In the last few weeks, we have seen (firsthand in some cases) what happens when an unprepared public prepares all at once. The frenzied rush to grab as many supplies as possible created an unprecedented strain on our “just in time” food system. Basic supplies like water, pasta, bread, milk, meat and cleaning supplies were snatched up as soon as they were restocked. But this initial run on food is just the beginning.
Once everyone has their basic supplies squared away many will soon realize what they have done is simply put a band-aid on an open wound. What happens when those supplies run out and things are not back to normal? What happens if a two-week lockdown turns into a month or longer? In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, critical supplies ran out like gasoline, water, food staples, bleach, and toilet paper. These were basic items to sustain people for a week or two, can you imagine what will happen in a longer-term disaster?
The Ripple Effect
Our system is not equipped to handle large-scale events that affect an entire country’s population. In fact, one small breakdown can cause a ripple effect that, if not stopped, could snowball and that breakdown will turn into a meltdown. This is discussed further in The Coronavirus Handbook: How To Protect Your Home, School, Workplace and Community From a Deadly Pandemic:
There is a systemic risk of cascading breakdowns—it’s just how our system is designed. If one critical area experiences crisis and a solution is not rapidly forthcoming, it could easily lead to other systems coming under stress.
We’ve already seen it with the recent pandemic. First, China quarantined their citizens, which lead to a shutdown of factory operations throughout the country. This news reached the United States and Europe and people immediately began buying up N95 masks, toilet paper, and other supplies.
People started cancelling travel plans and directed disposable income to emergency related products and services.
The potential manufacturing disruptions and lowered sales expectations coupled with travel cancellations and restrictions culminated in a sell-off of stock markets worldwide. From there, because no verifiable treatment options yet exist, the situation can continue to snowball. It starts slowly, then it comes all at once.
When your eyes are opened to the scale and sheer force of how these breakdowns can topple our way of life, you will see that while stocking up on a short-term supply of food is good, it is simply not enough, especially in a pandemic situation.
The Coronavirus Handbook, explains that a pandemic is not a solitary event. “The event accelerates and decelerates and repeats itself. If the conditions are right, there are waves of activity in pandemics. It has the capacity to halt our way of life and change our future.”
What we have seen in the first wave of panic shopping is food, water, sanitation supplies and medicine being the most important tangible goods to acquire. But that could all come to an abrupt stop. In the near future, there could be labor shortages which could put a big dent in restocking our food supply.
The companies that feed America and provide basic staples are bracing for labor shortages as the coronavirus pandemic intensifies, which could leave them without enough workers to manufacture, deliver and unpack groceries in stores in the coming months. Source
When these goods run out there will be an abrupt need for more sustainable approaches to living. Therefore, we need to start focusing on how to survive the future turmoil that is on the horizon and be prepared before the hoards come to their senses. People will start turning towards sustainable solutions that center around safe-haven assets. True safe-haven assets become the bare necessities that can ensure people stay alive and well. In a true collapse, people will begin to realize they need to start looking at longer-term options to survive.
These are the Next Panic Shopping Items
The less a person interacts with large groups of people, the better off their health will be in a pandemic crisis. It is paramount that we begin looking at ways we can sustain ourselves and not depend solely on the “just in time” food delivery system. Let’s take a look at some of the next items that will be flying off the shelves.
Seeds are an invaluable commodity and hold the key to long term sustainability, and survival in some cases. Seeds could be used as a form of currency in a long-term disaster and used in a bartering system. A long-term event could potentially increase its value tenfold. They would also be beneficial to have during an inflationary period. If you have heirloom seeds to grow fresh produce, then the plants are continuously producing more seeds for future growing seasons. If you don’t have to buy produce, then you are saving hundreds of dollars a year on your grocery budget. As well, they can also be sprouted to eat for added nutrition and vitamin intake. These are some of the most popular seeds to have.
Along those lines, because many of our medicines ingredients are sourced from China, there may be shortages of popular over-the-counter medicines and for that matter, prescription medications. As well, essential vitamins for immune-boosting properties like vitamin C, zinc, and iron are all sold out in stores. Many will turn to natural medicine as a way to help boost the immune system and lessen symptoms.
Eating the right types of food will ensure you get natural amounts of zinc and iron. Check out our article on 25 healthy foods to stock up on. As well, finding natural ways of getting vitamin C can help give your immune system that needed boost.
Moreover, if these medicine shortages occur, natural medicines will be at the forefront of our medicine cabinets. Knowing how to make homemade tinctures, herbal salves, and balms, natural antibiotic sources.
In the article, WHAT IS MONEY WHEN THE SYSTEM COLLAPSES?, Mac Slavo makes a compelling point on the importance of precious metals and water and how they both can be used as currency in a long-term disaster.
During the initial phase of the ‘crunch’ precious metals will be a primary bartering tool, but this may not last long. The old survivalist adage “you can’t eat your gold” will become apparent very quickly. In a total breakdown of the system, food, water and fuel will be the most important tangible goods to acquire.
Consider someone who has a two week or one month supply of food on hand. Do you believe they would be willing to part with that food for some precious metals? The likely answer is no. There will be almost no bartering item that one would be willing to trade their food for once it is realized that food supply lines have been cut.
That being said, since most will not barter their food, not even for fuel, the next recognized medium of exchange by merchants, especially those selling fuel, will be precious metals. For the initial crunch, silver coins, especially recognizable coins like 90% silver quarters, dimes and half dollars, along with one (1) ounce government mint issued silver coins like US Silver Eagles, will be accepted by some, probably most, merchants. For those trying to flee cities to bug-out locations, silver coins of the aforementioned denominations may be a life saver, as they can be used to acquire fuel. While we recommend having gold, as well, the issue with gold is that its value is so much higher than that of silver, that breaking a one ounce gold coin into 10 pieces just to buy a tank of gas will not be practical. It is for this reason that having silver on hand is highly recommended. Packing at least $25 – $50 of silver coins in each bug-out bag would be a prudent prepping idea.
In a total SHTF scenario, silver and gold may eventually break down as a bartering unit, as contact with the “outside” world breaks down. One reason for this, is that the fair value price of precious metals will be hard to determine, as it will be difficult to locate buyers for this commodity.
This, however, does not mean that you should spend all of your precious metals right at the onset of a collapse. Precious metals will have value after bartering and trade is reestablished once the system begins to stabilize. Once stabilization begins, the likely scenario is that precious metals will be one of the most valuable monetary units available, so having plenty may be quite a benefit. At this point, they could be used to purchase property, livestock, services and labor.
Water is often overlooked as a medium of exchange, though it is one of the most essential commodities for survival on the planet. Had individuals in New Orleans stockpiled some water supplies during Hurricane Katrina, much of the loss of life there could have been avoided.
For those bugging out of cities, it will be impractical to carry with them more than 5 – 10 gallons of water because of space limitations in their vehicles. Thus, having a method to procure water may not only save your life, but also provide you with additional goods for which you can barter.
An easy solution for providing yourself and others with clean water is to acquire a portable water filtration unit for your bug-out bag(s). While they are a bit costly, with a good unit such as the Katadyn Combi water filter running around $150, the water produced will be worth its weight in gold, almost literally. This particular filter produces 13,000 gallons of clean water! A Must have for any survival kit.
Because we like reserves for our reserves, we’d also recommend acquiring water treatment tablets like the EPA approved Katadyn Micropur tabs. If your filter is lost or breaks for whatever reason, each tablet can purify 1 liter of water. In our opinion, the best chemical water treatment available.
Clean water is money. In a bartering environment, especially before individuals have had time to establish water sources, this will be an extremely valuable medium of exchange and will have more buying power than even silver or gold on the individual bartering level.
Firearms and Ammunition
A pandemic can cause a cascading effect that propels us into a financial collapse. If this happens, true panic will begin and concerns of looting and mayhem will be on everyone’s mind. In an article, written by Sara Tipton on how to prepare for the coming financial collapse, she emphasizes the importance of firearms and ammunition.
Everyone knows they should store a little extra food “just in case,” even if it’s only to wait out a harsh storm. But accumulating ammunition is a great way to prepare for a post-apocalyptic world, especially one in which no one has money (or money is worthless) and grocery store shelves are empty. This is a great primer article to learn more about SHTF Firearms. Rifle and pistol cartridges will always have value if you store them right because ammunition could mean the difference between life and death. An unloaded gun is merely a club, while a loaded gun can kill an animal for meat or protect one’s life from a violent attack. Hoarding ammunition and having a safe and dry place to store it could be almost seen as a “savings account.” Even if you don’t own a gun capable of shooting a cartridge you are storing, someone else likely will. One strategy to use, though is to arm yourself with firearms and ammunition using very common cartridges. This will increase the chances that someone else, will have a gun that can shoot what you are offering. The most common pistol cartridges are 9mm, 38 Special and .45 ACP. The most common rifle cartridges are .22 Long Rifle, 7.62x39mm, and 5.56x45mm. Ammunition is often overlooked as a possible form of currency during a financial crisis but it will be necessary and difficult to come by making it a highly valued currency.
While precious metals are the currencies of kings, many believe it may not be the only form of currency in an SHTF scenario to prepare for. It’ll still have some value, but when survival consumes your every thought, your priorities tend to change. In its purest state, alcohol can be rendered for uses like fuel, food preservation, medicine, and for disinfecting wounds. It has great barter value, especially during a collapse! As well, consider investing in the accouterments that go along with making alcohol.
Baby making doesn’t stop in a crisis and the end result of that is having another mouth to feed. This would make things even more difficult in an extended event. Condoms would make a desirable commodity item and as we have seen with the crisis in Venezuela, where prices of a pack of 36 condoms soared upwards to $755!
Canning food is a great way to beat the panic buying all together! When you are growing all of those delicious home-grown vegetables in your garden, you will need a way to preserve them for future use and canning is the way to go! Not only will you be eating healthier and living a more self-reliant lifestyle, but you will be eating foods preserved that are at their peak in freshness and will provide you with a better taste with no additives or chemicals. Best of all, you will not have to run to store in a pandemic event.
Given these uncertain times, it is essential to you and your family’s survival to stay ahead of the pack. You need to look past this event and start planning for the next. This is not over, it has just begun.
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