An ongoing slowdown in the economy, reflected in curtailed manufacturing and high prices for food, housing, and utilities, could even now be setting the stage for an economic depression.
Whatever may happen, now is a good time to plan for dealing with a depressed economy. One thing your plan should consider is things to stock up on before a depression becomes an economic reality.
Read on for a list of things that you’ll want to have stockpiled to deal as comfortably as possible with a sustained economic downturn.
Putting Together a Depression Pantry
Unfortunately, an economic depression will include increases in unemployment and tightening credit, both of which can affect the ability to meet the basic needs of you and your family.
That’s why one of the things to stock up on before a depression is food. Fortunately, there are a number of inexpensive ways to ensure you and your family are adequately fed.
1. Ramen Noodles
At a little more than a dime per package, and in a variety of flavors, ramen noodles are a no-brainer for your depression pantry.
Instant ramen noodles are inexpensive, have a long shelf life, don’t need refrigeration, can be eaten without adding water if necessary, and are a great source of carbohydrates.
2. Canned Meats and Fish
Fresh meats and fish might be in short supply as economic depression develops, but that doesn’t mean your family has to go without vital proteins. One of the best things to stock up on before a depression is canned meats and fish.
In addition to being cheaper than fresh meats and fish, canned items like chicken, tuna, and beef have a much longer shelf life.
3. Dried Fruit
Other items to consider for your depression pantry are dried fruits, from raisins to banana chips to pineapple. Like ramen and canned meats, dried fruits have a longer shelf life and provide high nutritional value.
Household Things to Stock up on Before a Depression
Of course, dealing with a declining economy could make it difficult to maintain a functional household. Read on for some ideas of what to stock at home to keep your household functioning during a depression.
For long-term food security, put vegetable seeds on your list of things to stock up on before a depression.
In the event of a long-term financial catastrophe, having a supply of seeds can ensure you and your family have fresh vegetables available for at least some months at a time.
An economic depression might bring interruptions in electricity as customers can’t pay bills and maintenance needs go unmet. With that in mind, ensuring that you have candles on hand will make life less worrisome.
Of course, you’ll want to be sure you have plenty of matches or another ignition source on hand to keep your candles usable.
6. Duct Tape
It’s a no-brainer that the versatility of duct tape makes it an integral part of every household. The many potential uses of duct tape make it indispensable among the things to stock up on before a depression.
Its uses are limited only by the imagination, but duct tape obviously would be handy for fixing household leaks, fashioning an impromptu sling for an arm injury, or patching clothes.
Other possible uses for duct tape include twisting or braiding it to create high-strength rope, using it as a suture material, or even fashioning a hat as protection from the sun.
7. Baking Soda
Baking soda has a surprising array of emergency uses that place it among things to stock up on before a depression.
For example, it can be used as a short-term shampoo when mixed in a ratio of three parts baking soda to one part water. It can also be used as toothpaste and, when mixed at one teaspoon to a glass of water, as a mouthwash.
Additionally, baking soda can be used as a hand sanitizer and to relieve minor burns and itches.
Economic Security Preparations for Depression
The economic uncertainty of a depression, especially the value of paper money, makes it wise to consider precious metals among the things to stock up on before a depression.
Finding a reputable precious metals dealer can be a problem, so you should consult with an independent jeweler to get some recommendations.
Whether you’re buying gold or silver, don’t buy ingots. With gold, buying coins such as the American Eagle, which comes in a variety of sizes, is the best approach.
If you choose to buy silver, you should buy so-called “junk silver” US coins minted before 1965. These coins are available in bags valued from $1,000 to $250 and can be purchased in rolls of lesser value.
Hunting and Fishing Are Important Depression Skills
In a prolonged depression, hunting and fishing equipment could become important as grocery store shelves become less reliable. Here is some guidance for things to stock up on before a depression to ensure you and your family’s food security.
8. Fishing Supplies
Even if you’re not an angler, you might want to add a survival fishing kit to your list of things to stock up on before a depression.
A typical survival fishing kit will include a variety of hooks, several dozen feet of fishing line, a line winder, and some type of bait.
9. Hunting Supplies
If you have a rifle or shotgun, you’ll obviously want to be sure to have plenty of ammunition on hand in case you have to rely on the fresh-killed game to feed your family during a depression.
But there are other things to stock up on before a depression if you think you’ll be hunting for food.
Among those things are a pocketknife, camouflage clothing, and scent-killing detergent for washing hunting clothes.
You also might want to invest in a trail camera. Mounted where you’ll be hunting, the camera will show how wildlife moves through that area.
Health Considerations for an Economic Depression
An onrushing economic calamity can have health-related consequences, including negative effects on mental health.
Here are some tips for addressing mental health considerations of an economic depression, along with general tips for ensuring that you are able to continue dealing with pre-existing physical conditions.
Also here are tips for the medical supplies you should have on hand to ensure you and your family are adequately prepared for emergencies.
Dealing With Medical Depression
It’s easy to understand how the uncertainties associated with an economic crisis, from employment status to the availability of resources, could contribute to medical depression.
Indeed, there is significant evidence that economic crises bring increases in symptoms of depression. Even for people who aren’t predisposed to depression, economic calamity can cause an erosion of positive beliefs about society.
If you find yourself having trouble coping with economic uncertainties, it may be wise to seek out a therapist to at least get you grounded with coping mechanisms.
But if using a therapist is an economic challenge, seeking out a friend or acquaintance with whom to talk, particularly someone who has successfully coped with trying circumstances, might be just as helpful.
So, as you’re looking at things to stock up on before a depression, you might want to strengthen your social ties.
10. Prescription Medications
Obviously, ensuring that you and your family members have an adequate supply of prescription medications on hand through a season of economic reversals is key to maintaining physical health.
In the case of “routine” emergencies like floods or hurricanes, medical professionals advise having at least a seven- to a 10-day supply of prescription medications on hand.
A longer-term situation like an economic depression could create even more uncertainty about supplies of prescription medications, so it might be wise to have as much as a 30-day supply on hand.
Some states won’t allow the dispensing of medication that far in advance, so an early step in your preparation for things to stock up on before a depression should be to check your state’s time limits on prescription medication supplies.
11. Other Medical Supplies
If you don’t already have a first aid kit in your home, the threat of an economic emergency is a good cue to assemble one. At a minimum, you’ll need supplies to handle routine injuries and illness.
Among the things you’ll need are adhesive bandages of various sizes and shapes for small wounds. You’ll also want to have sterile gauze, non-adhesive pads, gauze roller pads, and medical tape on hand to handle larger wounds.
A burn gel to relieve the pain of minor burns is also a must-have for your long-term first aid kit.
Beyond first aid supplies, you should have over-the-counter medications on hand to address issues such as headaches, diarrhea, colds, flu, and allergies.
You might also want to have some sleep aids on hand to counteract anxiety, but be careful not to overuse them.
Stock up on Skills to Help With Economic Downturn
Thus far, this post has been concerned with food and other items to have on hand to deal with an economic depression. But one of the most important things to stock up on before a depression is knowledge.
Learning in advance how to handle home and car repairs, how to bake bread, or how to care for someone who is ill are all good ways to ensure your readiness for economic uncertainty.
There are a number of books available on emergency preparedness. As just one example, Tony Nester’s “When the Grid Goes Down: Disaster Preparations and Survival Gear For Making Your Home Self-Reliant,” can serve as a preparation guide and a reference manual.
Wrapping up Things to Stock up on Before a Depression
This post has provided a detailed look at some of the things to stock up on before a depression.
For more information on preparing for depression or other unfortunate circumstances, check out our Preparedness section.