No economy in the history of the world has ever sustained a constant rate of growth. Recessions, depressions, and complete economic collapse is inevitable in even the most advanced of societies. Any astute observer can look at the economic signs of high unemployment, low GDP, missed mortgage payments, historic low wages, rising cost of living, and a repressed global economy and see that a deeper recession and possible depression if not inevitable, at least looms like a spectre on the horizon. In this blog, we will look specifically at ten ways you can develop the right mindset and habits to survive another great depression. Survival is ten percent physical and ninety percent mental, so it is important to develop the right mindset today to survive the challenges of tomorrow. If we somehow manage to avoid a massive and prolonged economic downturn, you will end up all the richer by learning these things today because you will spend less and properly use all your resources now. Either way, you end up, hopefully, on top of your situation.
1- Develop a Reusable Mentality
If you made spaghetti this month and you threw out that empty glass jar of spaghetti sauce, you have not yet developed the reusable mindset. This is especially important for those who are new to prepping. That jar can be soaked, cleaned, sterilized, and filled with rice and put away. White rice can keep for decades in a sealed jar, and brown rice can last up to a year and a half. You would need three cups of dried rice per day to provide you enough calories to survive, if that was all you ate; and the average spaghetti sauce jar from the store holds about three cups of rice. So, that one jar, with less than one dollar’s worth of rice, could sustain you for a full day and provides an added protection against bugs. It also parses out your larger supply into discernable and potentially tradeable amounts. If it were Pinto beans you’re storing about forty-eight grams of protein. Don’t throw out your jars. While I am not advocating hoarding, you do need to begin thinking about ways to reuse items.
Beyond jars, though, to survive a prolonged economic depression, you will need to look at everything you throw out as potentially reusable. Packaging is potential kindling. Food scraps should be composted for the garden. Egg cartons can be used to sprout plants. Old clothes can be mended or used as rags. Wine corks, shopping bags, hangers, rubber bands, and more, all have reusability. Even the cotton balls from over the counter prescription bottles and the bottles themselves can be reused. If it’s something that broke, don’t just throw it out and get a new one. Can it be repurposed? Can it be fixed? Can it be scavenged for useful parts? I’ve watched YouTube videos and scavenged parts out of my broken laptops to sell online. It’s saved me money on buying new PCs. Start to look twice at anything you’re about to throw out and ask yourself, can I repurpose this now or in the future?
2- Have Multiple Revenue Streams
Having multiple forms of revenue or goods coming in will help you if one of those streams of revenue or goods dries up. While a second job of only a few hours may not seem like much now, if you lose your primary job, it could be a lifesaver. The same is true for revenue in the form of goods. If you already garden and have too many tomatoes to eat after canning, can you sell them? Can you trade them to someone else for something they have? The slang term for this is to have a “side hustle,” which is something other than your main job that brings in cash or goods. If you can side hustle those tomatoes for someone else’s mending skills to repair some clothes you would have thrown out, you just saved yourself a lot of money, extended the life of your clothes, and made a critical connection in a prolonged economic downturn. Revenue isn’t just about money. It’s any commodity, goods, or services you can bring into your life. Develop multiple revenue streams to make certain that money, goods, or services are still coming to you should your main revenue stream evaporate.
3- Never Credit, Less Cash, Trade
When at all possible, never use credit to buy things. Use as little cash as possible by always trying to get a lower price. Sometimes this can mean driving to three different stores to get the best prices on what you need. And, whenever practical, see if there is a trade possible that won’t cost you either cash or credit. To survive, there are things you will need, but the way you obtain them and whether you get them clean or owe someone for them will determine your long term ability to sustain yourself. If you obtain the things you need to survive on credit, how will you get these things when your credit dries up? If a whole nation is suffering an economic depression, at some point, many stores just will stop taking credit of any form. It won’t be worth the risk to them.
Dollars may lose value, so relying upon cash transactions isn’t feasible either. Don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price if the supply and demand equation is in your favor or the dollars have more value in the eyes of the seller. Try and stretch out any money you have and focus on necessities. In most transactions, trading what you have for what you need is probably your best option. It instantly reconciles the transaction and gives you what you need right now in exchange. I knew a guy who mowed the neighborhood lawns frequently just to pick up a few extra dollars– what he called fishing money. He also sold catfish for every catfish fry in his town right out of his basement. He traded his service for a little cash which he used to fund his larger and more profitable operation. Like the never credit concept, though, don’t trade what you don’t have for what you need now. Trading tomatoes from your next harvest that might fail will force you into a debt with someone that you will have to renegotiate on their terms.
4- Learn to Filter and Purify Water
Municipal water supplies may not be reliable in a prolonged downturn. Collecting rainwater, lake water, stream water, and other water sources can keep you hydrated, but you have to have a plan for filtering, purifying and storing the water. You absolutely cannot live without regular water intake and drinking water. When there is no food, water can at least help to reduce the pangs of hunger for a little while.
We have recommended pocket filtration systems in the past, and we still do. Technology advancements have brought these down to under twenty dollars in price, and it is an absolute must have in your prepper supplies. If a natural disaster strikes while the country is in the grips of an economic depression, we guarantee you that critical infrastructures like water and electricity will stay down for a long period of time. Don’t be caught off guard with your water. If you are forced to flee your area, you won’t be able to take that fifty-five gallon drum of water with you, but a mini filter like we recommend weighs two ounces, fits into your pocket, and can filter one thousand eight hundred and eighteen of those fifty five gallon drums.
Think like a survivor, and give water its proper place in your prepping supplies.
5- Go Fishing or Hunting
Equipment that you don’t know how to use will do you no good when you are trying to use it under the stress of a disaster. This is definitely true for hunting and fishing equipment. I have known great fishermen who made a living off what they caught. I, despite the number of times I have gone fishing, catch very little. There is a lot to learn about both hunting and fishing. Setting lines, tying lines,tying knots, tracking, finding the right spots, and much, much more is out there to know before you can be proficient at these skills. Just finding the right location to engage in the sports can be a challenge. If you have hunting and fishing supplies in your prepping mix, as you should, and you think you will sustain yourself through one or both of those methods, know that you will likely struggle quite a bit if you are not familiar with how and where to use your equipment.
Set aside some time to casually fish some weekend. Maybe plan on bagging one extra deer or try turkey or duck hunting. Maybe try your hand at hunting small game and preparing it for your table. Expand your knowledge and bolster your supplies with fresh fish or game. Understand how to process the meat for your table and become less reliant upon a food supply system that can easily falter or suffer from disruptions, especially during an economic depression.
6- Start a Garden and Grow Your Own
If you aren’t, at the very least, growing something you can eat and supplement your table with, you are really going to struggle and be dependent upon others in a prolonged depression. I have several other videos on this channel that go into great depth on what you can grow even in an apartment. From sprouts to mushrooms to balcony setups and indoor grow tents, you need to start now to supplement your supplies.
Just like hunting and fishing, gardening of any kind requires knowledge and learning through trial and error. Expect that your first couple of batches of sprouts will mold before you figure it out. It’s better to have that happen now than when you are amidst a crisis.
Even something as small as an herb garden can provide you micronutrients and vitamins to supplement your other supplies. A cup of mint tea will not provide you much in the way of nutrition, but it will be an incredible psychological boost to you when you are worried about the next dollar or meal.
Don’t underestimate the power of growing your own, freeing yourself even a little from tenuous food supply chains, and increasing your self-sufficiency; but you can’t wait for disaster to strike. Start in small ways today.
7- Preserve and Dehydrate
Food, being one of the three critical components of survival along with air and water, will become very critical to you to survive a great depression. The last great depression found people in soup lines that stretched several city blocks. In the southern great plains of the United States they actually even pickled tumbleweed as a source of food. Desperate times require that you not waste a single ounce of nutritional food.
Learn to use the broccoli stem in your cooking or the carrot tops off those carrots from the farmer’s market or your garden. Cook the pepper leaves along with the peppers in your asian stir fry. Try sunflower leaves or dandelions in your salad. Above all else, though, buy yourself a kitchen countertop food dehydrator and commit to trying to not let anything go to waste for a week or month. If you didn’t get around to eating the whole bag of apples or oranges, those strawberries or raspberries, learn how to dehydrate them and then use them later. Food dehydrators are another one of those items that have dropped significantly in price over the years, and there are a number of plans online for making your own solar food dehydrators. If canning and preserving is too much for you, definitely start on the smaller side with dehydrating foods, but don’t be afraid to try and make your own jam or apple butter.
Think like a survivor and start to preserve and dehydrate every ounce of consumable food that enters your home. This will train your brain to start thinking of ways to stretch your food supply. You will look differently at the food you purchase and consume. You will start to become more self-sufficient, and you will begin to start thinking like a person who can survive another great depression.
8- Cook Everything
The final point regarding food here is to cook everything. Our diets often consist of eating just small portions of plants that are entirely consumable. I already mentioned the carrot tops and broccoli stock, but there are a lot of parts of the plants we eat we consider scraps. Cilantro and parsley stems, orange and apple peels, cucumber skin and watermelon rinds are all edible. Did you know that the water drained or cooked chickpeas is called aquafaba and can be used as an egg substitute in baking? Cook everything edible you can get your hands on. Forage for herbs and plants on your next hike or outdoor excursion. Bring them home and cook them up. Learn the skills now instead of during a time when you have the added pressure of hungry mouths to feed and an extended period of food insecurity.
One final trick for food, when you are eating or preparing your evening meal, add up the total cost of everything you are putting in it and divide that by the number of mouths fed. Come up with a per meal price. Compare that to even one meal out or takeout. You will be shocked at the savings. Many people during this recent pandemic were more than a little shocked at how much they were spending on meals out. Their grocery bills went up but they still had money in their accounts. Eating at home is an amazing savings technique, and it will be the only way to stretch your money in an economic depression. Learn and apply the skills now.
9- Durable Goods
Cast iron pans, dutch ovens, fixed blade knives, strong blankets, bolts of denim, canvas, or burlap, sewing kits, leather gloves, work boots, and more are all things you can buy once to last you years. Don’t just buy them to sit on your shelves though, start using them in your daily lives. Use the fixed blade knife in the kitchen and you will suddenly realize that you are also going to need a sharpening stone and knowledge on how to use it. Use that sewing kit to mend some clothes one time, and you may realize you need readers to thread the needle or stronger and a greater assortment of threads. Use the gloves to garden and you may find out there are better, stronger gloves out there that will not fall apart on you.
We once used a hickory handled axe we received one father’s day to process some firewood only to have it break on my fourth swipe. It turns out it wasn’t hickory at all or it was bad wood. You don’t really know either how to properly use your durable goods or how durable they really are or what you still may need unless you start using them in your everyday life before a disaster or depression starts. By incorporating these durable goods into your everyday life, you develop a durable mindset that will help you survive long periods of time where simply buying a new product or repairing an old one may no longer be a possibility.
10- Stock Up
And, of course, stock up. Recent events have finally awoken many to the need to establish some level of independence from a system that can falter, fail, or possibly even collapse. We simply cannot rely upon the government or the goodwill of our neighbors to bail us out when a crisis from a tornado to a great depression occurs. While I do believe in the good in people, their focus, rightly so, is going to be on themselves and their immediate families; and the government may or may not bail you out or get to you on time.
Stock-up on your food, water, ammo, durable goods, and other prepping supplies. Most importantly though, don’t just let these things sit on the shelf. Rotate food supplies. Use and test your tools. Take it to the beach or park with you. Start in small ways to incorporate these things into your everyday life. If an economic depression strikes, it will have less impact on you if you are already living in a self-sufficient manner with less dependency upon the systems collapsing around you.
Survival is ninety percent mental and ten percent knowledge and skills. You can use this video as a guide for ten tips that will help you develop a survivor’s mentality when facing another great depression. If the United States experiences, instead, a massive period of economic growth and prosperity, you will still benefit by living a more spartan and independent lifestyle. It’s a winning scenario and a survivor’s mindset.
As always, please stay safe out there.