Prepping Basics

Economic Collapse Preparation: What to Do When Everything Goes Crazy

Economic-Collapse on horizon

Though many people think that everything in their world will stay exactly the way it is forever, there are many who believe this not only to be false, but dangerous to even think. The reason it’s dangerous is that as long as people are complacent they will not prepare for the future. If they are not prepared it could lead to the extinction of the entire human race when the economy actually does collapse.

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Being prepared means accepting that this really could happen at any moment, and taking action to do something about it.

What is an economic collapse?

An economic collapse occurs when the government has no money. When the money runs out and an economic depression rolls in it is the beginning sign of a collapse. But as the depression continues for a longer and longer span of time, it becomes increasingly worse. This begins a true economic collapse and conditions can get very bad, very quickly.

What generally happens is that civil unrest begins, followed by increasing levels of poverty. The result is generally a lot of unhappy people and a big mess. It can even become dangerous to go outside because typical law and order break down. In these instances, survivalists are the ones who do the best because they are prepared for anything that comes their way.


The thing to understand about an economic collapse is that it could happen anywhere. It could even happen everywhere at the same time and that can lead to desperation and problems around the world. You never know what will happen when people start getting frantic.

They don’t want to die (no one ever does) and so they do whatever it takes to protect themselves by any means necessary. You want to make sure that, no matter what happens, you and your family are going to be protected during these crises.

It’s important to mention that an economic collapse doesn’t have to mean a full meltdown of society as we know it. In fact, an economic collapse could happen just in your own family. People lose jobs all the time. It’s an unfortunate truth but it is most definitely true.

So what would you do if your family lost their job? Would you be able to continue on in the lifestyle that you’re accustomed to or would things need to change? Some people are able to make it work, they cut back a little and everything is still fine. Some families, on the other hand, are devastated.


If you would be completely devastated by the loss of a job then you need to make sure that you’re prepared in these instances too. A number of the items in the survivalist list below will be crucial for you because you simply may not be able to buy more of everything you need.

Things like shelf-stable foods, water and extra clothing will be important if you just don’t have any extra money because things start getting tight. Make sure you are prepared for any situation that might come up, even if it only affects your family.

How to start economic collapse preparation

Keep gold and silver

Gold and silver are pretty much the only things in the world that will retain value at any time. You want to make sure that you have enough of this so you can barter or purchase items that you need in case the economy collapses.

Keep gold and silver

After all, in a collapsed economy normal paper money (or coins) is not going to have a lot of value. That can be a big problem if you aren’t careful so make sure that you’re transferring as much money as you can spare into gold and silver and storing it somewhere safe. Of course, you don’t want to transfer all of your money into this because it’s difficult to spend on things you need in the meantime.

Get rid of debt

If you have debt during an economic collapse it can be even more detrimental. You want to make sure that you are prepared for anything that could come and that means you need to have no money owed to anyone. If no one else has money those people are going to come back trying to collect from you and that can be disastrous when you already don’t have enough money for your own needs, your own family or anything else. You want to make sure you are never living in debt because you never know what could happen.

Store for a rainy day

Going back to the individual problems that could occur, loss of a job or death in a family that results in less money coming into the home, it’s important to make sure that you have some money put aside. You need to keep your family safe and secure after all and, unfortunately, that requires money. Try to take a little out of every paycheck that you get and put it in a rainy day fund. The more you can store away the better because you never know what could come up.

Store for a rainy day

Make sure that you have at least enough money to pay a few months of bills in case you can’t immediately get a new job (which is difficult to do in the current economy). If you have at least that much you don’t have to worry for some time. The loss of the job won’t immediately cast you into financial ruin and you have some time to look for a job or another money-making method without feeling too stressed.

Even if you think that this could never happen to you keep storing some money away. You never know when a big expense is going to come up either. Maybe something happens to your car or your house. Would you have enough money to fix it without a rainy day fund?

Prepping for a lawless society

In order to be fully prepared for what is to come it’s important to think about what you will need. You’re going to need a lot of equipment and tools but a lot of basic things as well. The reason for this is when the entire world starts changing you never know what’s going to be hard to find.

Empty shelfs

You may not be able to get water, food or even basic hygiene products. So take some time to look over this list and make sure you’re ready for what’s to come.

Keep a water filter handy

Water is an extremely precious resource. It is something that absolutely everyone desperately needs and yet there is a finite supply of it in the world. The Earth recycles much of it for us but eventually, the level of clean, safe drinking water could run out. What would you do if you weren’t able to buy water from the store or get it out of the faucet anymore? Your body wouldn’t be able to get the liquid that it needs to stay properly hydrated and continue functioning properly without it. So what do you do?

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You will need to have a way to purify your own water. That’s why one of the best investments that you could possibly make is in a water filter and purifier. These tools are going to make it much easier to keep your family healthy and hydrated because you don’t have to worry about the water that’s available in your area.

If there’s a problem with the water your family can still drink it because you’ll have your own purifier. Make sure that you check out different ones and get something with a high level of quality and purification. You don’t know what could end up in the water you need after an economic collapse and you want your water to be safe.

Store self-stable foods

How much food do you have in your home right now? Chances are that you don’t have a whole lot and even if you do it’s likely packed into your freezer. Those foods are not shelf stable at all. What that means is if the power goes out your food goes bad.

Keep extra supplies

It just won’t last sitting on a shelf. What you want to have plenty of in your survival pantry are things that are shelf stable, like canned beans, dehydrated meats and grains. These foods will support your family longer in case anything happens, and you can stock up in advance.

Plant your own garden

When there’s a shortage of anything the very last thing you want is to be dependent on someone else for your food. That’s why planting a garden is such a great idea. If you have the space to put one inside your home it’s even better (lawlessness comes along with an economic collapse). But even if your garden is outside you will be able to harvest your own food which makes you less dependent on the people around you and grocery stores (which could run out of supplies quickly).

Plant your own garden

Try to plant a variety of fruits and vegetables and even grains if you have the ability. You never know what you’re going to need if the grocery stores run out of food. Even if your family isn’t entirely fond of something try to get a good variety. You’ll get really tired of tomatoes after a few months and you need other types of vitamins and minerals too. The wider the variety of foods you get the better off you’re going to be in the end.

Learn preservation techniques

Preserving foods is essential as well. You need to make sure that everything you purchase or everything you grow is going to stay useful for as long as possible. The best way to do this is to preserve it. Learn different types of preservation techniques and you’ll be able to store your food even longer. It will help you keep them healthy for your family as well. What you want to do is make sure that you’re keeping as much of the nutrients as possible when you preserve foods so look for ways that aren’t going to eliminate everything your body needs.

Have weapons for hunting/protection

In a lawless place you may also need to do your own hunting for food and you may need to protect yourself from people around you (depending on just how bad things get). In these instances you need to have weapons and methods of protection around.

Weapon selection infographic

Make sure that you learn how to use any weapons that you have because just keeping them in your home isn’t going to keep you safe and it could actually be more dangerous if you don’t use them properly.

Learn survival skills

Survival skills like how to take care of wounds (minor and not so minor) as well as how to hunt, fish, build a shelter, tie a rope and build a fire are extremely important when things get bad.

You want to make sure that you can accomplish all of these tasks which may take a little more effort and a lot of training. Look for classes on survival skills or check out books that will help you learn. Programs like Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are able to help you in many ways as well.

Store clothing

Having extra clothing and blankets around in case of an emergency is also going to be important. You need to make sure that your family is going to be protected and warm. You never know what you’re going to need to do while you’re working through an economic collapse.

You could need protection and you will definitely need a way to stay warm. Clothes are going to help you do that. They also provide an excellent bartering item if you have extras because you can use them to get the supplies that you might not have enough of.

Keep extra supplies

There are a lot of extra supplies that you should always have on hand when preparing for an economic collapse. If you have to survive under severe conditions for a long period of time you never know just what you might need and that means you have to prepare for anything.

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The list below will give you a small idea of the tools and supplies that you might need in order to last even longer during problems. If everything breaks down you are definitely going to need some assistance from anything you can get.

Survival supplies

Look at these supplies and make sure you have plenty of them with you wherever your shelter is.

  • Flashlight – Make sure you have plenty of batteries to go along with this because they are probably going to be the first thing to go, especially if the electricity does. You want to have several flashlights and batteries stored somewhere safe so that you always have light.
    No one likes being trapped in the dark and that means any type of flashlight, whether small or lantern size, is going to be an extremely valuable asset. You could choose to barter with these as well if you have enough but keep in mind that yours could run out if you do that.
  • Radio – Being able to understand what’s going on in the world is crucial to your survival as well. As long as there is a radio signal you want to make sure you’re listening to it. Keep scanning frequencies until you find something. The government will continue trying to maintain order and if the power goes out then the radio is going to be the only way they can communicate with all the people out there somewhere in the world. See our useful piece on the best solar radio to help you prepare for any eventuality, do check it out.
    So make sure you find a good quality, battery operated radio. They are not hard to find but they could be expensive, especially with all the batteries you’re going to want.
  • Swiss army knife – This is a great tool for pretty much anything. You can use it if you need to tie something off and cut your rope, cut cloth or anything else. A Swiss army knife is really a good thing to have on you at all times even when you’re not preparing for a huge emergency because it has so many uses.
  • Lighter/matches – If everything starts going crazy you’re still going to need a way to cook food, keep warm and just be noticeable. A lighter or matches are a lot easier than rubbing two sticks together. So make sure that you stock up on plenty. They don’t last forever after all.
  • Axe – being able to cut down firewood or take care of yourself if you get stuck somewhere requires an axe to cut around yourself. Make sure the axe you have is sharpened and that you have a good sharpening stone with you as well.
  • Walkie Talkie – Being able to communicate with your family is important when there is less order because you want to make sure they are safe. Having a walkie talkie or some other form of communication tool will help you do this and it will ensure that you never lose track of one another. Of course, with these you have to be reasonably close to one another but some have a very long range and allow you to communicate from further away. For the best walkie talkie for your communication, needs, see our article on this topic.
  • First aid kit – You never know when someone could get injured and being able to take care of those injuries yourself could be extremely important. Otherwise you may not be able to get medical help or you might have to barter with someone in order to get medical help. If you’re able to suture a wound, sew up a cut, take care of minor bumps and bruises or more you’ll be much better off in the long run. You want to be as self-reliant as you possibly can after all.
  • Gasoline – You never know when gasoline could run out. It’s an imported product which means that most of it is not gathered in the country. If it runs out (meaning if the current stores run out) there may not be any more shipments. You’re going to want to store as much as you can so your vehicle is still going to be a benefit to you. If you’re able to store enough you can also use this as a bartering tool in case you need something else. Our piece on how to make methanol can help you, so check it out.
  • Sewing kit – Being able to make your own clothes or repair your own clothes (even if not very well) is extremely important in case there is nowhere or no way to purchase new clothes. This keeps you from having to spend your hard-earned products on clothes and cloth when you’re trying to keep your family together and alive. Make sure that you are doing what you can to keep your clothes in a condition where they will work for you as long as possible.
    Being able to sew up tears or holes is definitely going to help with this and keep your family a lot warmer at the same time.
  • Hygiene products – Hygiene is extremely important because this will keep you healthy. You need things like soap or hand sanitizer, toilet paper, paper towels and more because it’s going to help you feel more civilized and act more civilized at the same time. Not only that but you’ll be able to improve your own health by getting rid of germs (which there will be a lot more of if you’re stuck in the middle of a complete meltdown of society and everything in it. You definitely don’t want to get sick in those conditions.

You have to be prepared!

Preparing for an economic collapse actually takes quite a bit. You need to be prepared for the monetary side and the less drastic effects, but you also need to be prepared for whatever might happen as a result of that collapse. Crazy things start to happen even in civilized societies when the money runs short and the supplies are even shorter.

Make sure that you’re prepared for an economic collapse by being prepared for anything. Have enough gold and silver stored away that you can still survive in the beginning but also have some supplies stored in case you need to go underground as well.

Check out our article on  how to live off the grid even without money – it’s a must-read.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you click on one of these links and make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Also, as an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If the information in this post has been helpful, please consider purchasing through one of the links in this article. Thank you.

About the author

David Dawson

David Dawson is a retired security specialist with over 20 years of experience. He worked for a secret manufacturing facilities and hospitals in Illinois. David's responsibility was to protect people in case of any disaster or cataclysm that might occur. Now he keeps on doing it through teaching others about how to prepare and survive flood, earthquake or even war.


  • Most people give little to no attention to such scenarios, but it isn’t impossible. We’ve already witnessed it happen on a small scale in countries like Greece.

    Growing your food is paramount skill, and stocking gold and silver as you mentioned. During the World Wars, bartering was the standard practice the two most valuable “currencies” then were cigarettes and soap.

  • Be certain you have guns and ammo and exchange whatever cash you have now to gold and silver, while there is still time. Not just enough for one month, aim for three at the very least; six is good. In addition to food, also make sure you have methods to get the ultimate commodity: Water. Get a filtration system. Things will collapse, and people will become frenzied. It won’t be forever, but why delay preparing for something you’d know would happen?

    The food, water, and medical supplies are for surviving during the chaos, the guns and ammo are for escaping the chaos, and the gold and silver is for coming out of the chaos.

  • It is interesting to think about different survival scenarios.
    I think economic collapse is particularly scary because there is no safe place we can go to, there is no saving yourself. Being lost in a jungle, for example, is different because there is a clear goal – get home safely.
    Economic collapse is truly scary to even think about.

  • Nowadays, you can find a lot of information on the internet today, like on this website, that teaches you how to prepare for an economic collapse. I recommend always gathering the information you need, now. Then it’s just a matter of implementing the skills you have learnt. Go outdoors and practice them, go camping with family and friends to help practice survival skills.

  • You need more than just survival skills to make it through an economic collapse period. People panic, leading to chaos and destruction. So, your preparation should take into consideration all the possible incidents that you and your family might come across. The information we have provided should give you a head start.

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