Preparing for the Economic Meltdown
As promised, not only a daily post, but the post I promised yesterday. Since the stock market rebounded yesterday upon my resumption of daily blogging, I can only conclude I’m on the right track. I’m also getting used to 14 hour days, so this isn’t going to be as hard as it might seem. In fact, I’ve discovered the secret to 14 hour days: Never take a break! I haven’t had a day off since February, and it’s all just turning into one giant blur at this point. One giant incredibly productive blur I might add.
Moving right along, the long promised “Preparing for the Economic Meltdown” post. Granted it’s going to be hard to make a post about stocking a pantry interesting, but I like a challenge. True, being a multicellular lifeform is a challenge in and of its own right, but sometimes I need more than that. In any event, this is about being prepared for an economic meltdown similar to that of the Great Depression. However, it should be pointed out that these preparations will serve one well during a number of other possible scenarios where the local Safeway can’t restock it’s shelves. Anywhere one lives for example there is the possibility of a natural disaster that will make it impossible to go to the store for days or weeks. Blizzards, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, you name it. And of course there are human caused events, even something like a trucker’s strike could disrupt the flow of goods. Not to mention uglier things like wars or widespread civil disturbance. lastly I should point out that I am not advocating a survivalist mentality or any such thing, just common sense precautions that not only won’t ruin one’s life, they will actually enhance it in ways.
First, property owners should have enough cash on hand to pay their property taxes for at least two years. And I mean cash, very carefully hidden on their property, not in a bank where the government can close the bank and/or confiscate it. And the same goes for safety deposit boxes, the government can prevent people from getting to them as well, the money needs to be where the property owner only can get to it. This may may seem crazy, but it’s not, a lot of people lost their homes in the depression simply because they couldn’t pay their property taxes.
In the same vein, it’s also a good idea to have at least some savings in gold and silver, preferably coins or some other form that is easy to barter with. And again, this should be physically in their possession, not stored in a vault somewhere. Some suggest as much as 5-10% of total savings, but even a hundred dollars in face value of US silver coins is a good hedge. And remember, it’s not going to lose it’s value, so it’s not like throwing your money away on a jet ski, it’s just converting it into a form that will retain significant value no matter what.
Food of course is an obvious one. Keep the larder well sticked so that there’s at least a month’s supply of food on hand. It’s not that hard to do, and as I discovered, it can dramatically reduce the day to day food bill. I buy virtually all my staples now when they are on sale, so they cost as much as 50% less than when I used to buy them on an as-needed basis. Plus if I run out of some key ingredient, I almost always have it on hand instead of having to make special trip to the store. Granted I live in a tiny apartment so now I have boxes of food stacked in the kitchen, but the minor inconvenience is worth the savings. Our grandparents had pantries and root cellars and would be disturbed at how little food was in most homes. The only thing to remember with this system is that one has to make sure they rotate through their stock, since most things do have a limited shelf life.
If talking about long term famine like supplies, there’s plenty of web sites. Still, the basics are simple. A few sacks of pinto beans and whole wheat, some multi-vitamins, salt, olive oil, and dried milk (not instant,) and a flour grinder … and a family could live for a long time. Just make sure it’s stored in vermin proof containers. Yes, one can even buy specially prepared supplies of survival food, but they are expensive and I don’t recommend them. And one can add some stuff for variety, a case of canned tuna, or a case of peanut butter have very high nutritional value for example. Yeah, a diet of beans and flatbread might get very boring, but bored and well fed beats hungry any day of the week.
Again in the same vein, growing one’s own food is a huge benefit. There was a time when everyone grew as much of their own food as they could, for good reason. Freshly grown food is usually vastly tastier and more nutritious than what can be bought, and done sensibly it’s relatively easy to do. Again, there must be a million web sites about home gardening and “victory gardens.” There is also the benefit of exercise and sunlight, in fact gardening is one of the best all around exercises there is, I kid not. I mean, gee, pay someone money to use their fancy exercise equipment, or grow your own food. Um, seems like a no-brainer to me. And if one is really serious about this, get what are called open-pollinated varieties of vegetables. That means when they go to seed, one can collect the seed and grow more, which is not the case with the widely available hybrid seeds. And for the adventurous, there’s a book called “Edible Landscaping” that I highly recommend.
Obviously there’s all sorts of other stuff that might be handy to have stockpiled. The big three non food items are soap, toilet paper, and alcohol. I have a friend whose family lived through WW2, and they said people were trading sterling silver for soap during the war. Yikes. Alcohol (I mean whiskey and such) also commands a premium in hard times.
Well, over a 1,000 words without even half trying, this is easier than I thought. I really do love to write. Wednesday, Steven hawking and his alien invasion joke.
(The above image is used with the permission of the photographer, Mary Molnar. Credit and copyright © Mary Molnar, all rights reserved. Just another image that I thought captured the essence of the post with nothing other than that in mind.)