What is Money When the System Collapses?

by | Dec 29, 2009 | Emergency Preparedness | 77 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    What is money?

    Economist Mike Shedlock defines money through the eyes of Austrian economist Murray N. Rothbard as “a commodity used as a medium of exchange.”

    “Like all commodities, it has an existing stock, it faces demands by people to buy and hold it. Like all commodities, its price in terms of other goods is determined by the interaction of its total supply, or stock, and the total demand by people to buy and hold it. People buy money by selling their goods and services for it, just as they sell money when they buy goods and services.”

    What is money when the system collapses and the SHTF?

    In disaster situations, the value of money as we know it now changes, especially if we are dealing with a hyperinflationary collapse of the system’s core currency. This article discusses money as a commodity in an event where the traditional currency (US Dollar) is no longer valuable.

    In a collapse of the system, there will be multiple phases, with the first phase being the “crunch”, as discussed in James Rawles‘ book Patriots. The crunch is the period of time directly preceding a collapse and the collapse itself.

    Traditional Currency

    Initially, the traditional currency system will maintain some value, though it may be rapidly depreciating in buying power. For those with physical, non-precious metal denominated currency on hand (paper dollars, non-silver coins), spending it as rapidly as possible is the best approach.

    It is during the crunch that ATM machines around the country will run out of currency as people aware of the rapidly devaluing dollar will be attempting to withdraw as much money as possible. This immediate increase in money supply, coupled with the population’s general knowledge of the currency depreciation in progress, will lead to instant price increases for goods, especially essential goods.

    If your physical cash has not been converted into tangible assets, this would be the time to do so. Acquiring as much food, fuel, clothing and toiletry items as possible would be the ideal way to spend remaining cash before it completely collapses to zero, as it did in the Weimar inflation in 1930’s Germany, or Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation in recent years.

    Precious Metals

    During the initial phase of the ‘crunch’ precious metals will be a primary bartering tool, but this may not last long. The old survivalist adage “you can’t eat your gold” will become apparent very quickly. In a total breakdown of the system, food, water and fuel will be the most important tangible goods to acquire.

    Consider someone who has a two week or one month supply of food on hand. Do you believe they would be willing to part with that food for some precious metals? The likely answer is no. There will be almost no bartering item that one would be willing to trade their food for once it is realized that food supply lines have been cut.

    That being said, since most will not barter their food, not even for fuel, the next recognized medium of exchange by merchants, especially those selling fuel, will be precious metals. For the initial crunch, silver coins, especially recognizable coins like 90% silver quarters, dimes and half dollars, along with one (1) ounce government mint issued silver coins like US Silver Eagles, will be accepted by some, probably most, merchants. For those trying to flee cities to bug-out locations, silver coins of the aforementioned denominations may be a life saver, as they can be used to acquire fuel. While we recommend having gold, as well, the issue with gold is that its value is so much higher than that of silver, that breaking a one ounce gold coin into 10 pieces just to buy a tank of gas will not be practical. It is for this reason that having silver on hand is highly recommended. Packing at least $25 – $50 of silver coins in each bug-out bag would be a prudent prepping idea.

    In a total SHTF scenario, silver and gold may eventually break down as a bartering unit, as contact with the “outside” world breaks down. One reason for this, is that the fair value price of precious metals will be hard to determine, as it will be difficult to locate buyers for this commodity.

    This, however, does not mean that you should spend all of your precious metals right at the onset of a collapse. Precious metals will have value after bartering and trade is reestablished once the system begins to stabilize. Once stabilization begins, the likely scenario is that precious metals will be one of the most valuable monetary units available, so having plenty may be quite a benefit. At this point, they could be used to purchase property, livestock, services and labor.


    Water is often overlooked as a medium of exchange, though it is one of the most essential commodities for survival on the planet. Had individuals in New Orleans stockpiled some water supplies during Hurricane Katrina, much of the loss of life there could have been avoided.

    For those bugging out of cities, it will be impractical to carry with them more than 5 – 10 gallons of water because of space limitations in their vehicles. Thus, having a method to procure water may not only save your life, but also provide you with additional goods for which you can barter.

    An easy solution for providing yourself and others with clean water is to acquire a portable water filtration unit for your bug-out bag(s). While they are a bit costly, with a good unit such as the Katadyn Combi water filter running around $150, the water produced will be worth its weight in gold, almost literally. This particular filter produces 13,000 gallons of clean water! A Must have for any survival kit.

    Because we like reserves for our reserves, we’d also recommend acquiring water treatment tablets like the EPA approved Katadyn Micropur tabs. If your filter is lost or breaks for whatever reason, each tablet can purify 1 liter of water. In our opinion, the best chemical water treatment available.

    Clean water is money. In a bartering environment, especially before individuals have had time to establish water sources, this will be an extremely valuable medium of exchange and will have more buying power than even silver or gold on the individual bartering level.


    In a system collapse, food will be another of the core essential items that individuals will want to acquire. Survival Blog founder James Rawles suggests storing food for 1) personal use 2) charity 3) bartering.

    Dry goods, canned goods, freeze dried foods can be used for bartering, but only if you have enought to feed yourself, family and friends. They should be bartered by expiration date, with those foods with the expiration dates farthest out being the last to be traded. You don’t know how long the crunch and recovery periods will last, so hold the foods with the longest expiration dates in your posession if you get to a point where you must trade.

    Baby formula will also be a highly valued item in a SHTF scenario, so whether you have young children or not, it may not be a bad idea to stockpile a one or two week supply. (For parents of young children, this should be the absolute first thing you should be stockpiling!). In addition to water, baby formula may be one of the most precious of all monetary commodities.

    Another tradeable food good would be seeds, but the need for these may not be apparent to most at the initial onset of a collapse, though having extra seeds in your bug-out location may come in handy later.


    Fuel, including gas, diesel, propane and kerosene will all become barterable goods in a collapse, with gas being the primary of these energy monetary units during the crunch as individuals flee cities. For most, stockpiling large quantities will be impractical, so for those individuals who prepared, they may only have 20 – 50 gallons in their possession as they are leaving their homes. If you are near your final bug-out destination, and you must acquire food, water or firearms, fuel may be a good medium of exchange, especially for those that have extra food stuffs they are willing to trade.

    Though we do not recommend expending your fuel, if you are left with no choice, then food, water and clothing may take precedence.

    For those with the ability to do so, store fuel in underground tanks on your property for later use and trading.

    Firearms and Ammunition

    Though firearms and ammunition may not be something you want to give up, those without them will be willing to trade some of their food, precious metals, fuel and water for personal security. If the system collapses, there will likely be pandemonium, and those without a way to protect themselves will be sitting ducks to thieves, predators and gangs.

    Even in if you choose not to trade your firearms and ammo during the onset of a collapse, these items will be valuable later. As food supplies diminish, those without firearms will want to acquire them so they can hunt for food. Those with firearms may very well be running low on ammunition and will be willing to trade for any of the aforementioned items.

    In James Rawles’ Patriots and William Forstchen’s One Second After, ammunition was the primary trading good during the recovery and stabilization periods, where it was traded for food, clothing, shoes, livestock, precious metals and fuel.

    Clothing and Footwear

    We may take it for granted now because of the seemingly endless supply, but clothing and footwear items will be critical in both, the crunch and the phases after it. Having an extra pair of boots, a jacket, socks, underwear and sweaters can be an excellent way to acquire other essential items in a trade.

    As children grow out of their clothes, rather than throwing them away, they will become barterable goods.

    It is recommended that those with children stock up on essential clothing items like socks, underwear and winter-wear that is sized a year or two ahead of your child’s age.

    Additional Monetary Commodities

    The above monetary units are essential goods that will be helpful for bartering in the initial phases of a collapse in the system. As the crunch wanes and recovery and stabilization begin to take over, other commodities will become tradeable goods.

    In A Free Falling Economy Makes Bartering Go Boom, Tess Pennington provides some other examples of items that will be bartering goods during and after a crunch including, vitamins, tools, livestock, fishing supplies, coffee and medical supplies.

    Another important monetary commodity after the crunch will be trade skills. If you know how to fish, machine tools, hunt, sew, fix and operate radioes, fix cars, manufacture shoes, or grow food, you’ll have some very important skills during the recovery period.


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      1. Excellent, Great Information. Everyone just take some steps now that you still have a job.  A+++ Article, Thanks

      2. “Chance favors the prepaired mind”  - Louis Pasture-  Ones mindset going forward will be the greatest suvival asset.

        • Buy a Hydrodrill (google it) and drill your own well and tell no one. Barter later. Here in TX we have gone months without rain. I have nice cool clean water still available. 70 foot hand pump well. Gun, gold, get away place.

      3. “Chance favors the prepaired mind”  - Louis Pasture-  Ones mindset going forward will be the greatest survival asset.

        • Don’t forget man’s best friend. They are in excellent deterrent to miscreants. Breeding ‘designer’ dogs can also be profitable. They can also help in procuring food, as well as providing companionship. (R.I.P. Maximillian)

      4. Excellent article Mac, one of your best and very timely.  Thanks.

      5. Thanks Patrick and Crazy!

        This is something I have been thinking about writing for a while, and finally got around to doing it.

        I’ve found that creating a ‘story’ and working through the worst-case scenario is the best way to figure how to prep for certain situations (My wife calls it going to the “dark side”). Though I hope a complete meltdown does not happen, I have incorporated this into my overall disaster and emergency preparedness. Hurricane Ike was a major wake up call for us… We were ok, but many of the neighbors were hit hard for about 2 – 3 weeks when we lost power in pretty much 90% of Houston. No food in grocery stores, no water (even the local water supply got contaminated), no internet, no phone (not even mobile), no fuel…. It was basically a warm up for the real thing. In fact, I wouldn’t mind having one more “training” session if a collapse is on the horizon. That would help me finalize some of my prepping needs and identify remaining holes in our SHTF Plan.

        As an example of something I learned from Ike, instead of building a 72 hour emergency bag, my wife and I are working on 10 – 14 day survival bags that include everything from food and water (filters, etc.) to critical med supplies (celox, fracture kits, etc.) and camping gear (sleeping bags, tent, portable stove). It’s really amazing how much stuff can fit into a 3500 or 5000 cubic inch pack.

        I may be nuts, but I prefer to have reserves for my actual reserves.

        • Water is definitely an important part of our preparations. Hubby is trying to hook up the gutters to some of these drums in the garden. That way we can store more and have some water for drinking and growing food too. He is having trouble though finding the parts to make the connections… Anyway the plan is to have water storage outside since we live in a manufactured home and the floors may not hold the weight of 4 or more of these drums. Sorry no basements here in Texas. We got some water filters at http://www.shelfreliancesanantonio.com/jmp/jmp_bucket_water_filter_kit.php They were only about $70 and will filter 1 million gallons. They also hace great food and emergency supplies. Be sure to get a discount account to save some money so you can get more stuff. God Bless!

        • THANK YOU!! This is one of the better articles of preps i have ever seen/ i am slowly getting thru to my wife with this “common sense” style of information//

          Here in Hawaii, so many believe/That will NEVER happen here/ and if it does the GOVT. will take care of us.

          I am EX-ARMY/A.F., and i cannot rely on BIGBRO. for A$$ITANCE.

          Thank You for ALL you and your does/ Your REWARD will be in HEAVEN, i am sure. GOD BLESS TO YOU ALL, ITS SIMPLE: “we either prepare OR WE DIE”.more articles like this would be GREAT!!!

          • Where in Hawaii — especially Oahu and the Big Island — would you possibly bug out to?

            Kauai has some possibilities in Waimea Canyon, and in some places center-island, but even there, most of it’s “mapped” and known to the military.

            Maui has some “isolated” canyons/gulches on the sides of Haleakala, maybe some near Iao Needle, but also mostly “mapped” and known the the military.

            In such a military state, there’s very little you can actually “run to the hills to;” the military owns much of it, and the rest is frequented by pig hunters.

            I think of more use to those in Hawaii would be articles on how to successfully harden your (rabbit warren!) home against breach.

            Where we live, that’s a REAL problem, because the houses are so close together and there’s no land around them to speak of. Aggressors can practically stride from one roof to the other. And “storage” space is laughable.

            I believe it IS happening, and being more than 2,400 miles from anywhere in the world, when the food and water supply — all from offshore — runs out here within two or three days, this is going to be a nightmare.

            That’s the reality here. Except for the blessed weather, it ain’t gonna be paradise here when TSHTF.

        • Nice article. Fairly concise. As for your wise statement “I prefer to have reserves for my reserves” there is a saying, “2 is 1 & 1 is None!”
          In the event an evacuation becomes a permanent situation my wife & I too have developed our bugout bags to provide for us indefinately. (Most of our ability to survive indefinately is due more to training than to our equipment)
          Although you mention “medical supplies”, MEDICATION & MEDICAL SUPPLIES (especially antibiotics) wasnt a currency subheading & I beleive it should have been even before “Clothing & Footwear” because during a collapse people WILL trade even some food & water to prevent a loved one from dieing of a simple fever, etc. You probably have already heard of this but on the off chance you haven’t I recommend adding “Israeli Bandages” to your med kit. I’ve had to use one once & cant express how indispensible they can be if used correctly.
          On the issue of using WATER as currecy, we’re currently building a battery bank to support our solar panels & wid generator for enough electricity to continue using our dehumidifier to pull water from the air. We live in an extremely humid area & can easily pull 2 gallons in less than 24hrs on continuous cycle with hose hook up.
          I wish your family peace & success to you!

      6. Good stuff, Mac.

        Paul – I am the first person to admit when I don’t know something…

        And I freely admit that I did not know Pasture is credited with that quote…I just Googled it to make sure…

        The only place I had heard that quote before was in “Under Siege 2:  Dark Territory.”

        So much for my education!

      7. Went through this same “Doomsday is coming” about 35 years ago with Howard Ruff and his talks about getting far from cities and head to the hills chatter.   Bought the goodies talked about on a regular basis but added more, just in case.  The economy went through dives, doom and gloom then almost like it is now.  Guess what, the boogy man never showed up.  I am more concerned about illegals, the massive drug problem and how health care will be in the future then a total collapse of the US of A!

          Although I agree you make a valid point & there have been many warnings over the years that didnt culminate in the collapse, I know that a collapse IS inevitable (based on years of research). See, this system is not the economic house-of-cards we thought it was, where if any card is removed the whole thing comes down. No. It is more like…a Jenga Tower! Remember, in the game of Jenga multiple players repeatedly take turns removing blocks from the tower which in turn weakens over time until it falls over. The housing bubble popping & the stock market Panic of 2008 was the leaning tower about to fall, but then several players cheated!
          Rather than letting it topple as the rules of the game dictates they grabbed it, restabilized it, even re-inserted a few blocks & then said, “Next!”
          So “when” we ask. Next year? In 5yrs? This fall? No one knows the exact day & so I dont lose perspective. I dont get fanatical. I run my busines, love my wife, vacation with friends & yet over the years I continue to enhance my preparedness. Why? Because now for the first time players are leaving the game & a few of them may even KICK the playing table to anonymously topple the tower!
          Again, I BELIEVE a collapse WILL occur as oppose to an auto accident. See I DO NOT believe for a certainty I will ever be in another auto accident in my life YET every year I pay for auto insurance. Why? Because although I believe it to be “unlikely” I still know it IS possible & you know what, although I havent made a claim in 23yrs I’ve increased my coverage over those years.
          For what its worth…to me, prepping is cheap insurance against the inevitable.
          I wish you & your family peace & success!

      8. You forgot two important items to barter with.
        1. all forms of tobacco
        2. all forms of drinkable alcohol

      9. Being a Pharmacist by trade I often wonder about what would happen if in the event the pharmaceutical distribution system breaks down. Pharmacies typically care no more than 10 to 14 days inventory of medications due to their high inventory costs.

        I estimate that 15-20% of all medications that I dispense are for the treatment of mild to severe anxiety/depression issues. I have often experienced frantic patients who have run out of their meds and the uncomfortable circumstances that ensue when some of these patients go without. Add to this group an ever-growing number of patients who are dependent on pain meds  (10-15%) and my witnessing of their behavior when their supply runs out….  I think you can connect the dots as easily as I can!

        For those who have health issues such as diabetes, blood pressure, heart/cardiovascular dieases.. stockpiling these meds for your own use with the assumption that getting your presciptions filled will also be met with some challenges would be most advisable!

        Mac’s article is a good one and one we should share with as many loved ones (and as many that will listen to you) as possible.

        “For-warned is for-armed”

      10. This article absolutely rocks! Such a good summary. I would recommend we all print out a copy and have it handy for those awkward moments when someone asks, “So, I hear you’re a prepper. What is that exactly and why is it important?”

        I think this article along with “Rise of the Preppers” are among the finest I have seen lately. Keep up the good work!


      11. I am glad that a pharmacist posted here .  QUESTION ?  How is one to stockpile meds that thay will need during an emergency ? I have tried an been turned down flat !  NO health care provider will take on the extra cost to do that.  No doctor will write you extra prectriptions for your stockpile. No pharmacy will sell you your meds at a reduced cost .  And lastly just about everyone can’t afford to pay for 14 to 30 day supply of meds ! So tell me how do we get a stockpile going ?  the only way I know is to skip a day now and then and set those meds aside. AT YOUR OWN RISK !! We have been told to have extra meds on hand for emergencys but no one will tell us or help us to do it.

        • NOW is the time to find alternative natural treatments and GET OFF MEDS! Trust in God and speak his word. On the 8th day, He did not create the pharmaceutical companies! Everything that you need for healing is here on this earth.

        • Far better than pharmacy medication are natural medicene, NO side effects, they CURE the problem not `kick it down the road` easy to get. I have research natural cure for 40 years and the only condition I have EVER come across that could not be reversed is MEDICAL intervension. Too many drugs or surgery and your done-for. ALWAY, ALWAYS, ALWAY find a natural cure. I have NEVER not found a natural cure and now with the internet it makes life so easy. for you in the US all you have to do is get TY BOLLINGERS book and get on to his email list and you will be light years ahead of anything the pharmacist has for you. GOD WILL BRING YOU HEALTH IF YOU TRUST: SEEK AND YOU WILL FIND HEALT. If there are any scetics ready this just check out the top .01% you will find as per our Royals in England, no cancer no diabetis, no heart disease no ect ect ect,, Reading this site I would have though you would be onto this as the rest of the info is so top notch. PHarmacuticals are the same cartel as the BANKERS. Also check out Jeff Rense.

          • Silly reply! No cancer within the British Royal family? What about HRH Queen Elizabeth’s father – George VI? He died of lung cancer. And what about the genetic inbreeding of the Royal Families of Europe? Hapsburg jaw alongside hemophilia, porphyria are just a few of the less common conditions that Royalty suffers from.

            And as for God protecting you from ill health – your imaginary friend couldn’t give a toss about you! Trouble with web sites like this is that they always attract religious nutters whose views are always right. It’s fanatical religious beliefs that are partly responsible for the melt down we will all be facing pretty soon.

      12. Fortunately 60% of all brand name drugs have generic equivalents. Thanks to the increased competition that abounds today… many generics can be obtained at a $10.00 per 90 days supply.. cash price.  A prescription is legally only good for one year from the date it is written.. this a good time to ask your doctor to write for a year’s supply of refills. Example: Lanoxin… (heart medication)- generic name.. digoxin. cash price for 90 tabs= $10.00.  one year’s supply= $40.00. There is no law that I know of that prohibits a pharmacist from dispensing all 360 tabs for $40.00 at one time. Just ask. Controlled substances ( Valium or Lortab as examples) cannot be stockpiled for obvious reasons!

        Since many drugs do not have generic equivalents.. the next step is work with your pharmacist to contact your doctor to explore any inexpensive generic drug that would be a “therapeutic equivalent” to the brand. I do this all the time for my patients and am successful 90% of the time with the doctor. I simply do my research, present the doctor with a number of choices. along with strengths and doseage ranges, they make their choice and my patient is onto a substitution that saves them money and hopefully has not compromised their health.  I always remind them that on any change of meds they need to be vigilant for any unusual side effects and/or closer monitoring of themselves to ensure that this change to save money hasn’t compromised their health.

        My goal as a pharmacist is to give the very best professional service while saving them the most money I can. I am always around to assist them with any questions or unusual issues that they may have.

        I hope I have answered your  question Airborne71.

        You are right about restrictions when using your insurance.. they have tight rules to ensure you don’t get your meds too soon. However, all insurance plans do allow you to get your meds anywhere from 3 to 9 days early depending on the plan you have and the type of medication you are purchasing. In these situations I have my patients get their meds refilled right on the first day of this grace period… over the course of a year they have stock piled one month or more of their meds… it should work for you too. Again, your pharmacist is your key to helping you sort this out.
        As a note… if your doctor or pharmacist refuse to cooperate with you it is time to “fire” them and find someone who will. I am honored to help my patients and I know there are many  phamacists out there who feel the same as I do.  Remember you, the patient, pay OUR WAGES! Without you, I don’t have a job!!

      13. Yeah be sure you stock up on items you can trade!

      14. alanisimus, thank you very much for the input on the prescription meds. One reason I did not include it here as a form of currency, is that it will be mainly pharmacists and doctors who will have the ability to stock pile. I suspect, however, that many of the meds in your pharmacy will be gone if a worst-case scenario were to unfold, as people will storm your counters for drugs, especially those that need them for diabetes, heart, blood pressure, etc. In the book ‘One Second After’, this scenario played out, as people raided the pharmacies, most without a prescription because their doctors were out of contact. Some of the drugs, like insulin, are absolutely critical and those without them may die within a matter of weeks. The secondary problem, especially with something like insulin, is how do you store it if the power grid goes down? I believe solutions exist for those that are resourceful enough to contemplate. If a family member of mine were on a critical medication, I would be very focused on this aspect of prepping.

        Insofar as procurement, it is difficult to obtain anything without a prescription these days. In some cases, I have to show ID just for cold meds! My family doesn’t really take any prescription meds, so we have no real need for anything but maybe antibiotics, for the most part. There’s always Canada or Mexico, but I can’t say I put a whole lot of trust into any meds coming in from south of the border, and the Canadians mostly require prescriptions as well from what I understand. The same goes for “pet medications,” which have been suggested to me as an alternative. This is a tough one.

        JW — good call on the tobacco and booze. My father in law and I have two cases of vodka/whiskey ready for consumption and trade — but probably more for consumption :). I roll my own smokes, so I have some tobacco reserves as well. I am still looking into ways to properly store the tobacco for the longer term before I load up on a 3 – 6 month supply (roughly 4 – 7 pounds). In the near future, I also plan on stockpiling a variety of tobacco seeds — just in case.

        rich, I have thought about what folks in the 70’s were doing insofar as prepping goes… My father-in-law had some silver/gold, and some basic reserves, but he lived in Houston, so it was mainly for hurricanes. Thank you for your input on this, because another possibility is that — dare I say it — nothing will happen, the system will recover and all our preps will be for naught. I’ve said before, that this scenario is fine, in fact, much better than a total collapse, in my view. If the system recovers, then perhaps I lose a bit of money on my existing preps, but I should make this up in wages and business expansion as the global economy recovers, and I’ll be good to go. If, however, the SHTF, my money was well spent and the investment of time and energy will really payoff.

        • HARD CANDY & COFFEE!
          Yeah tobacco & alcohol is a good idea. Although we dont smoke or know anyone who smokes we did purchase 100 tiny little hand size pocket liquor bottles of Jack Daniels in addition to our own personal liquor stash. We felt that during barter we could always toss 1 or 2 on to the stack we’re offering just put it over the edge & close the deal, rather than a full size bottle. Thus we have done the same with hardy candies & little single cup coffee packets (sealed they last for years). A handfull of hard candies or allowing them to smell the coffee may close the deal.
          Remember, “reluctantly” offerig only a little pocket size liquor bottle or a handfull of some long missed novelty item may also lead them to believe that is the last of all you have & hopefully discourage them from following you back home for more. No guarantees.
          Wish you & yours peace.

          • travel personal hygiene items would work to i would think.

      15. Very interesting and thoughtful article.  Thank you.  If I’m a prepper, I have up till now fallen towards the self-sufficient food production end of things.  I suppose that intuitively I felt it would be better to have the intrinsically valuable things people hoarding precious metals would be hoping to trade for, rather than having something with next to zero intrinsic value.   Still, I try  always to be open to looking at a situation from other perspectives.

        Regarding adding tobacco seeds to your preps, you may or may not be aware that smoking quality tobacco is known to be a “heavy feeder” crop, meaning that it depletes soils rather quickly.  As such, it is not among the most sustainable of crops.  Anyone contemplating cropping tobacco would do well to consider the deleterious effects on soil fertility, which we must assume will be of utmost importance when TSHTF.  Potentially, small quantities of tobacco could be incorporated into a crop rotation very carefully managed with regard to fertility.  Some members of the nicotania family are also of use as natural insecticides, so it may prove valuble even to those without tobacco addictions.  But I would think that food production would be the first priority when it comes to farming.  And ridding oneself of any and all active addictions would be a wise move for preppers as well.

      16. A ‘total’ collapse may not, if fact, occur, but we have definitely not seen the worst of this economic mess.  The next 3-5 years will still be very, very difficult.  There is still way to much debt in the market places for this whole thing to get washed over and the party begins again.  People are very poor at learning from their collective mistakes.  We have been living on borrowed time. It is similar to when a household takes out a home equity loan to payoff the credit cards, only to run the cards back up to the limits.  The bailout was the home ‘equity loan’ and ‘we’ are the home.  We are tapped-out!  The dominos will only need a little nudge to start falling.  No matter what happens, the next few years do not look good.

      17. alright, mac, i was going to make some funny Road Warrior reference, but then i realized that i actually have something legit to contribute.  in my thinking, you covered nearly everything.  except, that in my experience working in disaster shelters, i have noticed a commodity that you overlooked – and one that is free and completely renewable with the right prep.  information and communication.

        now, maybe in a complete blowout this is moot, but i would wager that in all other circumstances there will still be some form of communication infrastructure, whether interenet, or citizen band radio, or ham.  investing now in the right equipment could set one up as a source as well as a point of service for these things.  cb radios are pretty cheap these days, and there are plenty of devices out there that can power electronics by simply using the energy from the sun.  heck, you can even get rechargeable alkaline and lithium batteries for things like cameras to document your family’s SHTF experience! 

        seriously though, people who aren’t prepared will need to know where the goods and services they need are, and what routes are open to get to them.  likewise, i suspect there will be communication points where people can send and receive messages to loved ones and such. 

        i have no doubt that in all but the  most the most dire cases there will be plenty of supernerds out there keeping the nets up and working, at least for some essential sites, and of course the other modes require very little infrastructure to maintain, so they will always be there.  there are quite a few geek sites that sell solar chargers (quite powerful ones) at reasonable prices, and, given the fact that i don’t think most people realize just how much we rely on these little miracle devices, investing in them would be wise, even for a small scale disaster like Ike.  remember how many people didn’t even have car chargers and therefor lost the use of their cell phones for communication then? 

        i’m telling you, a free to the vendor, completely renewable commodity is the way to go!  think of all the things you could get for that simple service.

        peace out, g.


      18. snap.  my link was bad.

        also, do you think all the thugs and gangs will have crazy mohawks and wear old football shoulder pads?

      19. KAte, excellent point on tobacco farming. I myself am not well versed in the intricacies of farming — I leave that stuff to my lovely wife — she’s got all the knowledge there. Any tobacco farming i do would be very limited and more than likely for personal use. From my understanding, tobacco is also a difficult crop to farm, so again, it would be one of those experimental things I do. I was thinking about trying out a small crop this year to see if I can get some tobacco leaves, and how much each leaf will actually yield in the form of smoking tobacco… perhaps a new hobby.

        soz — excellent point on the comms. Rick Blaine and I have discussed this in the past and I am actually joining the local amateur radio club this month. I have a friend that is ex-military and he is a comm guy, so I will be picking his brain as well. There are lots of different types of equipment out there, with lots of different capabilities, and I’d definitely like to learn about them. My goal is to eventually set up a Preppers SHTF Network (PSHTFN, or PSN for short 🙂 ), so that if something does happen to communication systems, we could share news across the country. Like an internet without computers, almost. Very good point, and very important… Information is an overlooked commodity, but people pay for it regularly!

        Perhaps I should stock up on some helmets and shoulder pads — those may become barterable goods!

      20. I would love more info on a communication system. I would (and eagerly) set up for a prepper network in a heart beat. Hope you include a range for Canada too!!!

      21. Penna, as soon as we figure out what we’re doing with this, we will let the community know! Thanks for your interest — we think it can be of benefit for thousands of people across North America, and though we sometimes make fun of Canadians and your accents, we still consider you our friends and will include you in any prepping activities 🙂


      22. I live 20 miles outside of NYC and  have working on prepping for maybe 5 years.   I try to take a rational approach and incorporate my efforts into my normal day to day living.  

        I am heavily involved in the stock market, municipal bonds and a few other things.   I have become obsessed with wealth preservation in a crashing economy.

        My plan for the past 5 years is a 3 pronged approach.

        1.  FOOD.
        Every time I go to Costco, I buy a case of canned food.  Lots of cambell soup, spagetti o’s etc.  I make an effort to eat the stuff for lunch to avoid waste.  I have found that cambell’s soup is quite edible a year or more after the expiration date.  I store lots of dry food as well.

        I have armed myself with several nice shot guns and many cases of 12 Ga ammo.   I enjoy shooting trap and shoot on a regular basis to maintain weapon familiarity.  I also own several S&W hand guns.  I mainly to stick with wheel guns since they don’t need clips and don’t jam.  (although I love my 1911).  The S&W 686 is nice since it will handle .38 and .357. 
        For SHTF scenario, I have purchased a Ruger mini 14.  I have had it scoped and bore sited.  While I have no use for a .22 today, in a SHTF situation, it will be a good choice for hunting squirels, rabbits etc.  The ammo is cheap and I am buying lots.
        I buy ammo and store it in taped zip lock bags.  It has proven to be a good investment.  A little more than a year ago, I was buying cases of 9mm for $6 / box of 5o rounds t he price today is more than double!  I’m pretty sure the price of ammo will continue to rise.

        3. METALS
        I buy gold coins and silver coins.  I bought my first gold coins 7 years ago when gold was $400 / oz. 
        I usually buy every 3 months or so to take advantage of dollar cost averaging.  I think everyone should have a minimum of 10% of their net worth in gold.
        I also buy fractional gold coins (1/20, 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz).  You pay a slightly higher premium to purchase these coins, but I think they will be great for barter in a SHTF situation.

        I think Mac has made an interesting case for the need to think through what money is and what it will be.  Obviously at this point nobody knows where things are going.  In the fall of 2008, we were scrambling to get out of the market and into hard cash.  Well, with the administration printing money and plunginging us further into debt, inflation is comming and comming hard.  Its time to start thinking about getting out of cash.

        I guess my bottom line is pay attention to sites like this and spread your assets out in a way that will let you sleep at night.

      23. Ricky, excellent comment. I think those wondering what steps they can take to begin building reserves will find your information very useful. By no means does this post answer every question about what money will be during SHTF, but it might get people thinking about the scenario.

        p.s. — i am jealous of your gun collection :)  I like your point about wheel guns and I think I’ll need to add one to the collection I will be building this year.

      24. Ricky, I have been working hard to re-allocate my portfolio with the upcoming inflation,- dollar depreciating, -geo-political, neo Marxist administration we are experiencing. I been taking your 3 prong approach as well over the past 5-7 years. In addition, working hard to be 100% debt free. Roughly 10% of my portfolio is in precious metals… my question to you is what about the other 90%?  With the dollar soon to experience even greater depreciation…. where do we invest?  Having cash is self-defeating. I am researching ETFs in commodities, inflation protected treasuries, currencies, and short-bond funds as an example. It is difficult to purchase investments in foreign stocks as ADR’s are usually the only recourse. Canadian oil/gas Royalty Trusts offer some protection and excellent returns, but there is limit to how much one can allocate as a percentage of your portfolio.

        Some suggestions perhaps?

      25. What is money? Money,gold silver,diamonds and yes paper is all used when you have an excess of a commodity that you can sell or trade for.When you have an overabundance of wheat or fruit and you don’t need eggs or any other staple  you trade for usually precious metals. We all know this.

        But here is something you may want to consider picking up for trading. Less  say you have a 25# bag of sugar or a big jar of Costco mayo or just about any number of bulk items you have stored.And you want to trade for a bar of soap or roll of toilet paper.You get the idea.
        Well, think about getting those small packets of mustard, mayo, relish, sugar, jelly even hotel soap and shampoo even airplane booze.There is a long list of small pre packaged items out there.
        Yes I know it cost more but the idea of using them for barter is a lot better than opening that gallon of mayo from Costco to dip out a few tablespoons.
        Most of us get a bagful of this stuff in fast food already.
        You could trade this stuff like small  change.You could carry a lot of trading value in a little bag.
        Can you imagine getting one of these items after going months without them. I often think about what I would trade for. A hot cup of coffee or the taste of mustard or sugar or a hot shower with a piece of soap.
        Think about what you would miss.

      26. Alan:
        That is the big question…..what about the other 90%.
        These days I feel like a deer in the headlights.  
        I think the first step in protecting wealth is paying off all debt.  At this point my only debt is a car payment.
        The second step is simply diversifying ones assets.  Lets face it, nobody knows where this roller coaster is going.   I have zero confidence in the stock market and yet, I have done very well with the market in 2009.   I have some confidence in triple tax free municipal bonds, and have dumped the long stuff and reworking to keep it to 5 years out.  I am messing with ETFs and Commodities as well.  None of this inspires a lot of confidence.
        I have spread cash among several banks and keep 3 months worth on hand.  I agree with you that sitting on cash is self defeating, for the time being, I’m willing to trade off the gradual loss in value for the potential opportunities that may develop.

        I guess this is a round about way of saying I don’t know what to do with the bulk of my assets either. 

      27. Ricky,
        Thanks for your reply. Being debt free IS one of the best investments a person can make without a doubt.   Keeping informed and assisting one another as situations unfold through websites like this is without a doubt part of a good strategy.  The other that I always depend on is summarized in Proverbs 3:5-6. Being able to be a resource of help to others is also the right thing to do.. this all boils down to preparation while having peace and putting our trust in the right place.

      28. Comments…..hey get ahold of your veterinarian   ( or me ) if you need to stockpile lifesaving drugs

      29. And where do the people “fleeing the city” think they will be going?  They have no clue how to survive on their own.  Small towns with strong community/family ties will band together and will not allow “city” folk in.  As they are rural they will be well armed and know how to defend and take care of themselves.  Those on the east coast will die in the millions like flies during the first frost.

      30. we use a 100W solar charger at home to charge lead acid batteries~:’

        • You are able to charge non-rechargeable batteries?!

      31. Farms will be needing laborers.  Badly.  We will have to grow a lot more food locally than we have been, and that will mean working for it.  Lots of city folk will discover what farm labor is.  Survival items?  Good boots, several pairs of sturdy work clothes, broad brimmed hat (for the sun) and several pairs of comfortable work gloves – you will go thru gloves, and those soft city hands will need the protection.  Until sufficient housing is able to be put up for the new farm labor, you may have to sleep rough.  In a truly bad situation, the laborers will be sleeping in tents, and the now impossible to buy farm equipment will be living in the barn, safe from the weather.  Yeah, it will be more important than ignorant city folks showing up with a “will work for food” sign on their car.  Expect to work.  That chain saw?  Takes gas, oil, and wears out chains.  The hydraulic wood splitter there in the barn? Same thing.  No gas, no diesel, no hydraulic fluid, it’s back to manual labor.  That two man cross cut saw and the axe and splitting maul next to it?  Can be sharpened with a file and a saw set, and will do the same work, although slower.  ‘Will work for food’ is not just going to be a cardboard sign, it’s going to be a way of life.  Want to eat?  Hoe those beans.  Dig those potatoes.  And, by the way, you can check your guns in the big house.  They will be passed out to you when you take your turn on the watch.  When watch is over, they go back into the safe.  I don’t know many farmers who cotton to the hired help wandering around bristling with guns.  Want the one thing you absolutely better stockpile, and soon?  Lots and lots of non-prescription pain relievers.  Aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprufen.  You all going to be sore from the work, and the folks in the big house won’t be sharing theirs for sore farm workers.  Most farmers are old and have plenty of their own needs for “vitamin I”, thank you!  Y’all going to be digging, raking, hoeing weeds, cutting hay, bucking bales of hay, mucking out the stables, clearing overgrown land to put it back into production, the whole getting in firewood thing, moch cooking to be done over rather hot woodstoves (yes, even in the summer) and oh, yeah, probably no air conditioning… there’s a LOT of work that’s going to need to be done when we go back to manual farm work…  You’ll eat, but you will work for it…the days will be long and sweaty, and the summer nights probably pretty sweaty, too.  Maybe there will be enough power for fans…and maybe not…  and don’t think you are going to come into the country and bully your way around.  The sheriff was elected.  In my county, several times in a row.  We all know him,  and he knows all us.  Most rural sheriffs take a dim view of disorder, and a dimmer view of city folks hassling rural residents, and stealing farm crops.  Reckless discharge of a fire arm is a crime, even out here in the country.  So, incidentally, is the interesting charge of “brandishing a weapon.”  I am sure the county needs folks to mow their grass and cut their firewood, too.  Jail will be the place to find extra laborers for the county…   So, if you plan on coming on out to the country, waving a gun around, and telling those hayseeds to help you out… rethink that plan.  Come in humble, and ready to do one hell of a lot of work, literally sun up to sun down, six days a week, and chores and church on Sunday, and you might get along OK.  After all, like I said, we are going to need all the laborers we can get if we are to start feeding folks with almost purely local grown foods.  But show up with an attitude that you deserve anything, and you can just keep on moving, pilgrim.  And don’t be asking for gas when yours runs out… you remember how to walk, right?  I imagine there will be an ordinance against abandoned cars in the public right of way, so expect to have to deal with legally getting out from under that vehicle for which your name is on the title.  And heaven help you if you are in a stolen car…  Like I said, the county will be needing a lot of cheap labor, too…

      32. Some good books on edible wild plants can be useful. “Use” them now to become familiar with (and accustomed to eating) wild foods. Nature has supplied us with a great abundance of nutritious wild foods. These may be found not only in the forest, but along roadsides and even in overgrown urban areas. Knowledge is something that can never be taken from you.

      33. I know I am a little late to the party, but to the gentleman up above that stated that farms will need laborers, that is an ABSOLUTELY NOT – from a farm girl in a rural community.   Speaking only of our farm, we wont be letting strangers in to work the farm which we will then become defacto responsible for….   Feeding, clothing, housing these laborers is not in my plan.

        And I have no idea who these people are and I am just supposed to let them close to me and my family?   Nope – not going to happen.

        What will happen is that there has been an invitation to like minded people who are trying to get out of the city or have a valuable skill set that we will let on our farm.   

        I may be weird, but I actively game where I will put people, who will make it and show up.   I pay attention to the ages/sex of their kids and how it meets up with handmedowns from my kids and my neices.   I also buy food – buy more food – and then buy more.    I fully expect to feed more than just my family in trade for they are bringing to the table…

        So, no, the rural community will not be taking in peeps off the street.    

        Also, I can tell you that it would be difficult to get to some of these rural communities as blockading a couple roads and/or disabling a few bridges would buy some insulating factors in this regard.

        • You have a farm, but you are still vulnerable to all sorts of havoc that a city dweller can cause. I say the humility should go BOTH ways. If you are a farmer, would you rather spend your time paranoid and watching for some disgruntled person who may do something to the land/water/crops at night, or show an open an honest acceptance of people and work on your crops, and realize it takes all working together. Both farmers and city dwellers are dependent on the good will/intentions of EACH OTHER. (A pissed off farmer doesn’t get a citydweller fed, and a pissed off city dweller can cause more time protecting against assaults (defecating in a main water supply well, arson, theft)-not worth it).Humility needed on all sides.

          • Agreed, but “humility” is in short supply nowadays…

      34. Imagine then a guy on a lifeboat surrounded by people about to drown. Think you’ll be able to beat them all off? You’ll need people on that farm of yours to protect your crop and your family. Got guns? So do city-folk, and they are legion. Your best bet is safety in numbers. Scare the roving gangs into looking for an easier target. Look at America’s own history. Settlers didn’t do too well off on their own in indian lands. They pushed westward in numbers, wagon trains. I appreciate your independent streak, but don’t be naive.

      35. So, these city folks with guns will be satisfied to just work my farm?    Seriously, now naive does that sound?   Wont they eventually WANT my farm?

        I am independent, but  I am not stupid.    I will have people on my farm – people who know how to protect – people who bring an excellent skill set….   I do need more than what is currently here, but those I know….   

        The same lifeboat argument can be made for a house with a good food pantry and supplies.   Would you just let anyone in to help you keep it?    If they knocked nicely?    I didnt think so….

        These kind of arrangements need to be made ahead of time.   Ours have.

      36. Someone once said, “Preparation is not mandatory… but neither is survival”. Prep now, survive later.

      37. This is a great article, its my first time here, and the comments I read are also great follow up. One thing I’m not clear on though…I have a mortgage on my home, its really my only debt, and I don’t have the cash to pay it off. If the SHTF and the dollar collapses, who owns my home? I intend to stay until “removed” cold and dead, but who would own my home? Does anyone out there understand what happens to mortgaged property in this scenario?

      38. To John K and interested others:  as a retired attorney, I can answer your question re who “owns” a home with a mortgage on it.  The same answer will apply to anyone who “owns” any asset which is encumbered by a lien of some sort, whether it be a car, a business, or whatever.  Here is the answer: whoever holds title to an asset “owns” it, meaning that he has the right to use it or dispose of it.  BUT that right of “ownership” is not unlimited; it is subject first and foremost to paying dswd

      39. (…sorry about the previous psot; I sneezed and hit the send button before I was done, so continue here)…BUT that right of “ownership” is not unlimited; it is subject first and foremost to paying the debt in the installments when due and paying off the debt at the tiem of sale.  Failure to pay the debt can result in foreclosure on real estate or seizure and sale of other assets.  So, the short answer is, as long as you continue to pay the debt, you will be OK, but if you don’t or can’t, you are subject to loss of the asset (house or other property).  If you are concerned about your ability to keep paying the debts according to schedule, and fear an economic collapse, it would be better to sell the house or other encumbered assets to pay off debt.  Nobody has a crystal ball, but people reading this website clearly think–and I agree–that something wicked this way comes.  If it is deflationary, assets become more valuable and debt becomes more onerous, so that anyone in debt will find that the debt has become  larger realtive to his/her ability to repay it–perhaps impossible.  But it the economy goes into hyperinflation–the scenario I am sure of–the situation will not be much better, because although the value of a debt may decrease in “ real terms”, the cost of everything will rise so much that it may be much harder to scrape together the money to pay the debt as it comes due.  Debt is to be avoided if one plans to survive the coming meltdown, whether inflationary or deflationary.

      40. Reply to John K:  A mortgage is a lien on an property.  Other than credit card debt or educational loans, most debts are secured by a lien on any asset financed with borrowed money.  The nominal “owner” of the asset is the person whose name is on the title as “owner”, so even if you have a mortgage or a lien on your car, you are the “owner”. But the right of sale or other disposition of an asset secured by a lien is “encumbered” by that lien, meaning three things: (1) failure to pay the debt results in a foreclosure on the asset–it is seized, sold, and the proceeds of sale applied first to pay off the debt and costs of sale, with any surplus left over going to the “owner”, and (2) at the time of a voluntary sale of the asset, the proceeds are applied first to the debt and (3) the lien follows the property, so that even if you give the asset away, the lien is still attacehed to it and the debt must still be paid. Implication: anyone who expects an economic collapse would be wise to do whatever is necessary to pay off debts, including getting rid of assets that are encumbered by a lien.

        • In case of a major financial meltdown and international societal collapse, you wont need to worry about debt.
          Being in possession of your property will be enough.
          Who will be able to enforce their claims???
          Do you think in a major event, bank employees will worry about collecting your mortgage payment or about saving their own families?
          Nobody will be traveling much and county sheriffs will have much bigger problems to deal with than a lien on your and millions of other properties.
          In all watershed events/societal changes, creditors lose.
          NO EXCEPTIONS.

          • The Banks or Mortgage Company will hire THUGS to come take your property. Wether you leave willingly or foribly or in a body bag will be your choice. There will be nothing you can do because they have the lien and you haven’t paid.
            Get rid of all of your debt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      41. I still remember the Hungarian hyper-inflation of 1945-46 (Google it). I can vouch for the validity of Mac Salvo’s recommendations. I can add a few more items like matches, candles. Cigarettes, whiskey, rum are also very useful. Jewelry is easy to barter, sometimes one gets more for it than for precious meteal coins of comparable value. Un-debased bank notes, like Canadian dollars, Swiss francs may be used but the govrenment most likely will make their exchange punishable.  Cooking oil will be VERY precious, it is easy to stock, easy to trade especially if you can cut it in smaller containers; buy it by the gallon or 5 gallon for storage. Powdered or condensed milk are very important for small children. Make sure you know how to prepare simple meals. In one year from July of 1945  to July of 1946 the price of kilo of bread had risen from 6 monetary units to 1 billion 560 million Hungarian monetary units (pengo) roughly equivalent of my monthly pocket money; that is how I was a multi-billionaire at the age of 12. May God help us all when we’ll see the days of the hyper-inflation (if we deserve it….)

      42. I was just introduced to this blog via my  former boss, which I am very thankful for, we had  often talked about these very things, I might add, regarding the situation of meds.  I myself half to take alot of medicine, so, I have started researching a “Pharmacology Herb Garden”  and have started using myself as the guinea pig, so far, I have found comprabable herbs  for just about everything but the diabetes, because I am only type 2, with a basic healthy diet, and exercise, I think I can stablize that.  With no money, there will be no more frills like Starbucks to tempt me, so I may end up healthier than I otherwise would  be.

      43. Does anyone have any thoughts on what to grow in a  “Pharmacology Herb Garden” ?

        I am a gardener.  I know that Foxglove is the original heart medicine for heart failure and there are plants for relief of pain.

        What can we grow for allergies such as hayfever?

        What else can we grow?

        Thank you for that good idea.  I will have to go read up on this.

        a very interesting site. some of the tradables I would consider :
        salt (one of the most neglected and forgotten essential commodities) ,
        rice, beans, pasta (just add water, you have water right?)
        cooking oil, sugar, and coffee
        if you keep flour and want to make bread, don’t forget yeast or baking powder
        bleach and plenty of it (one gallon of Regular Clorox Bleach = 3,800 gallons of drinking water.)
         oral and topical antibiotics, anti diarrhea drugs such as Loperamide, antipyretics such as ibuprofen or  aspirin, antihistamines such as benadryl and a Merck manual or other good medical reference could be life savers. Infection, fever and diarrhea are big killers in less than sanitary conditions.
        if you live in an area with mosquitoes or other pest than a good supply of insect repellent is advisable.
        .22 rounds are cheap and take up small space. and it is the most common caliber in the U.S. bet 90% of you gun owners have one.

      45. Rich:  I also went thru the same thing 35 years ago.  I read H. Ruff and other books then.  Some of these hard core preppers are now dead and all their preps were tossed that the heirs couldn’t sell.  I’m also most concerned with open borders, drug trade and incompetent leadership.  I do little prepping, knowing many in the 80’s did it in vain and ditto for y2k folks –all for nothing.

      46. A few items I have NEVER seen on a prepper list include:
        Taser and/or Pepper spray—silent but pretty good to stop someone with not the best of intentions.  I’ve seen several types of both from $15-50 each
        Body armor—hey if you are exposing yourself out in the open or are in a shooting situation you probably will wish you DID have some.  What I have seen are from $250 and up, depending if new or used and quality and stopping power.
        Night vision goggles.  A little research on the internet has revealed that there 3 different “levels” of quality.  The real cheapy ones are about $150+ the better ones are in the $500 range and the primo level are $2500-4000.  Watching what is going on at night could be a real life saver
        And finally a roll or two of barb wire.  You ask,  “what the hell do I need barb wire for?  Well if you are trying to keep the bad guys out of your house or at least slow them down–that is why.  My dad used to put up fencing when I was growing up on our 15 acre ranch.  I haven’t priced a roll recently but they shouldn’t be all that expensive nowadays.
        A lot of people will bring up radio gear to be able to have 2-way communication between 2 or more people—like a CB or walkie- talkie.  They might be used for talking to neighbors or they might be members of your clan if one has to leave on an errand.   
        The one way radio, just listening in and monitoring the outside world either in your local town or neighborhood and possibly across the country will be helpful knowing how other people are doing or what the cops, fire or military have going—road blocks etc.  I don’t know beans about which ones I need whether it is HF, VHF, or UHF.  I read someone had a 12 Volt solar battery for charging up storage batteries for the radios to operate on.  Now that IS a great idea.  Can anybody share where you can get one of these—only internet? Local sporting goods or hardware store?  Where can I actually see one?
        If there is anybody out there who can recommend specific radios that might do the job as described above I’d appreciate any comments you may have as to the type, brand/model #.

        • Try Northern Tool and Equipment.

      47. Very interesting article. A few things I can think of… Sourdough starter would be good to have on hand. Packaged dry yeast has a limited shelf life, but you can culture your own starter and bake delicious breads. Also it may be prudent to have a hive of bees or a sorghum press & sorghum seeds so that you can either harvest honey or make sorghum syrup to feed your sourdough starter. Or you can stockpile sugar, but I like the beehive idea.

        Canning supplies would be good to have. Even if you do not can yourself, there will be a need for canning supplies by people who want to preserve food.

        Also what is everyone planning to do for electricity? I have heard you can build your own solar panels and it’s not too expensive to do so. My family was just approved for a $7,000 grant to build a wind energy turbine, but this will not give us the amount of power we are accustomed to. I think it will be plenty of power to run the well pump for irrigation and to keep the refrigerator and deep freeze going, but it’s only a 3.7 kilowatt unit we will be installing.

        Another commodity to consider is cheese. If you have a cow, the correct enzymes/ cultures and some rennet, you can be your neighborhood’s cheese supplier. Or you can make a simple cheese by combining warm milk and lemon juice. Separate the curds from the whey. Add a dash of salt… You’ve got cheese! I’ve made it before and it’s easy and good to eat.

      48. I just thought of one more commodity the average person would never think of…. Cow Patties. If you live on the Great Plains, as I do, there are not a whole lot of trees to cut for firewood. The wood could be depleted very quickly if everyone was suddenly forced to use it… But in the absence of wood, you could collect cow patties, because a dry cow patty burns readily and can provide warmth and fire to cook over. I know, this is not a culturally acceptable practice at this time in America, but the nomadic Mongolian people still use Yak Patties to heat their Yurts. If it’s good enough for the Nomads….. Why not?

      49. “Initially, the traditional currency system will maintain some value, though it may be rapidly depreciating in buying power. For those with physical, non-precious metal denominated currency on hand (paper dollars, non-silver coins), spending it as rapidly as possible is the best approach.”

        True as far as it goes, but it isn’t a pure all-or-nothing situation.  Certainly preserve your precious metals.  But what about silver cutlery?  Or valuable collectibles with a liquid market?  Or prize pieces of antique furniture or a good wristwatch?

        It’s a sliding scale.  Dispose of (“spend”) those items acting as currency which are in the greatest oversupply.  Keep the other, more scarce ones, precious metal or not.  The ultimate thing any investor – and that’s what we’ll be doing! – aims for is to hold only those assets in greatest demand and scarcest supply – whatever they may be.

      50. I live in a major city, I started prepping around 2007. One big mistake I made was with the storage of my dry foods (rice, grains, pasta, cake mix, etc). Much of it I placed in double plastic bags, and then into cardboard boxes or those big plastic storage bins. Well, I learned that mice can eat right through extra heavy cardboard, and once the holes are there pantry moths, ants and all kinds of other little bugs convene on the food. I had several packs of Raman noodles with literally nothing left but the plastic packaging. The plastic storage bins are also useless because they are not airtight and there is often a 1/8th inch gap somewhere where the lid meets the bin. Moths, weevils, and anything else find these gaps, go in, eat and reproduce and eat more. Also, I stored the plastic gallon jugs of water. I didnt know (and you probably dont) that those gallon jugs are made to decompose in landfills, so over time they develop pinholes, and I’ve found some jugs to be empty of water that leaked through such holes. Now I store water in glass or the better plastic, such as what soda is packaged in. Look into how to store your food properly, there are plenty of sources on the internet. I know put my food into food buckets with the o-ring seals, and pack much of it in a vacuum sealer. If you buy bulk food there are often moth eggs in the grains/rice which turn into moths as the food is stored, I have heard freezing the rice or grains can help kill the eggs but have not had any definitive experience with it. Food vacuum machines can often be found at thrift stores for under $10 and I have about 3 of them, and they do a good job. I also have some food dehydrators bought for maybe $6 at thrift stores – when I see an insane sale on produce (lately, blueberry packs for .99 each, or big melons 2 for $3), I buy a ton and dehydrate the food, then vacuum seal it. It will keep for years, and with the water removed from the produce it shrinks to about 1/4 the original size and loses about 90% of its weight, though all the nutrients remain, and it tastes much better because without the water all the flavor is concentrated – perfect for hiking or bugging out with a light compact load of food that pack all the nutrients. Put a dried apricot in water overnight and it will grow into a full sized apricot fruit, it’s pretty amazing. I encourage everyone to check their preps for bug and vermin attacks. Lay out mouse traps and put up pantry moth traps, which work amazingly and make sure your containers are vermin proof and airtight.

      51. I see lots of people preparing which is good, but no one lists spare parts for vehicles or appliances. I fix everything we own myself and reload lots of calibers. Many I do not even have the weapons for. Trade skills, chemistry, carpentry books and blacksmithing skills will be essential.
        Also history books and old do it yourself manuals are a must. Check out Lindsay books for lots of info, I have about half of them myself. As an ex navy nuclear machinist I can fix or build about anything I need and have learned how to cast parts to make my own lathe, milling machine and other tools. Skills people need all the time even now and more if a SHTF scenario comes to pass. Just my 8 cents worth (adjusted for the non existant inflation)!

      52. Got here via the “Barter Society Emerges in Greece As Crisis Deepens” article. Seems unlikely anyone will notice this, as this article is old – but to whoever:

        I wonder about the ammo, fuel, and other easy items to “counterfeit”. How is anyone to easily know if water or other fluids were used to cut the gasoline with? How will anyone know if the cartridge is packed with powder, or sand? JWR touts the .22LR as a standard unit for barter, but I don’t see it. How would you know that they didn’t find them in a puddle of water? Sure, you might trust your neighbor if something was from his own private stock, but let it pass through a few hands and then who knows? To be used in exchange, an item must be verifiable as genuine without consuming/destroying it to find out for sure. Just a thought. Like the site.

      53. Nothing kills hunger like coffee and/or tobacco. Cigarettes and a good cup of coffee will command a fair trade when the SHTF.

      54. to ludwig.
        you wouldn’t know, trust is the best option and knowing what your dealing with as far as fuels.
        Propane is hard to contaminate, if you add air you make it very explosive but still useable.
        gas,”sometimes”you can see different fluids in normal gas, diesel would be hardest as you can mix in so many things and it still looks and smells the same.
        dud bullets, many out there can tell reloads from new
        and I would stick with new.
        If I ever trade .22, mine are good though I only have about
        12 or 13 500 round boxes and you can’t reload .22

        It all depends on who your dealing with, If you feel you can trust them, if others you know can vouch for them
        and how bad you might need what they have for trade.

        Just worry about that ammo you may trade being used on you to get whatever else you might have.

      55. Very good article. In this crisis period people are more and more thinking of different ways to exchange, instead of buy with money. Exchangeing not only products, but also services and favors in general. This is the reason why I noticed the increased interests in time banks and in website like this one:


        where people can exchange favors in exchange of points; points which can be used to get other favors from other people.

      56. put back some cigarettes….they’ll be very valuable.

      57. Anybody remember that guy who went through the collapse in Bosnia?  Ferfal, or something like that.  He mentioned anything that would start a fire was incredibly valuable–matches, lighters.  These items aren’t around as much as they used to be because there are fewer smokers.


        Prescription drugs will be like gold, so stock up on antibiotics.

      58. It’s true, money on bank accounts will not be much good whenever resources get short. Thank god, with the latest events more people start to realize that.


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