The world is going crazy, y’all.
That is the long and short of it. History has shown us good and bad times. It has given us clues about what happens when the world is about to do a 180 and I think the indications are here now. If you don’t see the signs of something happening soon, I don’t know what to tell you.
Prices are getting worse by the day at the stores. Building materials climbing in price again. Food costs are rising. Shortages are being noticed at most grocery stores. Availability of goods is still an issue. Rising vehicles prices – new or used – are unaffordable for many people. Prices at the gas pumps are rising too. The list goes on, but we are headed for some more challenging times.
With the pandemic, inflation, and supply chain issues being the cause of most of the above problems (as of today), my mind is constantly going right now. I don’t always know what to do when that happens, but having something to focus on is a good thing. Having a plan and actively working towards it helps everyone, including you.
10 Ways To Prepare For An Economic Downturn (or Financial Collapse)
1. Make every penny count right now. You need to become debt-free as much as you can. You need to be putting away money in either savings or a cash fund readily available to you. Preferably both. You need to get those pesky bills paid off. You need to pay off the credit cards. After that, throw money at your preps. If you can manage to make it happen in your budget, set aside money for extra groceries and supplies every paycheck.
2. Food, food, food. You need to be able to weather a pay period without going to the grocery store. You might have a month where you can afford groceries and still go to work too. Right now, you need to store at least one month of food. Three months of food would be better if not a year. You need to sit down and make a meal plan for at least one month so you can buy groceries and stock up accordingly.
I do want to say this: if you can not afford to make this happen at once, then do it slowly. Buy the ingredients for an extra meal or two every time you go to the store. You need to prepare, but you should not be taking out a loan to do it.
3. Get gas cans, fuel stabilizers, and fill those cans. You may need it for your vehicles, generators, and small equipment. You may have a time that you cannot afford gas for your vehicles. The gas stations may not have gas at the pumps for a few days. Either way, extra gas on hand is never a bad thing. Just be sure to use and fill the gas cans regularly so you always have fresher gas on hand.
4. Figure out how you can grow food, grow more food, and preserve that food. You may not be able to afford to buy anything else, mainly produce. If you eat primarily organic produce like I do, this can become even more problematic. You need to figure out a plan for growing more food. I know many people think they cannot grow food, but truthfully you can figure out a way.
You have space even if you do not have a yard, but you have front steps, a balcony, or a small back patio. No space outside? Grow lights are not quite as good as sunlight, but they will do the job if you grow inside the house or apartment. You can grow food from scraps of vegetables. You can grow in buckets and containers. You can grow in raised beds and landscaping outside. You can build a garden outside. Ask friends or family if you can start a garden at their place. See if your community has gardening spaces available.
There are a million excuses to say you can’t, but there are a million ways to say you can.
5. Take an inventory of your household goods. What do you need to get through the next year or two? With supplies being delayed or just plain not available, you need to look at what you need for at least the following year. I would make that two years. How much laundry soap do you go through in a month? If you have kids, what will their clothing needs potentially be in the next year or two? Look at everything in your house and assess how much you will need in the next year or two.
If you cannot afford those goods due to the cost of living, you will already have on hand what you need. However, be realistic. Your kids will not need 30 shirts and 20 pairs of pants for each size. Hopefully, you will be able to do laundry once a week and will only need what they need for a week. My general rule was 10 shirts/sweatshirts/sweaters, 10 pairs of shorts/pants, 2-3 pairs of pajamas, 1-2 dresses for the girls, 2 pairs of shoes, winter gear, unlimited socks, and 10 pairs of underwear.
Garage sales and thrift stores are still where I do most of my stocking up for clothes and whatnot. Cleaners and soap products are purchased from the stores. If you are fortunate enough to have discount salvage stores near you to stock up keeper, then take advantage of the lower prices.
6. Learn to make do with what you have. If you are really saving money, you know that you have to make do with what you have. You are not able to go to the grocery store. You can afford to go to the grocery store. You learn to become an MYO/DIY ninja with what you have on hand. I keep a couple books in my reference library with recipes for making cleaners and whatnot. I have gone through times when I couldn’t even afford the cheapest cleaners at the store and I would make my own. I made my laundry detergent for years.
We are a shopping society. We are not content with what we have or think we don’t have the time to make our own things. Realizing that we don’t need another pair of shoes or more gadgets, you will do with what you already have. Learning to be content with the resources you already have on hand will help you be more adaptable later.
7. Be frugal. Many of us don’t understand what it is like to be genuinely frugal just to survive. I know this suggestion is like beating a dead horse, but it’s true. You need to become frugal now to survive and thrive later.
I think many Depression-era survivors would be appalled at how much waste goes on today. One of the things I learned from my parents and my grandparents was to never throw anything away that could be reused. Many of those things could come in handy for a later purpose. One of the best books I have read for saving money and getting the last bit of use out of almost everything was The Tightwad Gazette. I would highly recommend getting a copy and learning what you can from it.
8. Keep building your circle and your community. Whether you need help with fixing something, borrowing tools, trading, babysitting, and more, you will need your friends and family to help you get through what could be a tough time. You will come to rely on them more than you could ever guess.
9. Get the tools you will need for the future. You will have to fix your own things, mend your own clothes, and be your own maintenance guy. You will need tools for that. You should take an inventory of what you have, what you need, and what needs to be replaced. Items are starting to be out of stock at most stores, so this is something I would not drag my feet doing.
10. Work on your health. Cut out the crap in your diet. I know from personal experience that this is hard. However, those junk foods may no longer be affordable or be available. Also, find a way to be more active. Whether that means going on a walk every day or spending 30 minutes power cleaning your house, find a way to be on your feet more and not your butt. Like I said, I know working on your health can be challenging, and finding the right combination to feel healthier can be difficult. However, you may not be able to afford the medical bills down the road. You may need to work harder outside. You may have to take a job that requires physical labor. Becoming healthier in a crisis will be harder to do then than now.
Some of these suggestions can seem extreme, but I have been poor in my life and I know that it is hard just to survive, much less thrive. You need to take what is coming seriously. Most people think we will just pull ourselves out of this like we usually do. There are still people who are recovering from 2008. Some people remember the stagnant inflation of the 1970s and the recovery from that. The Great Depression left a mark on the people who lived through it. What is potentially coming is very serious and will be difficult for the average joe to get through.
If you take the precautions now, you won’t regret it later.
Thanks for reading,
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