I’m not a financial expert. But I occasionally write on the topic of possible economic problems from the point of view of prepping. This post follows a similar vein. Given that any of a range of economic problems, from moderate to severe, might cause a sharp increase in inflation, how might we prepare for that possibility? I know that one “standard” answer is gold and silver coins. Fine. I don’t really disagree. But my limited funds for prepping need to be used cautiously. So I’m going to suggest an alternate approach.
Once some disaster strikes — I’m talking about almost anything within a wide range of possibilities — I expect prices to rise and availability to fall for most prepping-type items. We are already seeing this effect in the realm of guns and magazines. Talk of a new gun control bill is causing prices to rise and availability to fall. By my estimation, it’s the availability that is more at issue right now. But eventually, prices will rise also. This represents a type of inflation in just one category of products.
Something similar happens short-term when a hurricane or snowstorm strikes. Availability of the relevant prepping supplies plummets. If the disaster is short-term, perhaps prices don’t rise. But if it is long term, I think it is inevitable that prices for goods that are in high demand will rise sharply.
Many different scenarios could cause general inflation. If the Congress does not address the current fiscal crisis properly, a severe economic downturn could result. Inflation has been very low for many years. But I remember the double-digit inflation of the late 1970′s and early 1980′s. And inflation coupled with any of the type of problems that preppers are discussing and anticipating would cause prepping supplies to go up in price.
The best preparation for that type of inflation, specifically in the cost of prepping supplies, is to buy and store those supplies in advance. I think that there are two types of preppers, those that are actively prepping now, including buying and storing various supplies, and those that are (as of yet) only thinking and talking about prepping. The latter case is typical of newcomers to prepping and maybe persons who are not quite in a position, in terms of personal circumstances, to get started.
If you are in the latter category, I would encourage you to become active in prepping. Start a little at a time: one month’s food supply, one method of water purification, a basic first aid kit. Personally, I would emphasize storing food, water purification equipment, first aid supplies, and maybe some gardening supplies for growing additional food. Those are my core prepping items. What are yours?
Whether you want to own guns and ammo as one means of prepping is up to you. But the time to buy cheap, in advance of gun-specific inflation, is passing away quickly. More on that topic tomorrow, when Senator Dianne Feinstein introduces her gun control bill.
Not every type of prepping item is vulnerable to “disaster inflation”. Books on prepping and survival are perhaps the least likely items to experience prepping-specific inflation. Publishers can always print up more books. Digital books are easy to distribute; supply and demand has much less of an effect. And clothing is available in such abundance in our modern society that it is hard to imagine demand outstripping supply. (BTW, I need a good pair of work boots for prepping, if anyone has a recommendation.)
If you buy the core prepping items in advance of a disaster, you will lessen the impact of the prepping-specific inflation that might accompany any long-term disaster. And that is my prepper version of a hedge against inflation.