How to prepare for an economic collapse

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When it comes to emergency preparedness, almost every prepper has considered what to do in the event of a natural disaster, but what about a not-so-natural one? Like An economic collapse? Take a moment to consider the hostile U.S. political climate, rising housing prices across the country, the recent cryptocurrency stock bubbles, and, of course, the trillions upon trillions of dollars that the U.S. has in debt. Is it any surprise that an economic collapse may happen soon?

Survival Box helps you prepare for the worst, whether that be a wildfire, an economic collapse, or anything in between. With our carefully curated survival box subscriptions and our helpful blog full of must-know info, we've got everything you need for those "just in case" scenarios. Ready to dive? It's time to learn all about how to prepare for an economic collapse.

What is an economic collapse?

An economic collapse is essentially a long-term breakdown of a national economy. At its best, it may only be as bad as a recession – where life goes on much like before, though with higher unemployment – but at its worst, an economic collapse not only ushers in increased poverty and long-term financial consequences, but it can also lead to physical dangers such as riots, looting and even deadly violence.

Collapses can be caused by a variety of factors, most notably:

  • Hyperinflation - when prices rise rapidly and uncontrollably
  • Stagflation - persistent inflation that's combined with stagnant consumer demand and a high unemployment rate
  • Market crashes (i.e., the stock market, the housing market, etc.)


Economic crises in the U.S. and beyond

Perhaps you remember the financial recession of 2008 when, seemingly out of nowhere, the U.S. economy took a nosedive for the worst. By the time the dust settled, millions of Americans had lost their homes, nearly 10% of the population was unemployed, and several major banks and other companies went out of business.

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The crazy part? The 2008 Recession technically wasn't bad enough to be called an economic collapse. It was relatively short and tame compared to what might have happened. To understand what a severe economic collapse might look like, you might need to travel back in time to the 1930s. During the Great Depression, nearly a quarter of the U.S. working population was unemployed, and even those with jobs had a hard time making ends meet. Food scarcity, rampant relocation, homelessness, psychological stress, and so much more were the hallmarks of the Great Depression. And it's not just the United States that has experienced economic scares – the threat of an economic collapse is a global one. From Greece to Venezuela, no matter where you look, you're sure to find people and places who have been affected by a financial crisis.

So the question is how we can learn from their experiences?

Watch for the signs: Events that may signal an economic collapse

The first step to preparing for an economic collapse is knowing what signs to look for that may signal an oncoming financial crisis. Fortunately for the U.S., a large economy is less susceptible to a long-term economic crisis, but that doesn't mean that it can't happen. And if and when it does, it will happen fast. It's vital to ensure you have access to relevant and up-to-date financial information so that you can be on the lookout for signs that indicate the economy isn't doing too well. Be sure to take note of:

  • The financial market. If the financial market is experiencing a series of consistent ups and downs, it may be time to pull out your survival box. Calm markets generally experience an upward trend, while erratic markets are more likely to be heading into an overall decline.
  • Oil prices. High oil prices generally signify a healthy GDP and correlate with a higher value of goods and services. However, if oil prices are dropping, it could be a sign that the GDP isn't doing as well as it should be. Keep an eye on the financial markets, which could begin to decline as well.
  • The price of goods and services. When people have more money to spend, the cost of goods and services tends to go up. Conversely, if Americans have less money due to unemployment, wage cuts, or something similar, prices may drop, signifying a worsening economy.
  • The unemployment rate. One of the most common signs of an unhealthy economy is a high unemployment rate or sudden increase in the number of unemployed.

While none of these signs is an absolute determiner for an economic collapse, they're often your best and only way to know if a potential economic collapse is on the horizon.

The aftermath of an economic collapse

Now that you know some of the signs to watch out for, it's time to discuss what to expect during a severe economic collapse. The U.S. financial system will likely be all but destroyed, with stock markets and bonds collapsing due to panic selling. The real estate market will follow, and most assets will suffer from deflation. After the initial collapse, likely, you won't have access to any credit cards – perhaps not even to your bank account – meaning that even if you have funds available, they may not help you at all. As fear sets in, hoarding and panic buying will likely become commonplace, leading to an increased demand for food and supplies that can't be filled quickly enough, thanks partly to the "just-in-time" mentality that most grocery stores operate under. This increased demand will cause prices to skyrocket at the same time that unemployment is rising.

The electrical grid and water systems may no longer be operating – and even if they are, you may not be able to afford them, thanks to hyperinflation. Travel is likely to be restricted or highly unaffordable. Fear and uncertainty will – at least in some instances – devolve into immoral and even violent activities. Of course, this is a worst-case scenario in many ways. But as the saying goes, hope for the best and prepare for the worst. There are many steps you can take right now to help ensure that you and your loved ones remain safe and secure even if things are falling apart around you.

Our top 9 tips to make sure you're ready for an economic collapse

While a full-blown economic collapse is a sobering thought, there are many things you can do that will help you prepare for one should it ever occur. Not only will these nine tips help reduce the impact of a future economic collapse on you and your family, but many will also improve your quality of life today.

1 Establish comprehensive food storage.

During an economic collapse, it is likely that food will either be scarce or extremely expensive, making food and water storage an absolute necessity. Remember that the average adult needs about 1,500 calories a day, and your food storage should include at least a one-year supply of long-term and short-term options for every member of your household. Your long-term food items should last for at least a decade and may include dehydrated or freeze-dried options. Short-term food items may only last a few years at the most, but they should be items that you often use, such as canned items, ready-made mixes, cereals, pasta, and beans. Every item should be rotated out as the "best by" date approaches to decrease spoilage and waste.

As you establish or add to your food storage, remember to invest in various goods, including carbs, proteins, fats, and preserved fruits and vegetables. It's also a good idea to have supplemental vitamins on hand. Equally important is your water storage, as you may lose access to water in your home. If this happens, be sure you have a plan for access to a reliable source of water in the quantities appropriate for your household, remembering that the average adult should consume close to a gallon of water a day, more if active. In addition to bottles or jugs of water, you may also wish to include water purification tablets, liquid bleach, filters, or other purification devices.

2 Stockpile the neces

sary supplies.

In addition to your food supply, it's essential to stock the tools you'll need to survive independently. Remember to invest in high-quality tools to ensure they last long and work as required. Our Premium survival kit offers a range of necessary supplies, including matches, lighters, and solar chargers.

Garden Tools

If you plan to grow your food (more on that below), it's essential to have the right tools.

At a minimum, you'll want to have:

  • Gloves
  • Spades and shovels
  • A hoe
  • Gardening shears
  • Trowels
  • A rake
  • High-quality soil
  • A variety of non-GMO seeds
  • A wheelbarrow for more extensive gardens

Kitchen Tools

When emergencies strike, some of your most beloved and well-used kitchen tools may become obsolete. Luckily, there are a few items that are bound to be helpful no matter your situation. A manual can opener, cast iron pans, a thermometer, a camping stove and fuel, and a variety of hand-held kitchen tools will serve you well for any meal. A small hand mill or electric mill will allow you to grind your supply of flour for the truly prepared.

Sanitation Supplies

Toilet paper, feminine hygiene supplies, dental care products, eye-care products, a well-stocked first aid kit, and any over-the-counter or prescription medications are essential to have on hand to ensure a healthy and sanitary home during a crisis.

Other Essentials

Miscellaneous items may include but are not limited to:

  • A hand-crank or solar radio or battery-powered radio with extra batteries
  • A list of emergency contacts
  • Copies of your important documents
  • Flashlights
  • Emergency blankets
  • A multi-tool or pocket knife
  • Maps of the area
  • Firestarters, matches, etc.
  • General household tools (screwdrivers, hammers, wrenches, etc.)
  • Trash bags

3 Become more self-reliant

In the event of an economic collapse, you likely won't have access to the same products and services you currently enjoy. As a result, it's vital to become as self-reliant as possible now to ensure you're not left helpless in the future.Consider starting your garden, whether indoors or out, as even the smallest amount of food can be a great help in supplementing your diet. If space and law permit, you may consider investing in a few fowl such as chickens or ducks or planting a variety of fruit trees and shrubs on your property. Now is also an excellent time to learn about different ways of preserving food, such as curing your meat or canning fruit and vegetables to help augment your food storage.

Practice recycling, upcycling and composting whenever possible to ensure you get the most use out of everything you have. It would help if you also took the time to learn basic survival skills. After all, there's no time like the present, and it will be much more challenging to learn something new in the middle of an economic disaster. Do your own home and auto repairs whenever possible, learn how to bake or meal prep, or anything else that interests you.

4 Reconsider luxuries and costly habits

Take a long look at what habits you've cultivated; will they be detrimental in the aftermath of an economic collapse? Do you purchase a coffee every morning?Take luxurious and expensive vacations every summer? Eat out frequently? Not only are these habits going to cost you money that could otherwise be used to pay down debt or purchase preparation gear, but they also aren't sustainable in the event of an emergency. Whether your habit is a pack of cigarettes every week or a shopping spree everything month, now is the time to reconsider and readjust your lifestyle.

5 Consider your electricity usage and backup systems

In the event of a severe, long-term economic collapse, you may find yourself without electricity, either due to the grid being shut down or hyperinflated electricity costs. Either way, you'll still need to find a way to supply your home with power to ensure a safe, sanitary, and comfortable living space. Make it a goal to invest in at least one alternative energy source – preferably two. These can be anything from solar panels on your roof to a gas-powered generator in your basement. Now is also an excellent time to begin cutting back your energy consumption. Invest in energy-friendly appliances and do your best to conserve energy. Not only will these help you prepare for a power outage in the future, but they will also help you save money in the present.

6 Strengthen your finances

An economic collapse is sure to have unique and long-lasting consequences concerning your finances. So how do you protect them? No one will get out unscathed, but you can limit the impact of a collapse by taking a few critical steps while the economy is still relatively healthy.

Eliminate your debt

If you have debt – especially credit card debt – do all that you can to pay it off now. Sure, creditors may be concerned with other things during a financial collapse, but why take the risk? Hide your credit cards, look for ways to cut back on your spending, and put every extra penny towards eliminating your debt. Once it's paid off, you'll have more freedom to add to savings and purchase the high-quality preparing materials you need to survive.

Establish and add to your savings

Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck, which can make it challenging to establish savings. Luckily, there are several small things you can do to start saving today. Skip the morning coffee, the expensive haircut, or the fancy meal and put that money into savings. Do your auto or home repairs. Walk to work. Automatically deposit part of your pay into savings, if possible. The options are endless, so find one that works best for you.

Increase your income

Even if you have a steady job with a good income, is there more you could be doing? If time permits, consider starting a side-hustle to pay off debt and increase savings. From selling baked goods to offering babysitting services, there are plenty of ways to make an extra dollar when you have the time.


In the event of an economic collapse, cash most definitely isn't king. It would be best if you kept some cash on hand is hidden safely in your home, but you may also want to invest in other valuable commodities such as metals, extra supplies, fuel, and other barterable items.

7 Prioritize good health

Make sure you're in peak physical and mental condition so that you're prepared to handle the worst. Exercise daily, eat healthy, wholesome foods, and get plenty of sleep. Visit your dentist and healthcare provider regularly. Mental health is a priority, especially considering the strain that an economic collapse will put on all involved. Remember that you're doing your best to prepare and try not to stress outside your control. Find healthy coping habits that will help you deal with negative feelings, and don't be afraid to seek support from trusted individuals whenever you need it.

8 Understand how to protect yourself, your family, and your property

An economic collapse may very well result in violence, so be sure that you can protect your loved ones and your property against those who are ill-intentioned. Secure your home as much as possible to make it a less appealing target of thieves. Strengthen any entry points, erect a strong fence or set up an alarm system if you haven't already done so. Learn how to protect yourself and teach your loved ones to do the same. While many Americans already own a firearm, you should also invest in non-lethal means of protection such as pepper spray, tasers, or sonic alarms. Even everyday objects such as kitchen tools, baseball bats, or car keys can make a good weapon if needed. Our Economic Collapse Survival Box includes various protective items that you can use to defend yourself and your family. From anti-hacker bags to a self-defense flashlight, we provide you with the tools you need to make survival easier.

9 Establish and maintain strong relationships

Working together with those you trust will significantly increase your survival chances. Start creating strong relationships now, not only with family and friends but also with neighbors and like-minded individuals. Be prepared to step in and help out someone in need, and remember that you may one day be in their situation.

When life throws you a curveball, open your Survival Box

Prepare for the worst with our monthly Survival Box subscriptions, an affordable and convenient way to ensure that you and your loved ones are always ready for an emergency, no matter what kind.

Each of our boxes comes complete with high-quality, essential survival items as well as a knowledge card printed with helpful tips and tricks to ensure that you have the tools you need to excel in even the worst of times.


The world is changing, and it's not always for the better. It seems like every day, we hear about another natural disaster, terrorist attack, or global event that makes us feel less safe in our own homes. That feeling of fear only worsens when you realize how unprepared most people are to survive a crisis on their own with little more than what they have at home.