefit that new vegetable garden you’ve now invested in!
Back-up generator and fuel. This option is a solid investment for any prepper, especially those who don’t have much land or see much sun. Off gird power generators can be surprisingly small and transportable, and good quality ones are highly efficient. Stock up on fuel and oil and keep them in a well-ventilated area in your store to avoid the build-up of fumes. Generators do still churn a fair amount of gas, so it is wise to use these sparingly and not to be relied upon for all of your heating and cooking. For alternative ways to cook, check out a solar oven.
These are just some initial suggestions for going off-grid. How much or how little you decide to do is up to you, and you may not have all options available, but the more self-sufficient you can be then the better chance of survival you have if the economy does collapse.
Not to mention, you become the most valuable neighbor on the block which could stand in your favor when people need your help!
4. Is Anything More Valuable than Money?
An economic collapse brings about a multi-faceted problem. Banks go bust; there is no such thing as credit; demand for basic amenities outstrips the supply; water and electricity are no longer available… it doesn’t look good, hey?
The worst part for many people is that all of their hard-earned cash, property, investments and possessions lose their value to near zero (and, in some bizarre cases, less than zero!) and everything you have worked towards is gone in an instant.
Money only has value because people deem it to have value, so in preparation for economic collapse it makes sense to turn towards other sources of real value that cannot be decided by The Man.
Once you strip away the false promise of paper money, only real things have true value. Precious metals such as gold, silver and even copper and nickel are all worth collecting – and you can start now.
Sure, pure gold and silver will be trickier to come by (and please don’t rob any banks after reading this article) but copper and nickel are common and can be found in everyday items.
Start hoarding those pennies and learn about their melt value.
Build a Community
It can be overwhelming to try and make yourself completely self-sufficient.
Who has the time or ability to grow a garden, raise livestock, learn how to plumb, fix generators, mend faulty wiring, sew clothes… and so on.
Whilst you may well become (or already be) the Jack of all trades – there is no harm or shame in spreading the load and reaching out to your community for mutual aid.
This is perhaps where you need to exercise the most tact. Piping up at your local council meeting with a, “Hello, shall we all prepare for economic collapse?
What are all of your skills?” is a great way to lose would-be friends and brand yourself the local crazy. Instead, simply be friendly to your neighbors and those you see frequently around town, work or your children's school.
If they mention that they are struggling with something then offer to help, carpool the kids, tool swap for the weekend – anything that involves mutually beneficial trade that you can think of.
That way, when disaster strikes, you know you have a local pool of people with skills and things that you might need, and you can offer them yours in return.
There is a tendency for preppers to think that they will be totally alone. But in many scenarios - especially in the face of economic collapse - people often look to band together and help one another out.
Stockpile items with trade value
All of the items we talked about in the above section are valuable items to trade, once the local supplies run dry.
Consider stocking more that you personally might need so that you have items available to barter.
Be smart about the things you choose.
Do you live on a street with lots of young families? Stock baby supplies. Do you live far from a clean water source? Stock water purification tablets.
The more you can use these things to your advantage, the more you and your family will be able to sleep easy knowing that you’re safe. You’ll also be known as the local “good guy” for all of the supplies you’re willing to trade!
It is also probably a good idea to keep in mind the essence of being a gray man. Whilst community is useful and trade is important; you don’t want to be too prepared in case the situation turns really sour and your neighbors turn on you. There is an art to being prepared but blending in, and you can read our advice in our Gray Man article.
Start Prepping For Economic Collapse
The best time to start getting yourself into gear to face economic collapse… is right now! Here are the things you can do straight away:
Stop procrastinating! You may have heard someone talk about “getting prepared” and thought it sounded like a good idea, but you don’t really have the time. Or perhaps you have it all thought out in your head haven’t found the right moment to start. If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything at all, it’s that things like this can happen really, really quickly with no warning and no time to prepare. So, don’t put it off one day longer.
Make a budget and stick to it. In any post-economic collapse situation, you and your family will have to make some sacrifices. There will be food rations, few luxuries and lots of time spent together. The more accustomed you can get to living frugally, compromising and not taking things for granted – the more you’ll prevent arguments and keep everyone peaceful. Start adjusting your expectations gradually!
Be thrifty. Take a look at the way you use your money and figure out if there are any luxuries you can sacrifice. Perhaps its cutting down the number of take-outs, movie trips or brand new items of clothing. Use your spare cash to start investing in your survival food, supplies and infrastructure, you’ll thank yourself later.
Make a plan. Finally, take a look through the things we have talked about and start making a plan. Give yourself a timeline with deadlines and goals to help you stay on track. Prepping has to be come ingrained in your daily life for it to be truly effective. So, get out that pen and paper!
Final Thoughts on Preparing for Economic Collapse
It is difficult to fathom a world in which the economy has completely collapsed. Economists predict that if one country goes down then many will follow, due to the interlinked nature of the world’s economies.
They also warn that some kind of collapse is inevitablein our lifetime, and when you look back through history, you’ll certainly notice the trend.
Getting prepared is simply the smart thing to do.
It may seem overwhelming at first but you and your family will be glad of it in the not too distant future.
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