Economic Collapse - Some Survival Tips
By Steve Gillman
In a true economic catastrophe, survival will probably take
one of two forms. The first, if the collapse is just of the economy
itself, will involve relying on financial preparations that allow
you to go for six months or more without income, and to generate
income from alternate means as well. The second form, if the
currency itself collapses, will require that you live off of
supplies you've stocked up on, special knowledge you've acquired,
and skills you have developed.
Though an economic collapse seems unlikely, many of the the
survival steps you can take to prepare for such an event may
have value even in good times. Having money in the bank can never
hurt, for example. Having a few shelves packed full of canned
foods can provide a bit of security in the event of a job loss
- which can happen in the best of times. So if you are not sure
that the risk of serious economic troubles is high, you might
at least make those preparations that will benefit you regardless
of what the future brings. That's what the following tips focus
Surviving an Economic Collapse - Money Issues
A severe depression, even if it involves the collapse of the
banking system, will normally leave the currency intact. In fact,
since price deflation is the norm, your existing money may actually
grow in value. If milk, shoes and homes are 30% less, you become
better off even if you have the same amount of money in nominal
Of course everything being on sale doesn't help you if you
don't have any money. So the number one step to take is to have
enough money saved to pay all of you bills for six months. Also,
because of the possibility that bank closures will tie up your
money for months, having at least enough cash in the house to
survive a month is a good idea. For the latter be sure to hide
the money well in three or more locations.
Now, if the currency collapses your money won't help. To prepare
for that possibility it is a good idea to have "money alternatives,"
such as silver and gold. Tobacco and toiletries can also serve
as a medium of exchange in worst-case scenarios.
Silver may be a better bet than gold because it is available
in smaller units of value. A gold coin worth a thousand dollars
is hard to spend if nobody has change. Old silver dimes, on the
other hand, which are currently worth about a dollar (2009),
might buy a loaf of bread.
Surviving - Food and Water
If the economic collapse does involve a total collapse of
the monetary system, food will at least temporarily stop being
shipped. A trucker who can't be paid won't spend the effort to
bring food to cities, and most cities have only enough food on
grocery store shelves to feed the population for a week or so.
It could take months for a new currency to be established or
for barter systems to get goods moving again.
Most people can find room for a month's worth of canned food,
which can generally be kept for a couple years (check the expiration
dates). Every two years you can eat them up and replace them.
You can buy large buckets of nitrogen-packed grains for sale
online that will fill your calorie needs more space-efficiently,
and can be safely stored for a decade or more.
Learning what animals and plants can be eaten in your area
is a good idea as well. In truly chaotic times animals will be
killed off quickly (all cats and dogs disappeared in weeks during
the siege of Leningrad during World War Two). That means you'll
have an edge if you can identify a few of the most common edible
Water pumping stations may shut down due to computer failures
in worst-case scenarios. Water can be stored in any food-grade
plastic containers. That means anything designed to hold water
as well as any containers that previously held food or drinks.
Water treated with a about a half-teaspoon of bleach for each
five gallons (eight drops per gallon) can be stored for years,
although it is best to use it or replace it within a year. Keep
a minimum of a few gallons per person stored at all times.
You should also note where water sources are. These can include
streams, rivers, lakes, swimming pools (best to use that water
for washing rather than drinking), toilet tanks, and hot water
heaters. Treat with bleach as mentioned above.
Surviving an Economic Collapse - Personal Safety
Many people immediately think of guns when they think of a
societal breakdown of some sort. I tend to think that getting
away from dangerous areas is a better strategy than trying defend
your things. Guns can also make you a target for thieves, so
if you do have them, at least don't let people know.
A few gallons of gasoline in the garage, and a the best route
out of town marked on a map in the car are both good ideas. A
long-term economic breakdown might mean there is no additional
gas to buy, though, so a bicycle makes for good survival transportation
In addition to having a "bug out vehicle," having
a "bug out bag" packed and ready at all times makes
sense too. It should at least have clothing, toiletries, cash,
a few bottles of water, snacks, maps and personal identification.
Keep it in a closet by the front door so you can leave in a hurry
A "bug out location" is a must for many survivalists.
If you can't afford to buy a cabin in the woods where you can
escape the chaos, you might arrange to borrow a friend's. Alternately,
for really bad times when you need to be away from cities and
towns, you can have a large wall tent and know in advance a good
spot to set it up.
Note: For more on economic collapse survival preparations,
see A Survival
Guide For Interesting Times. This fascinating ebook is
part of my Secrets Package.