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How To Survive An Economic Crash

Wall Street
With looming economic uncertainly worldwide, due to the USA market meltdown and credit crisis, many more people are one paycheck away from disaster. At this point, credit has become harder to get and job uncertainty is that much more significant.

I got to thinking what it would take to survive, or cope with an economic crash. What are some of the priorities in your life that you need to cover, in terms of base survival until things sort themselves out?

  1. Debt and Finances. Start to build a "debt snowball", paying off your highest interest debts first. At the same time, you also want to put aside as many emergency funds as possible. Don't worry about your savings if you are in North America, you don't have to worry about having less than 100k in a savings or chequing account because deposits are insured through the CDIC or the FDIC. Similar laws are being passed in the EU in the fall of 2008. You also want to consider keeping some cash on hand for a few months to get you by in case banks crash. Hiding your money is something you want to keep foremost in your mind.
  2. Health. This covers everything from ensuring you keep up on any medical treatments and check-ups you might require. And most importantly, if you need any prescription medication, stock up of it when you can. If there was a severe economic crash, (like the Great Depression was) medication would also give you an instant source of capital as valuable as gold.
  3. Also, now is a better time than any to get any habits, such as smoking or drinking under control, as these items will skyrocket in price. Stocking up on OTC meds such as first aid kits, antibiotic creams, dental care products, and soaps as well as supplements such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, bulk protein powders, fish oil, and the like.
  4. Food. This is pretty self-explanatory and entails stocking up on things like dried beans and peas, rice, oatmeal, cornmeal, grits, flour, pasta, cooking oils, sugar, salt, pepper spices, coffee, teas, and canned goods. Canned meats like canned corned beef, canned ham, c and tuna, mackerel and sardines are important. Investing in water purification tablets, charcoal water filters, Brita pitchers, and 50-100 gallon water storage tanks are a good idea too. If you can get into canning food into mason jars and food dehydration, it could provide you with vegetables, fruits, etc., for a lean season. Spices, dried soups and seasoning packets are other things to consider. Barbeques, Coleman stoves and Hibachis are a must too!
  5. You would be surprised how much nutrition one can get out of simple things; For example, Gandhi once said that the lentil is the most perfect food and one could live on it, as it contains fibre, a high protein efficiency ratio, low glyecmic carbs and low fat. Oatmeal is another source of cheap breakfasts. As with key health items, food is perhaps one of the best things to have a surplus on in case of a local barter economy. Creating a seed bank if you have access to land to grow food is a great idea too! Getting a smoker too might be an idea if you have access to good fishing.
  6. Tools, Gadgets And Technology. This list would include anything like self-powered solar and crank radios, battery rechargers, flashlights, camping equipment, knives, guns, hand tools, mountain bicycles, lanterns, portable toilets, portable generators, and maybe a cheap camper are key items. Try to read yourself into how our ancestors lived in the days of the early settlers, as there is a wealth of information out there in our public libraries -- for free. Try to think of waiting out an economic crisis as an extended camping trip, and be aware of what it would take for you to cover your essentials for you and your family.
  7. Land and property. If you can swing it, now would be the time to find cheap rural lots somewhere off the beaten path to give you more options. There is lots of cheap land out there that would make for a nice hideaway. If you live in an urban setting, there are loads of good options like rooftop gardening, and no shortage of people to trade goods with. Car living is another option for single people.