How to Mentally Prepare Yourself for the EPIC Economic SHTF That’s Coming

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Author of The ULTIMATE Survival Gear Handbook

In my last article, I tried to establish the relationship between the economy and SHTF and provide some insights on some implications that institutions and other factors have in determining the outcome of collapses (economic or otherwise). Now let’s talk about the practical matters of the looming economic SHTF.

It’s time to see more about what’s coming and how to prepare for it. 

Nothing has happened yet. Why should I worry?

I know many people are tired of hearing the economy will crash, and we’ll suffer the consequences for years to come. I get mocked all the time for continually talking about a reckoning of epic proportions. “For more than a decade, yet nothing has happened,” I keep hearing. 

And my reply to that? “Wrong!”

First, a lot has happened: the 2008 GFC was the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression. Millions got wiped. We can still feel reflexes of it today. Second (and perhaps the most important): the situation of the worldwide economy has deteriorated significantly since then. 

Some people must wake the f*ck up and smell the coffee.

According to Bloomberg, reports estimate global debt at $281 trillion. And that’s by the end of 2020. Notwithstanding the possibility of underestimation, that’s already more than 350% of global GDP. Wait, there’s more: last year, the Federal Reserve printed 40% of all USD currently in circulation. Ouch.

With that, I ask, how come nothing has happened? Does it take a three-digit IQ to see the implications? 

So, who said we’ve seen the worse of this yet? Yes, people will wake up indeed, one way or another. And what a shock it will be. Very few are aware, and even less are preparing for what will likely be a suffer-fest. 

An early warning does not mean the warning is wrong.

There is always something governments and institutions can do to kick the can down the road. In fact, since early 2008 (even before that), governments have done precisely that in overdrive. 

Unlike natural disasters, the powers that be can artificially postpone economic SHTFs.

However, not indefinitely.

In practice, this means we may keep living on borrowed time for a while. But at one point, reality will assert itself and catch up. A lot of brilliant people believe that reality is coming soon.

Hindsight is 20/20

And that’s why being a prepper is a mindset. In 2018-2019 if someone told you the entire world would lockdown for months thanks to a virus and engulf us all in this craziness we’re in now, how would you have reacted? 

When I say bad days are coming, I’m not talking about or trying to predict the end of the world. Arguing that is a distortion. Being prepared doesn’t mean I’m living in a bunker with a gas mask and tons of canned food. Life goes on, and we should be out there living it while we still can

But this isn’t incompatible with being ready and aware. Don’t stick your damn head in the sand: use it instead. Is it better to be early and prepared, or late and unprepared? With all the warning signs blinking red, the choice should be obvious.

Many in the prepping community don’t see a financial crisis as sexy or impactful.

Maybe the world of finance and economy are viewed as too complex, too esoteric, too corrupt – in short, too distant – especially by a conscious and pragmatic bunch like preppers. 

Also, older and newer generations have lived on a tailwind for the last two or three decades, an exceptional situation provided in great measure by fake money printing, heavy interventionism, and scandalous bail-outs. That undoubtedly contributed to making a lot of people soft and complacent.

I don’t know if those are the reasons or not. Understandably, most would rather deal with the practical aspects of prepping (also because it’s easier). But preparedness is all about planning, forecasting, cycles of abundance and scarcity, rational consumption of resources, resilience, etc. So, in essence, prepping is economy.

Now, on to what matters: preparing for an economic SHTF

Those who find things are volatile now shouldn’t wait until this runaway train hits society headfirst. When people realize the size and depth of the fraud and that their wealth, savings, pensions, and rights are in danger (or have evaporated), they will react. 

How much of a storm it will be? We’ll see. But that may force the governments to crack down even harder to contain the revolt. And if that happens, the mechanics of action-reaction could mean ever-growing bilateral tensions and conflicts within societies (and possibly external ones too). 

You may think I am gloomy. However, look into history again and draw your own conclusions. Regardless of what you see or where you live, you can do better than to take things for granted. It is time to remain alert and active, not alienated and complacent.

Take action now.

Don’t wait until something happens to start researching and learning how to live in a world with an economy entirely different from the one we had for the past 20 or 30 years. 

I know this sounds like basic prepping advice. But it is less about stockpiling food or ammo and more about not underestimating the blow that living a simpler or more limited life can have on ours, our family’s and friends’ psychology (and physiology too).

On that, Daisy provides a wealth of advice on living frugally in many of her books and articlesJose is also a great source of information and wisdom about everyday-life-real-life in a collapsed economy. Go back to their writings and heed their words. It’s actionable stuff that can provide a lot about preparation and survival during personal and collective economic SHTF events.

Deep economic crises can last a lot longer than other SHTFs.

Natural or man-made disasters can have a much quicker resolution, so it’s easier to prepare for them in many ways. Stockpiles and other preparations are good for these situations and can ease the blow of an economic crash. 

But stuff doesn’t last forever. Some preppers in Venezuela had food stocked for a year or two. At the time, it seemed a lot, and on all accounts, this helped them go through the early phase. But the ordeal has been going on for twenty years. Think of that for a moment. It’s a lifetime – and it hasn’t ended yet. 

The correct mindset is a marathon, not a sprint. This is why gear, stockpiles, and equipment matter but more in the short-term: to provide some comfort, safety, and confidence as a way to soften the blow. Mid and long-term, especially in a lasting economic downturn, require a different mentality. 

Think of economic SHTF preparation in other ways.

Life goes on. It’s perfectly fine to keep enjoying your current lifestyle. Continue consuming and using products and services that are still available and your financial condition allows. But get ready for a downgrade. Research, learn, test, get acquainted, and live some time using alternative/lower brands and options. 

See how this change affects you and your family. I know most people can adapt. But losing can hurt, and it’s much better when it’s voluntary, or we know how it feels. This exercise can ease the transition practically and psychologically and save a lot of work in case of shortages, price hikes, or a reduction in the variety and availability of products, which are all common during economic downturns. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of this sort of preparation for surviving a more harsh economic collapse. Just look at the tsunami of mental and psychological illnesses that stemmed from the lockdowns and the whole craziness we’re living.

Invest in tools.

Here is more of a practical tip. Refurbishing, reusing, repurposing, recycling and repairing were common ways to save money during the ’70s and ’80s. Inflation is higher on first necessity items and lower or even negative on less essential products and services. These are precisely the ones that can be DIYed. 

Installing or repairing stuff around the house or car leaves more to be used in other goods and necessities or saved and invested. You can generate income by doing this too. Tools are still cheap, so it’s a good idea to have a good set ready along with complementary items such as screws, blades, PPEs, and other non-perishables. (Even if you don’t know how to use them now.)

Have an Inflation Mentality.

On payday, my father would take us all to the supermarket to pull carts topped. Non-perishables would be purchased all at once to be stored and rationed. He’d also top the tank of the car and pay his bills that same day.

It was that, or his salary would be over well before the month was. Prices would rise daily, sometimes twice per day. Everyone did the same for decades until the country could contain inflation in the mid-’90s. Sounds too crazy? Can you imagine living in such a world? 

Perhaps you should because even though there’s no way to tell what kind of scenario we’ll have this time around, a particular type of mentality is necessary to navigate a fast-changing economy and optimize resources. Inflation, deflation, or stagflation scenarios require a shift: we must think in terms of purchasing power instead of affordability when facing an economic SHTF

War-gaming possible scenarios.

Think of the many different ways that an economic SHTF can, directly and indirectly, affect you and your family. Consider the implications for your job, career, savings, mortgages, investments, pensions, income, healthcare, everything. 

Also, think about practical changes in everyday routine: how will transportation, leisure and entertainment, safety, shopping, and other routines and necessities (yours and your family’s) may be affected, both by the changes in the economy, the society, the politics, and your community. 

Do the above to plan and implement the necessary preparations to provide home and personal safety, health, mental stability, etc.

Here is an interesting read from Daisy back in 2017 on What a Second Civil War Would Like Like. 

Don’t forget the pandemic.

Whatever your views on the whole COVID-19 ordeal, things like virus developments and government impositions, lockdowns, mandates, vaccines, etc., are still a threat and can compound issues. I defend that everyone should be free to decide how to act, but either way, everyone can be impacted by consequences and changes. Use common sense, and don’t play the fool for anything.

Establish plans for short, mid, and long terms. 

Be aware that generational economic downturns don’t happen suddenly. There can be shocks and crashes of various magnitudes with more immediate and grave consequences, but things usually occur in stair-steps cycling through booms and busts (as they’re happening right now) while we ride to the bottom.

Short term means having preparations (cash and provisions) to deal with frozen accounts, bank holidays, confiscations, bouts of social unrest, things like that. Mid-term can include shortages, disruptions, blackouts, and overall decadence and failure in public services and utilities. And the long term, all the effects of inflation compounded with stagnant or declining economic growth (stagflation) and everything that comes with it.

Some (many?) things cannot be anticipated or planned. 

And that’s fine. We must accept, not worry, and not stress. Don’t get stuck on that. Reflect, discuss the possibilities, take notes on what you can, and move on. Stay calm, positive, and open on what you can’t. Stay mobile and agile. Keep improving. Above all, learn to roll with the punches and adapt. Learn to decide fast and act swiftly. None of that takes special skills, much less gear or stockpiles. 

Hyperinflation is essentially a failed state.

Inflation is a form of taxation, a very punishing and unfair one. Most important, high levels of inflation mean a broken-down state and society, which has reflexes and ripples through all aspects of everyday life.

Expect a lowering in infrastructure investment and maintenance, a worsening (or failure) of public services and necessities, a general reduction in quality on everything public and private. And, of course, all the social volatility that we know will occur.

The lack of “Crisis Memory” may turn things worse.

Most people today have no idea what are things like the indexed economy, price control, and how the market and government respond to these things (hint: shortages, withholds, confiscations, price gouging, and all kinds of scams and tricks). 

There are now entire generations that have no memory of living in such an environment. These issues haven’t been on the minds of the individuals and the collective for decades now. 

Will this lead to mistakes, misreadings, bad judgments, and wrong calls? Probably. The market isn’t even considering the possibility of crashes and changes (yet). I’m afraid this will worsen the consequences of the impending economic disaster. But I hope I’m wrong. In fact, not just about this but everything else.

Final thoughts about an economic SHTF

Much of what happens in the economy is related to the psychology of the people and the collective. When things are good, and everyone is happy, we behave one way. When things are bad, and people are in a bad mood, afraid or pissed, we behave totally differently regarding money, savings, and everyday life. And this ends up shaping up the future, and the reason why it’s impossible to predict it. 

The main takeaways are:

  1. Since no government can produce anything, if much, they have the power to make things worse. In the end, it’s always the people who pay the price and have to make all the sacrifices. 
  2. While these kinds of significant economic events are terrible for most people, they are also excellent opportunities for those who prepare to move up in life and stay ahead.
  3. So get busy: whatever your situation, preparing intellectually, mentally, and psychologically is within reach. Study, get literate in economy and finance if you will. At the very least, don’t be an “economy denialist.” And, of course, keep working on any material preparations you deem essential. No one knows about you better than yourself, so betting on ourselves, whatever happens, is the best strategy of all.

How are you preparing?

Do you believe we’re about to face a massive economic crisis? Why or why not? How are you preparing yourself for a long-term economic SHTF scenario? Let’s discuss it in the comments.

About Fabian

Fabian Ommar is a 50-year-old middle-class worker living in São Paulo, Brazil. Far from being the super-tactical or highly trained military survivor type, he is the average joe who since his youth has been involved with self-reliance and outdoor activities and the practical side of balancing life between a big city and rural/wilderness settings. Since the 2008 world economic crisis, he has been training and helping others in his area to become better prepared for the “constant, slow-burning SHTF” of living in a 3rd world country.

Fabian’s ebook, Street Survivalism: A Practical Training Guide To Life In The City, is a practical training method for common city dwellers based on the lifestyle of the homeless (real-life survivors) to be more psychologically, mentally, and physically prepared to deal with the harsh reality of the streets during normal or difficult times. 

You can follow Fabian on Instagram @stoicsurvivor

How to Mentally Prepare Yourself for the EPIC Economic SHTF That\'s Coming
Fabian Ommar

Fabian Ommar

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  • Good article, Fabian. Living below one’s means now is good preparation for what will come. Investing in tools is a good idea, but knowing how to use those tools is just as important.

    Barter will become the name of the game and while toilet paper was a hot commodity last year, what will it be in the future? Medicine? Alcohol? Safe drinking water? Seeds?

    This is a topic worth thinking about.

  • I recall the onset of the first round of lockdowns, standing atop the hill behind the house, noting the lack of the sound of traffic on the road. The only time it is that quiet is Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years day. Where up to an hour could go by without the sound of a vehicles passage. Just the sound of the wind in the trees.
    Thinking to myself is this the sudden big step down from the slow SHTF to the fast? Will it be healthcare system overwhelmed and failed as bodies pile up? Society as a whole experiences vapor lock as everyone will not so much as venture past the front door? The JIT/BAU system fails, and the follow on chaos as people begin to run out of food?
    Meh. Take a deep breath. Dont get excited till there is something to get excited about.
    Till then, keep calm and prep on.

  • The big problem is that given the current state of the general public and of the criminal element here in the US: that a major economic crash would result in SHTF, (as in civil war), not as Venezuela and other countries have experienced.
    Both the times and the attitudes of people have changed, as well as the different racial mix in America and the culture here. All of that lends itself to a more TEOWALKI style, SHTF scenario.

    But if we just got hyperinflation and an economic down turn, that might present a must less drastic scenario. As long as The government could still keep up the EBT, Section 8 and the SS benefit payments. If they are reduced, made worthless by hyperinflation or stopped entirely, expect something closer to open revolt, or civil war on the streets

    Regardless of the type of SHTF that occurs, you are on the right track. Because tools and skills will always be valuable, no matter what type of economic or SHTF scenarios we encounter.
    Maybe not when it first starts, but as time passes and people try to rebuild society, those things and skills will be valuable.

  • Dear Fabian, you´re right.

    The crisis in Venezuela has lasted way more than what we never thought.
    Now we have to find the way to surf through the other side.

    But the pandemics and the Great Reset coming up has made me see that the best place to be is where you don´t pay rent, a fair weather, can collect rainwater, and can produce some staples for your table without too much hassle.

    • Yep Jose you’re right. Excellent points. And the thing many people don’t account for with SHTF is, time is relative.

      One month in a five-star resort in the Caribbean rushes by and feels like days. But a couple of minutes in the dentist chair w/o anesthesia feels like eternity.

      That’s why so many are already going crazy after two years into the pandemic. Only tow years. And it ain’t that bad yet, it may be just the overture and we still have the whole opera ahead.

      Stay well over there my friend, have a nice week.

    • Fabian and Jose you both have seen theses things first hand. The Unspoken assumption is that was (insert 3rd world country name HERE) and We are America (so THAT will never happen here).

      It’s called normalcy bias. I have the diaries and family stories of both the Weimar Republics fall from a 1st World Country into a Fascist Hellhole with a side of Hyperinflation AND the USA’s side of the Great Depression which BTW was World Wide…. Things can CHANGE Really Fast. Normalcy bias can force you into the Work (WOKE) Camps or off a skyscraper when your banker job fell from grace HARD.

      We’ve lost MAJOR Face and Respect in the Known World after our Afghanistan fiasco. And we’ve been writing Rubber Checks AKA T-Bills BACKED by the Full Faith of our Government so long that WE the USA have become the Primary Buyer as NOBODY else is in a hurry to buy any more.

      Our CONgress (spelling intentional) is busy writing up “Infrastructure” bills for Trillions WE DON’T HAVE so Go Borrow MOAR that are not really “Infrastructure” unless paying off your Uni-party supporters and cronies is such.

      CONgress and the Fed intend to Inflate the dollar to a value of worthless so the “Owed” Monies of T-bills outstanding is essentially NOTHING.

      BUT, BUT, BUT that ONLY Happens in South American 3rd world countries…

      Welcome to the PARTY, Pal….

      Any day China will pull the rug out from under our World Reserve Currency for this series of disasters. Money is worth ONLY what OTHERS Think it’s worth. What’s the value of a Feckless Cowardly USA in the yes of the rest of the world.

      Now the world sees we have ZERO Leadership and a Weak Enemy has eaten out lunch. No F-15’s or Nuke required.

      The storm is Here. Winter is Here. If you don’t have 2+ years of storage foods, seeds, tools and skills your well behind the curve.

      Pray for wisdom and ACT on it.

      • Michael,

        George Gammon has a great video just released in his channel (The Rebel Capitalist Show) where he goes over some aspects of economy and divisiveness and the possibility of a Civil War in America, tracing some parallels with previous American crises like The Revolution and Civil War. It’s pretty interesting and worth a watch.

        I agree with him that it would be really hard to see a traditional kind of warfare in US soil, with armies and missiles or tanks and everything. But it could well be a guerrilla-type of warfare, with violence and exploding criminality in many places. I’ve been saying that for some time and still think it holds today.

        Either way, this would certainly bring consequences to the economy. Of course all that ends up affecting our life (regardless of where we live), and that’s what we must focus our efforts on. There are geopolitical implications too for sure, but there isn’t much we can do about that so we should stick to what’s in our control, right?

        Stay well.

        • -Fabian,

          I agree with your assessment of a traditional warfare, two armies going at it against each other is unlikely.
          Seeing as how divided America is, from everything from political parties, to race, to socio-economic class, to religion, to vaxxed or un-vaxxed, even football teams, I think Balkanization is a more likely outcome.
          Once the JIT/BAU system fails, there will be a lot of people hurting. If the sanitation systems of potable water fail, even worse. There are more than a number of towns and cities that are totally dependent on single source of water sources that if they go off line, thousands or even millions will die (e.g. Las Vegas, Phoenix, pretty much all of S CA and more than a few parts of the West).
          And when those refugees migrate to places with fresh water . . .

        • Fabian I love your understated words 🙂 Any kind of warfare does have QUITE the impact on the economy.

          I tell friends to think Big Circles, Little Circles.

          Big Circles examples Weather, Afghanistan Fiasco, Infrastructure spending

          We cannot affect it BUT they DO Affect Us. Prepping is looking at the Big Circles possible impact and how to moderate it/protect my family from it.

          Drought, better figure out water saving and storage. Might want to look at alternative ways to garden like Ollas and Deep Mulching-hand watering. Maybe MOVE as lack of water WILL Kill you in a few days, not good eh?

          Afghan’s being flown into America, most likely to be decent people, a few with rage in their hearts will be trouble. Be aware as they’ve been in a terrorist learning curve for their whole lives. Might be rather good at it.

          Infrastructure Bribes errr Yes Infrastructure with money WE do NOT Have. Expect the value of everything you need to be MORE of your working hours wages which historically NEVER keep us with High Inflation LET alone Hyperinflation. Skills, Trusted Friends helping each other (the car mechanic trading with the gardener etc.) Tools Staples bought NOW to help carry over the COMING Shortages and smooth the price hikes a bit.

          Small circles things we CAN do something about. Keep in the Big Circles info loop BUT DO the Small Circles, I have been guilty of spending way too much of my time arguing Big Circle stuff I HAVE NO real way to affect.

          My Uncle had a saying Money and Time are Interchangeable. You never have enough of either of them. Enough Money something takes less time, More Time (And EFFORT) you can Do it with Less Money.

          You can hire a backhoe and operator to build a fish pond for water storage and fish OR you can get a lot of folks to dig it like the Chinese in Farmers of 40 Centuries. Either way a well kept fish pond that will be a family-village treasure for generations.

          Remember the Killhouse Rules especially Nobody is coming to save you, your on your own, ALWAYS be Working, there is Always something you can do to Improve your situation.

      • -Michael,
        Great post!
        Love the Die Hard reference.

        Right about America’s leadership issue. Who is in charge? The adults are supposed to be back in the room . . . where are they now?
        No where to be seen, duck and cover.

  • Wondering if anyone has experience or thoughts about vacuum-packing Cigarettes? They will become a REAL currency in times of shortage. They’re not cheap and I don’t smoke so would appreciate any and all thoughts about most popular brands, etc. Am also considering buying some Snuff, since it comes in cans and is already in a storeable state. Thanks!

    • Air is the enemy….cryopack and keep cold. Possibility….”Seal-a-Meal” and desiccant packages and put in a freezer.

      • Thanks for this info, Fellow Texan, InTheBooniesTX. I have some cartons of smokes put up, trying to buy a few cases, I am a smoker, trying to quit. Anywho, This is good info. Got a seal a meal already so I am going to try that.

    • I guess it’s OK to freeze tobacco. I had to do this a couple of times to my cigars to get rid of cigar beetles, and it worked. Once back and unfrozen they were normal. Though cigarettes have more chemistry in them it should be fine.

    • Nazguy:
      I would suggest buying loose tobacco and separate rolling papers or filter tip tubes. Easier for you to vac pac small packets of tobacco than cigarettes, and a LOT cheaper! Plus you can control how much you are carrying at one time if you get robbed.
      People will be happy to roll their own if that’s all that’s available, but remember that machine rolled cigs can be easily crushed or broken if you want to offer “premium” smokes.

    • It is not illegal to grow tobacco on your property somewhere. It is labor intensive, as it needs dried for awhile. But fresh tobacco might be a good barter item locally.

    • Skip already made cigarettes. Get a rolling machine for about $50 (less than half the cost of a single carton), a pound of tobacco (will make 2 cartons) and two cartons of tubes for about $25. You now have 2 cartons of cigarettes for less than the price of a retail carton. And those tobacco / tube costs are not for low end options.

      Give a week or two and a cigarette smoker who can’t quit won’t care if you have their normal brand or not.

      If anyone comes looking you just say it was grandpa’s ( or something and he died) and the 5 you have on hand are there is.

      That tobacco will will be in a well sealed package. It will keep in a freezer for a long time. You can even repackage it and vac seal it.

  • Lots of good points..

    One thing to really consider, which impacts any of the financial concerns, is the complete manipulation of all things related to money/monetary concerns. Very difficult to predict anything here; money supply, stocks, 401k, investing, precious metals, etc. Especially when those who “pull the levers” can do so at will. This sector is extremely difficult to “manage” on the consumer/investor side. In any “normal” world what is being done or has been done would have caused a complete meltdown of the world’s economy; like the world debt you’ve pointed to or the fact the the M2 is not published anymore (printing 120 Billion a month). The data is controlled and most people have no clue what any of it means anyway; hence no panic that the printing presses have been “glowing hot” from having been run so long. Or the gold and silver prices being grossly undervalued?

    Prepping a.k.a “Prudent Living” (my mantra).

    I live on a homestead…you pointing out having tools, DIY is so true. Down to not having enough nails, screws, bolts etc. I have adapted what hardware I keep on hand as well as my designs based on putting together a common set of building hardware as well as project designs. Good Example: general construction screws; I keep 4 different sizes on hand in bulk (T10 head). Same thing with tools. I use one brand of hand tools that have a common battery. With a little pre-planning I have simplified what I need to do a wide variety of projects. I have applied this to every part of my prepping from tools, hardware, food, medical supply etc. Choosing items that can be used across multiple uses simplifies life and shelf space!

    My wife lost her job to COVID and so we lost half our income; next stop “Green Acres.” So we are putting into practice exactly what was outlined. Off Grid Solar, Rain Water Harvesting – all DIY. Gardening, raising chickens, bees, etc. It has not been easy, but it has been rewarding from all the experience we now have after year 1. However as Daisy has pointed out….I seriously do not recommend it for everyone; it is not easy by any means.

    Being mentally prepared (as discussed) for what is probably inevitable is extremely important. Get ready for some seriously austere living! Going to Costco/Sam Club, i.e. the Land of Plenty will be a thing of the past. Every time you go into a store take a minute to look around and imagine what it would be like to not have all this “stuff” available to you anymore. Most of the places I helped bring “Democracy” to have none and I mean none of these “luxuries.” Just the basics…bartering is alive and well and “stuff” gets re-used and repurposed daily. Know your environment…

    Taking for granted. Example: I have limited AC where I am at…and it gets warm. We have adapted. So much so when I was in a hotel in NM this week I had to turn the AC off because I was too cold! Humans are awesome at adapting in any situation we are thrown into.

    In the military it typically took us 30 days to get into a “Battle Rhythm.” (adapting to environment). On the civilian side it takes longer especially if you have never experienced it. No right or wrong way to do something as you will learn. My experience has been take the time to think it through, over engineer it a bit so you don’t have to “touch it” again until a later date. Become a graduate of YouTube University. Trust me…someone has tried to do what you are doing; learn from their mistakes.

    We had been “Preppers” for many years so the transition was a bit easier, plus our mindset was that we “had to make this work.” You cannot “dip a toe in the water” in this scenario; you have to be “all in.” Be prepared to be frustrated and angry! [email protected] Happens…Rama Rama Ding Dong…just pick yourself up…dust yourself off and move on. They day you can’t regroup and attack in another direction you are lost.

    I live this every single day…every single hour.

    Any questions just ask me…I am more than happy to help anyone who needs to talk about it. From “soup to nuts.” Lots of people here have a lot of experience! Anyway I have blathered enough…

    • -InTheBooniesTX,
      Good advice about tools.
      I have been going more of the traditional handtools (non-powered) route as of late.
      Buy quality in handtools too! I got Japanese style hand planes, cheaper in price, but the quality is first rate as Western style made in India hand planes. Once you get used to how to adjust and use them, I can pull long strips of wood soo thin, I can see light through them! Makes good fire starters too.
      Second cut files, needle files, pull saws, punches, hammers and mallets.
      An American made screw driver set with flat, phillips, hex and torx bits too. And a set of static long screw drivers for those way in the back, or recessed places a power drill just cannot reach (had a shotgun stock that I had to buy a 10inch screw driver just for it).

      • Awesome points so much so I went out this morning to find my punch set in the shop. Glad I did as they were not all together in one drawer. Garage sales are an awesome place to find hand tools! Especially “moving sales.” I have Klein screw drivers: larger 11-1, small 14-1, and the set with every conceivable bit known to man. Totally random…I used straight white vinegar to get the rust off my bits when they got wet. Soaked them for a day, rinsed off the vinegar and then wiped them down with CLP.
        I loved the planar ideas. Wished I’d kept all my grand fathers old hand planes!
        I want to find some hand drills. I have 3 sizes of framing hammers, one rubber mallet. I need to get a couple of ball peen hammers still.

        • I’ve always worked with old fashioned human powered tools. When I helped my grandfather with things his tools we all non powered. I do have powered tools but I’ve always liked the old fashioned ones. On the prepping side, my electric drills aren’t going to work with no electricity so I’ve bought old fashioned human powered tools.

          I have several braces, hand planes, chisels, hand saws, files and even a couple of draw knives. There are a lot more tools out there but those are the basics.

          A person could spend thousands of dollars on all the different tools you could possibly use on wood working projects.

    • Very good points and comments, @In The Boonies TX. You always bring some excellent info, thanks a lot for sharing all that with us really.

      Stay well out there.

      • You too! It’s not getting any better unfortunately. I appreciate you sharing what you have learned. It’s amazing what I take for granted when I read your posts…I just figure people already know a lot of it, but if you have never had to live it why would you know?

  • I keep adding to stash as barterable items come to my attention. Just ordered 10lb low fat cocoa powder as have tons of sugar already squirreled away. Also have lots of coffee and sample size liquor bottles on hand.

    • -MonkeyGirl,
      You ever see the movie The Book of Eli?
      Your post reminds me of the part when Carnegie opens the travel size bottle of shampoo and washes Claudia’s hair with it. Her expression of luxury points out how sometimes it is the small things we will treasure the most, be it shampoo, or chocolate, or coffee.

      • In-law grands had a bar during the Depression. There are plenty of folks who will barter for a shot of whiskey or a cup of hot cocoa/coffee. Those little creature comforts are often important for mental health. There are lots of long term storage puddings/fruit that can help ease a really crummy day. UK has pharmacies that offer antibiotics, HCQ, prednisone etc sans a script. Just have to get past the viagra ads!

        • Do you have a website for the UK pharmacies which offer antibiotics, etc. without a script? I haven’t seen any.

  • Scour the trash. My neighbor threw out a 1 x 3 inch , 4 ft pine board. Another some hand tools-granted a little bit rusty, but usable. Also threw out books on woodworking. Take a drive around, see who is remodeling/repairing/moving and pick up what you can.

    • Corsaire:
      You read my mind!
      Trash picking and dumpster diving are great ways to get items that you can either use yourself or barter down the road.
      Think too about up cycling and crafting items. Old clothes, even worn or stained, once thoroughly washed, can be used for scrap fabric, cleaning rags, pillows, rag rugs and cannibalized for the buttons or zippers. If you have the space, it would be a good practice to get a good supply of these things now and store them.
      A friend also suggested getting a supply of repair items such as o rings, plumbing stuff, nails, screws etc. A lot of what’s on the market is made in China and India, and with supply chain disruptions, you don’t want to wait until your faucet is leaking to get overpriced or possibly unavailable repair components.

      • @corsaire and M.K. Outré, I agree and in fact I propose and describe that in my first book about Street Survival Training. I’ve learned with the best, i.e. the homeless and the street workers. I’ve even learned how to collect recyclables and sell them for a profit. I don’t plan to do it, but now I know I can if I ever have to (at least an idea).

  • The two usual worst things that happen in an economic downturn are losing your job, or losing your savings or most valuable possession (usually your home). You need to plan for each of these possibilities.

    Think of a plan B in case you lose your job, and assume that you won’t be able to get a similar job, because often whole economic sectors get downsized at the same time (remember what has happened already with the pandemic). So the plan B has to be a totally different job that will be likely to be needed even in a serious economic downturn, that is, something pretty essential.

    As for losing savings or most valuable possessions, the main trick is not to have all your eggs in one basket. Have your savings invested in several different ways. And try to avoid owning a home that is a really big chunk of the monetary value of your possessions. Easier said than done, I know. But my attitude has been that I’d rather rent than own for a long time in my life, because I wasn’t willing to sink that much money in my home, and by renting, I had a lot more flexibility to move around. Then I got myself a houseboat at a very reasonable price. Later on, I sold it because I moved to live in with my partner.

  • Another thing to consider is the likelihood of our government slavering over the $1T+ currently held in private retirement accounts. Obama tried to sell his MyRA nonsense to no avail, but the government of Cypress simply took what its citizens had. FDI had pulled out of there overnight. When citizens tried to access their accounts the next morning they were frozen. By the time those accounts were unfrozen Cypriots were 10% lighter, outright confiscation. Argentina tried to nationalize retirement accounts in 2011 and only backed down due to a huge public outcry. I have no doubt that ours is trying to figure out a way to confiscate some of all of the money held in private accounts, retirement and otherwise. As of now there’s no way to get money out of those accounts without huge tax penalties. A lifetime’s work, gone in the push of a button, for the benefit of those who mismanaged us into this situation.

    Something to consider. YMMV of course.

    • Jayne, your thoughts echoed mine about IRAs, 401Ks, and private pension accounts. I have no doubt our government will try to confiscate a portion of those. If you’re age 59 1/2 you can withdraw funds from your IRA or 401K without tax penalty. While many are encouraging owning precious metals, those are not very portable if you have to move. Cryptocurrency is risk, but you could access easily from just about anywhere.

      • Fina, I’m not yet at that magic age. Also, being self employed, my SEP is one of the few things that lowers my SE tax. So I invest and keep my fingers crossed.

        As for crypto, if you don’t have Internet access you don’t have crypto. PMs need a buyer to be useful. Im hedging my bets by prepping on a number of fronts, staying out of debt as much as possible, and putting away money in various places.

        What the future holds, no one can know, but forward we look and forward we go.

      • No tax penalty but depending on how much you pull out and your YTD income so far, you may have to pay income tax if regular IRA (not Roth).

  • This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper.
    (T. S. Eliot)

    • I think there is a”bang” then a whimper…or several “bangs” Great set of books to read is the “Fall and Decline of the Roman Empire” Gibbon. Not a light read! I also like Yeats, “The Second Coming” especially the line about the center not holding. So apropos for today and profoundly sad! Have to say I sometimes wished I had been born and died a couple of centuries earlier so not to see this all fall apart.
      I am a Jeffersonian at heart and it’s good he is not around to see what has happened. He’d curse the Hamiltonians for their handy work!

    • The U.S. is DOOMED and we have sat back for decades and allowed this cancer to over-take the entire stinking country and here we are in modern day society. . . I sure hope everyone is happy with their decisions.

  • Great article and comments.

    Me personally, since having taken over the daily operations of the farms from my father, we have simplified and streamlined and cut back or eliminated a lot of overhead. Land that was once used for monoculture crop rotation is now fenced in. Wood lots joining those fields have been incorporated into the pastured in fields to provide water/shade/browse.

    Even as a small family farm our financial fitness is determined by global economics. So our diversified livestock portfolio expands and contracts in anticipatory moves dictated by daily (sometimes hourly) trend and commodities research.

    I’m using myself to make a point. Farming, like all our personal finances and investments (prepping is an investment) is very fluid. In my opinion, paying close attention to my research has made me better at investing and prepping.

    Access to clear, unbiased, reliable data has been one of the best prepping tools I have. It has saved my financial bacon more than once.

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