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To say things are a little scary right now would be an understatement, and everyone is holding their breath, wondering if we are headed for the next Great Depression. Experts say that if it happens, it will be worse than the crash in 1929, leaving those of us with families wondering how to survive the next Great Depression.
Things are different now. I know my bills are higher than those who lived a century ago, and most people have higher debts levels. It was just announced this week that the UK is in a recession far worse than the rest of Europe or North America.
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Is the United States next?
While our employment rate continues to decline as more people re-enter the workforce, we still have a 10% unemployment rate as of August 2020. People worry that, as COVID numbers increase, the unemployment rate will increase once again.
So what can you do to ensure you and your family can survive the next Great Depression? There is plenty! Many of us had grandparents who survived this period and told us bits of wisdom that we can share with others. My great-grandmother lived on a farm in the middle of the Great Depression, and she shared with me her hardships and the valuable lessons she learned.
Here are some things that you can do.
16 Things You Can Do to Survive the Next Great Depression
1. Have Multiple Streams of Income
Gone are the days of having one stream of income to support your family, and unfortunately, no job is truly recession-proof. No one has 100% job security, even if we like to think so.
You can have your primary source of income. For our family, that would be my husband’s full-time job outside of the home, but that might look different for your family.
Then, it’s time to find different ways to make money. Think about the skills you have or the education that you have. My husband works part-time as an EMT and firefighter. We sell products that we grow out of the garden and jams and jellies I create in the kitchen. I started a blog to earn money on the side.
You can find numerous ways to make money! Be creative and think about things people will need that you can provide for them.
2. Start a Garden
Food is, without a doubt, the number one concern for any individual when the idea of facing a depression comes up. How would you feed yourself and your family?
That’s why you need to have a garden. You should start small because gardening is a skill that takes time to learn and cultivate, but I suggest stockpiling seeds if an emergency happens before your skills develop.
Be smart about the plants that you grow if you’re gardening for survival. Do you like eggplants? Sure! Can you preserve and feed your family on eggplants? Not really.
Survival gardening means focusing on different staple crops and adding healthy greens that you can grow throughout the year for additional vegetables. Corn, potatoes, tomatoes, beans, and squash are crucial to using your garden to survive. You have to think about foods with plenty of calories.
If you live in an urban area and don’t have a lot of space, here’s a guide to urban survival gardening.
3. Learn To Preserve Food
If you have all of this food that you have grown, you need to be able to save it. Canning is the most obvious choice for food preservation, but you can also try your hand at dehydrating, freezing, fermenting, salting, and more.
People preserved food for thousands of years before the invention of refrigerators, so it’s definitely possible. Try your hand at it now and find the methods you prefer the most.
4. Raise Some Backyard Animals
I remember my great-great-grandmother – yes, really! – and she told me stories about raising chickens and meat rabbits in the backyard of her city home. It wasn’t unusual a century ago to have a few chickens and other poultry or meat rabbits.
My grandfather grew up in the same area and told me that there used to be a cart that came around each day, and you could grab a live chicken off of it to cook. Yes, it came alive, but everyone knew how to butcher back then.
See if your city allows some chickens or rabbits. While I live outside of the city limits, those who do live in the city limits near me are allowed six hens. That’s a few eggs a day, and when food is low, that’s valuable!
5. Take Up Hunting and Fishing
You might live in an area where hunting isn’t possible, or you would have to go too far out of the city to hunt. Not everyone feels comfortable hunting, but fishing is a beloved pastime for many families.
Turn that hobby into a way to feed your family. You might not think about eating the fish that your kids pull out of the small lake, but when food is scarce, you can. Fishing for subsistence happens all over the world, and you can do so right in your neck of the woods.
6. Learn How to Filter Water
While we hope that our access to freshwater isn’t jeopardized by the depression, it’s certainly possible. You might not be able to afford your water bill, in which case you’ll need to start collecting water elsewhere for your family.
I suggest that you build a rainwater collection system to gather the rain that happens throughout the week. Then, learn how to filter that water.
You might also want to learn how to filter water from a creek or lake if you find that you need to learn your home.
7. Stockpile Non-Perishable Foods
While you’re still employed and financially stable, it’s the perfect time to stockpile non-perishable foods. Learn how to store those foods correctly. Foods such as flour should be stored in mylar bars and in buckets to increase their lifespan.
Don’t go too crazy with stockpiling, and remember to only stockpile foods your family really eats. There is no point in storing tuna if your family hates it. It’s wasteful not to eat it at some point.
Also, don’t break the bank. There are dozens of ways that you can stockpile food without blowing your budget.
8. Be As Resourceful As You Can
Something I always admired about my grandparents was their ability to use whatever they had available. Their ingenuity helped them survive difficult times, and we need to find that same spark inside of us.
Instead of buying something new, we need to see what we have that can be a substitute. If we can’t find a replacement, is there a way to make it or a version of whatever we need for cheaper? Buying new should be the last resort.
Here’s a list of things you should stop buying and start making.
9. Stop Relying on Credit Cards – Live Within Your Means
Credit cards are the norm for our society, but most usage means you’re living outside your means. If you can’t afford it in cash, it has to wait until you can.
Pay off your credit cards and lock them away. Teach yourself and your family how to save and wait for what you really want. It makes you more appreciative of what you have.
10. Stock Up on Clothing
If the economy is about to tank, you need to think about things you and your family will need, and clothing is on that list. Now is a good time to stockpile essentials like socks and underwear, along with some basic shirts in a variety of sizes.
At the end of seasons, snatch up the clearance clothes in the next sizes up for your kids. It’s one of my favorite ways to reduce how much money I spend on clothing. Go to thrift stores and find used clothes or shop consignment sales.
11. Learn How to Mend
Your clothing will eventually wear out. Mending is a skill that most women had during the Great Depression. They had to fix their kids’ clothing to make it last as long as possible.
You can do the same! Don’t toss out shirts with holes; fix them. You can buy pants that are too long and hem them (then take out the hems later when the child grows). Not only is mending and sewing a valuable skill, but it can help you save money when each penny counts.
Here’s how learning to sew can save you money.
12. Find a Tradeable Skill
Skills are nearly as valuable as items. No one can do everything, so having a few tradeable skills is a serious asset. You might understand construction, plumbing, electrical work, or work in the medical field.
Anything can be a skill to someone else. Your ability to garden, can, and preserve food could be something that another person wants to learn. You could teach them the ins and outs in exchange for them to fix your leaky faucet.
It seems like a strange idea, but this was something that worked for centuries. It’s very much the mentality of you scratch my back, and I will scratch your back.
Here’s a list of skills you can trade.
13. Stockpile Medications
When the pandemic first started, I needed some pain medication for my kids; my toddler’s molar popped through, and she was uncomfortable. I headed to the store, and all of the children’s medicine was sold out.
You might not think about medication as one of the first things people buy out, but they do. This was proof that we need to make sure we have all of the medications our family needs on hand.
It’s hard to get a stockpile of prescription medication; it takes time and refilling at the right time, but it can be done. You can focus on stocking all of the OTC medications that you will need.
Here’s a list of over-the-counter medications to stock up on.
14. Learn How to Barter
How do you buy things when the value of currency plummets?
The answer is bartering. Bartering was the critical form of currency for centuries, and one day, it will take back over as the primary way to get the items needed for your family.
Right now, we do have time to prepare and get ready for a potential economic crash, so now is the ideal time to stockpile barter items. These items often are luxury items, but they also can be inexpensive items that people don’t think that they will need, but they really do.
Most preppers know things like alcohol, coffee, and chocolate would be barter items, but don’t forget the value in hygiene products and medication. A bottle of ibuprofen would be more valuable than chocolate for many families who want to swap with you.
Here’s a list of everyday items that are great for bartering.
15. Save Now While You Can
Saving is crucial while you have your primary source of income, but saving doesn’t just have to be in the form of money. I consider stockpiling food and essentials a form of savings because it’s less money you need to spend in the future.
Start living a frugal lifestyle. Don’t eat out (at least not as often) and find ways to save money. Learn to do without for non-essential items, and if you do want something, learn to delay your gratification. Wait a week or two to buy it to decide if you still want it, and search for better prices in the meantime.
16. Find Likeminded People to Help
Last but not least is to find people in your life who are worried about the future just as much as you are. No one can do everything, and you will need a form of community to help you survive.
Family and friends helped each other survive during the Great Depression, and it will happen again in the future. Don’t be surprised if you have to move in with family members or if they need to move in with you. These things were far from uncommon a century ago to help each family survive and live within their means.
You Will Survive
No one wants our worries or predictions about the next Great Depression to come true, but it’s a possibility looming over our heads. We need to be smart now while things are okay for our families. If you’re still employed, count your blessings and start to prepare now.
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