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Economic Collapse - Some Survival Tips


In a true economic catastrophe, survival will probably take one of two forms. The first, if the collapse is just of the economy itself, will involve relying on financial preparations that allow you to go for six months or more without income, and to generate income from alternate means as well. The second form, if the currency itself collapses, will require that you live off of supplies you've stocked up on, special knowledge you've acquired, and skills you have developed.

Though an economic collapse seems unlikely, many of the the survival steps you can take to prepare for such an event may have value even in good times. Having money in the bank can never hurt, for example. Having a few shelves packed full of canned foods can provide a bit of security in the event of a job loss - which can happen in the best of times. So if you are not sure that the risk of serious economic troubles is high, you might at least make those preparations that will benefit you regardless of what the future brings. That's what the following tips focus on.

Surviving an Economic Collapse - Money Issues

A severe depression, even if it involves the collapse of the banking system, will normally leave the currency intact. In fact, since price deflation is the norm, your existing money may actually grow in value. If milk, shoes and homes are 30% less, you become better off even if you have the same amount of money in nominal terms.

Of course everything being on sale doesn't help you if you don't have any money. So the number one step to take is to have enough money saved to pay all of you bills for six months. Also, because of the possibility that bank closures will tie up your money for months, having at least enough cash in the house to survive a month is a good idea. For the latter be sure to hide the money well in three or more locations.

Now, if the currency collapses your money won't help. To prepare for that possibility it is a good idea to have "money alternatives," such as silver and gold. Tobacco and toiletries can also serve as a medium of exchange in worst-case scenarios.

Silver may be a better bet than gold because it is available in smaller units of value. A gold coin worth a thousand dollars is hard to spend if nobody has change. Old silver dimes, on the other hand, which are currently worth about a dollar (2009), might buy a loaf of bread.

Surviving - Food and Water

If the economic collapse does involve a total collapse of the monetary system, food will at least temporarily stop being shipped. A trucker who can't be paid won't spend the effort to bring food to cities, and most cities have only enough food on grocery store shelves to feed the population for a week or so. It could take months for a new currency to be established or for barter systems to get goods moving again.

Most people can find room for a month's worth of canned food, which can generally be kept for a couple years (check the expiration dates). Every two years you can eat them up and replace them. You can buy large buckets of nitrogen-packed grains for sale online that will fill your calorie needs more space-efficiently, and can be safely stored for a decade or more.

Learning what animals and plants can be eaten in your area is a good idea as well. In truly chaotic times animals will be killed off quickly (all cats and dogs disappeared in weeks during the siege of Leningrad during World War Two). That means you'll have an edge if you can identify a few of the most common edible wild plants.

Water pumping stations may shut down due to computer failures in worst-case scenarios. Water can be stored in any food-grade plastic containers. That means anything designed to hold water as well as any containers that previously held food or drinks. Water treated with a about a half-teaspoon of bleach for each five gallons (eight drops per gallon) can be stored for years, although it is best to use it or replace it within a year. Keep a minimum of a few gallons per person stored at all times.

You should also note where water sources are. These can include streams, rivers, lakes, swimming pools (best to use that water for washing rather than drinking), toilet tanks, and hot water heaters. Treat with bleach as mentioned above.

Surviving an Economic Collapse - Personal Safety

Many people immediately think of guns when they think of a societal breakdown of some sort. I tend to think that getting away from dangerous areas is a better strategy than trying defend your things. Guns can also make you a target for thieves, so if you do have them, at least don't let people know.

A few gallons of gasoline in the garage, and a the best route out of town marked on a map in the car are both good ideas. A long-term economic breakdown might mean there is no additional gas to buy, though, so a bicycle makes for good survival transportation as well.

In addition to having a "bug out vehicle," having a "bug out bag" packed and ready at all times makes sense too. It should at least have clothing, toiletries, cash, a few bottles of water, snacks, maps and personal identification. Keep it in a closet by the front door so you can leave in a hurry if necessary.

A "bug out location" is a must for many survivalists. If you can't afford to buy a cabin in the woods where you can escape the chaos, you might arrange to borrow a friend's. Alternately, for really bad times when you need to be away from cities and towns, you can have a large wall tent and know in advance a good spot to set it up.

Note: For more on economic collapse survival preparations, see A Survival Guide For Interesting Times. This fascinating ebook is part of my Secrets Package.

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