Gold, Silver, or Food…Which To Buy First?

Welcome to this week’s newsletter, sponsored by Urban Survival Course and my preferred gold dealer, Cloud Hard Assets.

A very common question for people who are getting started with preparedness and changing to a more self-reliant lifestyle goes something like this…”I’ve only got $X.  I know that I need to stock up on food, and I should probably have some gold & silver on hand, but what should I get first?  Heck, it seems like half the ads in conservative magazines and on conservative radio shows are telling me to buy gold, but should I?”

It’s a great question and most people screw this one up massively.  (I did)  I’ve found it effective to look at buying survival/preparedness supplies like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  If you’re not familiar with it, it roughly says that in order to be healthy mentally, you need to take care of your basic survival needs before you take care of higher level needs. If you satisfy a high level need like love instead of satisfying hunger and thirst, you might be happy, but you’re not going to last long.

Similarly, there is a hierarchy of survival needs.

Hierarchy Of Survival Needs (What to buy first)

With Limited funds, this will help you determine what to buy first.

Since I first introduced this concept a few years ago, it’s been added to several preparedness sites and sparked hundreds of discussions.  As long as you put a link back to this site, feel free to add it to your forum, blog or site to spark conversation.  One of the criticisms that I feel is the most legitimate so far is that “skills” should be on one of the most foundational levels.  I agree with that, but if you knew that there was going to be a disaster tomorrow and you only had a few hours to get everything that you need, you can go out and buy “stuff” but you don’t have enough time to learn too many new skills.

Like any model, it’s a work in progress and if you have any thoughts, comments, or refinements, please comment below.  Right now, though, we’re going to specifically address the debate between buying food and buying precious metals.

I’ll start by saying that gold and silver are a great way to store/transport wealth and to protect yourself against the devaluation of the dollar (inflation).  But the key phrase here is “store wealth.”  In order to store wealth, you’ve got to have “wealth” in the first place.

If we check in with Webster, we see that the definition of wealth is “The abundance of valuable material possessions or resources” or “abundant supply”.

It would stand to reason that you probably don’t have “wealth” to store until you have an abundance of basic survival items on hand…particularly food and water.

What I mean is that if you don’t have food on hand to last for an extended period of time, why would you buy silver or gold?  Fast forward with me for a second and picture yourself in a survival situation.

You’ve stored up lots of silver and gold…now what?  You can’t eat it.  You can’t start a fire with it.  You can’t drink it.  You can only use it to trade for other goods, and to do that you have to find someone with excess food and disclose the fact that you have gold/silver to trade.

Also keep in mind that in the chaotic period between when a disaster happens and orderly trade takes hold, people who planned ahead and have items to sell will be able to sell them at extreme prices—and I do mean extreme.  I regularly spend time in a place where water from the tap costs about 1.5 cents per gallon, but a gallon jug of water costs $2.50.  There’s no emergency or price gouging going on.  That’s just the current market rate.  If it was a matter of life and death and we didn’t have any other options, I’d gladly trade our wedding rings for a few gallons of drinking water

Everyone that you approach with gold and silver about a possible trade is going to remember you as the person who has gold/silver.  This is obviously not good from an operational security perspective, although you’re going to have the exact same issue trying to trade/barter with ANYTHING of value.

The longer you go without food or water, the more of your gold and silver you’re going to be willing to give up.  People will instinctually understand your desperate situation and realize just how much leverage they have over you.  Again, this is true with any currency or means of exchange, whether it’s gold, silver, cash, bullets, etc.

The fact is, if you have food and water, you can use it to trade for other goods just like you can with gold or silver…but if you need to, you can always consume it.  Put another way, in a survival situation, you will NEED food, but you won’t NEED currencies.

There’s a common joke among people who don’t like gold.  They say that gold won’t be useful because when you’re hungry, you won’t be able to find anyone with 1000 loaves of bread to trade for your ounce of gold.  This is true…and it makes my point.  If the person with the gold had prepared differently, they would have enough food and the gold would simply be a way to store their excess wealth.

Now this all gets much more complicated if you have to bug out and space/weight are a big issue.  In this case, you may want to take a few ounces of gold/silver instead of several additional pounds of food, but you still have to find someone with EXTRA food who actually WANTS your silver, gold, or other currency in order to make it worth carrying.

So, am I against precious metals?  Absolutely not.  I fully support buying gold and silver…just at the right time.

So when should you start buying gold and silver?

There is no hard and fast answer, and the answer is going to depend on a number of factors, including your mobility, storage space, number of caches set up, the size/maturity of your mutual aid group, and more.  Everyone is going to have a different guideline, but I will suggest this…I wouldn’t buy gold and silver until you have food, water, fire, shelter, medications, trauma gear, and tools for self defense sufficient to survive a breakdown in civil order lasting a month or more.  Even then, I would suggest spending most of your money on core items for your survival needs and a portion on gold and silver–Unless you can buy the gold/silver for a price that’s significantly below market value.

What should you start buying when you DO start buying gold and silver as a survival item?

There’s no hard and fast answer to this either, but it depends on if you’re buying retail or wholesale.  Let’s start with retail.  If you’re buying precious metals for everyday purchases, I’d suggest buying what’s called “junk” silver.  This is pre-1965 US coins that are made out of silver.  For simplicity’s sake, they trade at a multiple of their face value.  So, if the multiple is 25x, a dime is worth $2.50.  I like them because they don’t hold enough value to be profitably counterfeited, and because they’re easily recognized and widely accepted.

The downside to junk silver, and silver in general, is that it’s bulky.  Ten dimes will set you back about $25, but they’re roughly the same size as $1,600 of gold.  If you’re buying precious metals as a hedge against inflation, or even as an investment, gold is much more compact and portable than silver.  I like US gold American Eagles, Canadian gold maple leaves, Chinese pandas, South African Krugerrands, and Mexican 50 pesos.  All of these except for the 50 peso coins are 1 ounce coins.

I personally don’t buy commemorative coins or old collectable coins, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t.  And I will buy them if I can get them for spot price or slightly above spot price.  Commemorative coins are rarely worth more than spot and you have the added challenge of having to prove their authenticity when you go to sell them.

Collectable coins (usually old, rare coins) do hold more value in a smaller package and have the potential to shoot up in value faster than non-collectable coins, but I just haven’t had the desire to become expert enough to risk money on them.  There is an argument that many collectable coins are protected from confiscation, but I have my doubts that any government that would confiscate gold would pay any attention to confiscation laws that are almost 80 years old.  If any government wants to ban gold/silver, they’ll figure out a way to do it.  If they KNOW that people are buying gold and silver in such a way to get around an 80 year old law, then the new ban will take that into account when they craft their new law.

To come full circle, if you have a limited amount of funds and have to choose between spending money on precious metals or spending money on food storage, I’d pick food storage until you have several months set aside, with one specific exception that I’ll explain in a minute.  And, to be specific, I’d spend the money on non-perishable items that you currently eat.  Next, I’d buy some simple bulk foods like rice, beans, and oatmeal, but keep in mind that bigger isn’t always better.  As an example, we can buy 2-packs of oatmeal at Costco for roughly the same price as buying it in 5 gallon buckets.  We can open one of the 2-packs from Costco and eat our way through it before it spoils MUCH easier than we can with a 5 gallon bucket.

Finally, I’d buy freeze dried meals with long shelf lives…but only after you’ve tried them and are sure that your digestive system can handle them.  I’m really not a big fan of all of these “25 year shelf life” foods.  I just don’t understand paying a high per-meal price for food that we might not eat, but will have to store, for 25 years.  We have a few dozen MREs, freeze dried camping meals, and freeze dried meals from all of the major sellers that we’re continually testing on hand, but for us it makes a lot more sense to keep a couple of years worth of food on hand that we’re constantly eating and rotating through.

When does it make sense to buy gold BEFORE food?

I mentioned that there is a difference between buying gold/silver at wholesale and retail prices AND I mentioned that you USUALLY want to spend any additional money you have on food rather than gold/silver, but there is one specific exception that I want you to appreciate.

If you have the opportunity to buy gold at wholesale prices, do it.  In fact, I’d suggest that you buy as much as you possibly can.  Why?  Because if you’re buying it at wholesale prices of 50 cents on the dollar or less, you can immediately sell it for retail prices, double your money, roll your original money back into more gold/silver and put your profit (less taxes) into food storage and other preparedness gear.

25% of the population is unemployed or underemployed right now…that means that a LOT of people that you interact with on a daily basis, if not you, are underemployed/unemployed right now and would benefit tremendously from someone giving them more than pitiful “Cash for Gold” prices for their silver and gold.  This is a time and situation where you can make really good money helping out people who are in a bad spot by giving them a fair price for their gold and silver items.

Some people are interested in buying gold as a way of creating an income for themselves after losing a job.

Others are interested in supplementing their income or earning additional money that they can earmark specifically for preps.

And others are interested in a skill/home based business that they know will be in demand and have carryover in the event of a breakdown in the economy or a complete breakdown in civil order.  Knowing how to tell the difference between real gold and silver and cheap forgeries could mean the difference between getting top dollar for your goods/skills after a collapse and being taken for a ride.  I want to strongly encourage you to learn how to tell the difference between real and fake silver/gold and have the tools of the trade on hand to do basic testing.

In any case, if you want to get into the gold buying and recovery business, I recommended >THIS< course.

If you’re interested in buying small or large amounts of gold/silver bars, coins, diamonds, or other hard assets, I recommend Tom Cloud from Cloud Hard Assets.  To ask Tom questions or to order precious metals, please call him at 800-247-2812 or visit his site at Cloud Hard Assets. I am a customer of Tom’s and we have many common friends. Promotional consideration has been made for recommending him, so please let them know that David Morris referred you so that we know whether it makes sense to do interviews/articles like this in the future. If you do buy from Tom, please let me know how your experience goes with him. Make sure that you talk with a certified professional adviser before doing anything with your money. Precious metals can go up or down in value.

What are your thoughts on the hierarchy of survival needs?

How about your thoughts on precious metals?  The ratio between gold and silver?  And what about food storage?  Have you gone the long-term food storage route, buying more of what you currently use, or a combination of both?  Let me know by posting your comments below.

Until next week, God Bless!

David Morris.

About David Morris

David Morris is the creator of the Survive In Place Urban Survival Course, the Fastest Way To Prepare Course, Urban Survival Playing Cards, Tactical Firearms Training Secrets, and other books, courses, and articles on preparedness, survival, firearms, and other tactical topics. He lives with his wife, 2 boys, and 2 dogs.


  1. Re-framing the Hierarchy of Human Needs is a great idea. Simple. Common sense. I would hope that some of the fence sitters see it and wake up on the right side of things. As we all know, waiting for the disaster to happen to get ready is likely to be a disaster of its own.
    As my website indicates, my wife and I have found a wonderful freeze dried food source that we consume on a near daily basis. We have tried a wide range of other products and found this to be the best. Everything from small packages of four servings per package with gradually increasing sizes should you want them – all with the appropriate storage life desired, recipes, professional chef’s guidance. We learned how to open one of those # 10 cans and then what to do with it to get our money’s worth without having to waste it, or, do some odd culinary things….
    RE: The hierarchy….. we have put food/water on par with certain defense items. I can’t use my food/water if I have already been killed for it…. In addition, we have learned to practice preparing some of the cached foods. It is good for self-confidence, morale, and lessens the chances of nasty culinary surprises. We have had some experience with the,
    “delicious, nutritious,” pancake mix that was a lot like silly putty…..
    Have a peaceful day….. jerry

  2. Lt Scrounge says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment about buying the long shelf life foods. They are expensive and you may not even be able to eat them. Do I have some in case of a VERY long term emergency? Yes. But I prefer to stock up on the much less expensive pasta and canned goods that I would eat normally. I used to run the Surviving Scrounge blog for people who wanted to prep but didn’t have much money. Here’s how I tell people to buy groceries for maximum bang for your buck. I’ve spent a lot of time working in retail so I learned how to read ads. If you know what you’re looking for, you can buy groceries for BELOW WHOLESALE COST. There are a couple of reasons why grocery stores do this. Sometimes it’s a factory gave them an extra low price to get rid of excess inventory, sometimes they are simply trying to get a jump on the competition for a limited sales cycle (an example would be turkeys in October before the Thanksgiving rush) or they may be trying to clear out some items from their warehouses. It doesn’t really matter as long as you’re getting the best price right? Here’s what to look for in your weekly newspaper ads and how to take advantage of it. Weekly grocery ads come out on Wednesday. The stores do that to try and get more people in the store in the middle of the week when it’s slower than on the weekends. They have to pay for electricity and employees to be there so they want to try and make some money on those days. Makes sense right? The first rule to remember is that you only buy foods that you like to eat, or feel you can barter if need be. I may not like canned green beans, but they sell a lot of them so someone must so they make a good barter item if they are cheap enough. Here’s how to read and work the ads. Look through the ads for items that are being sold with limits, require minimum other purchases, or require other items be purchased to get a discount. These items are almost always being sold for below cost and are called Loss Leaders. The purpose of a loss leader is to get you to come into the store and buy stuff. The logic is that they may lose money on the loss leader but make it up on everything else you buy. When it is a non perishable item, buy $20 extra of those items and ONLY those items that are on loss leader. I’ve bought cases of Campbell’s Chunky soup, Hormel Chili and canned vegetables at ridiculously low prices by doing this. Now if I have 5 cases of soup and 5 cases of chili, do I have to buy it when it is full price later? Nope. So I don’t. The same goes for pasta. Which makes sense, buy it for 89 cents a package on sale or $1.49 a package not on sale? These sales circulars are cyclical. They repeat themselves about once every 6-8 weeks. If you buy $20 -30 extra of the non perishable items each week when they are on sale, you will eventually reach the point of NEVER having to buy them UNLESS they are on sale for below wholesale. Your food bills will be $20-30 higher for a while (that’s less than 10 servings of most dehydrated foods) but your purchases will be MUCH higher. Shopping this way I was able to save over 40% on my food purchases some weeks. Not that I spent 40% less, I spent the same amount, I simply got 50-60% more food. For long term storage of dried foods like pasta, sugar, flour or beans, I use large sized ammo cans. They are water tight, air tight, insect and rodent proof. Just be mindful of how much you put into them. A standard 20 mm ammo can holds about 50 lbs of spaghetti (still in the bags) so it can get rather heavy if you load them too full. I repaint the interiors of mine with gray Rustoleum primer to prevent any interior rust and the light color makes it easier to see the interior of the can. Of course you can still line the cans with mylar bags, but at least you know that the cans can’t be chewed through by the local fauna and the big ones come with TWO handles that make carrying them much easier.

  3. While I’m definitely not Republican or Democrat I’m still well aware that something major is coming. People are beginning to wake up and feel it in the air. Now, as for my emergency preparedness I’m concentrating on water, food, fire arms, ammo, and the like. I may be wrong but I figure if I want gold and silver bad enough I can simply wait for STHTF and then trade some of my “barter items” for that gold and silver everyone speaks of. First, however, I want my family to have plenty of food, water, shelter, and safety so I can feel free to concentrate on other things like finding people who coveted all that silver and gold. Bottom line here, you can’t eat gold and silver and you can’t drink it. You can, however, find people who decided gold and silver were more important than their family’s basic needs. In other words, I’m not interested in coming out the other end rich, I’m simply interested in my family surviving in style.

    A word of caution here for those storing water in gallon containers like milk jugs. I’ve heard, and obviously can’t prove this, that milk jugs are made to eventually decompose in the land fills. Also heard that milk jugs can develop weak spots over time and you may, therefore, end up with nothing more than a big mess when you need your water the most. Since I don’t have the space for large 5 gal or 50 gal water containers, I have moved to storing my water in recycled juice jugs/bottles. You can always have some of your less prepper friends, with kids, save their empty juice jugs for you. I’m absolutely meticulous about sterilizing the jugs three or four times before my water goes in them and I add a bit of bleach to the water as well. Just a thought!!! If I’m wrong here, kind corrections would be most welcomed.

    • Survival Diva says:

      We share the same mindset. . . food, water, prep goods first for those who don’t have the cash flow to do both! And yes, milk jugs are designed to break down due to landfill concerns. Many store their water and food in the same location. When those milk jugs begin to leak, they can potentially ruin food storage nearby. Two-liter pop containers are all right as long as the tops are screwed on tight.

    • LibraF,
      Negative on the juice jugs!
      I spend so much time teaching this stuff I have little time to read your excellent articles.
      But I must interject something here.
      If you’re going to store water, use plastic soda bottles, DO NOT use milk or juice jugs. The plastic in both allows enzymes to permeate the plastic and cannot be sterilized out! When pure water is stored in them, osmosis leaches those enzymes back into the water and sets it up for spoilage which can cause severe dysentery.
      Soda bottles must still be sterilized with chlorinated water but do not allow permeation.
      Also, while I’m here, storage of basic survival goods, especially long-term goods like wheat, beans, etc can always be used in barter as can bullets and extra weapons, handguns especially. Except for the weapons, small quantities can always be represented as “all I’ve got” to avoid identification as a source. Metals don’t give you that option, for the very reason you identify. One item I see little mention of is honey. It has a very long shelf life, doesn’t spoil, and is highly prized in a ” suppressive economy.”

  4. Rather then spending thousands on gold and silver (especially in this market).
    I would focus on well spent resources, including ammo. I believe that ammo becomes the precious commodity with food when things break down and mob rules.

    But I like 1 oz silver pieces, you can use that to buy/sell stuff…and small enough to be of monitary value.

    And almost never do they suggest PASSPORTS, the only people allowed to leave the United States will be those with passports…and I would get the drivers license one at the same time.If you have 1/2 million in gold and no passport it will be expensive to bribe your way out.

    • I couldn’t agree more Dan. I personally focus most of my attention on “the basics” food, water, and ammo. I however buy silver rounds especially right now with the price of silver bouncing around at $16 an ounce. Just the fact that it costs over $24 to produce tells me that it is a solid investment because when the market adjusts to where it should then there is a good profit to be made aside from having it for preparedness.

  5. Something I noted on the Gold vs. Silver debate is that pure silver (the purer the better) can, in an emergency situation, be used to make colloidal silver which is a good antibacterial, anti fungal and overall great health addition. It doesn’t take much to rig together a camping light battery, some wire from a broken lamp, a glass of pure water and a silver coin to make a whole bottle of colloidal silver. I’ve heard colloidal gold is possible and has benefits as well, but haven’t done any research and so I can’t speak to that…. but for that reason alone it might be better to start with silver – and cheaper too.

  6. Riverrat58 says:

    We’re trying to get prepared but we’ve also taken a different tack on precious metals. Our gold is in 1/10 oz. coins & that seems a much smarter way than 1 oz. coins. Easier to store or carry; easier to spend if necessary — we may not need $1,600 of something, but $160 worth might be perfect. Meanwhile, we’re stocking food, water, guns/ammunition, & shell loading equipment & materials. Trying to do things right, but also protect our finances in case of economic collapse. Can’t think of a better or safer investment right now than gold & silver — in small coins!!

    • Gold in small sizes is similar to silver but easier to carry.
      you might want a few coins in your wallet just to get home
      or purchase basics

  7. Dave, Great article about the pyramid and priorities. But, Without resourcefulness and common sense, as well as skills and mental abilities at the foundation, How can you achieve all of the other things mentioned in the pyramid?

  8. Daryl Salley says:

    Hi, David,
    Great article! And, yes. The pyramid is in proper sequence. Dr. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a good one to base this on. As for purchasing gold and silver in usuable denominations, and with a plan for monthly accumulation, you might check out Independent Living Bullion. You can buy one half oz. silver rounds, or one tenth oz. gold rounds for just over spot price from a very reputable dealer. It’s a great way to get started in precious metals on a monthly basis, just like a payroll deduction savings plan without a big cash outllay up front. Since you are buying at current market spot prices, you are essentially Dollar Cost Averaging, a great way to invest

  9. Jeff Harper says:


    If you haven’t written an article about Caches, it is time for one. If you have, I missed it. When was it written?

    God bless

  10. You endorse this gold site? I have seen many scams using these same templates ranging from a very wide variety of products. Your positivity toward this specific one fascinates me. Would you care to indulge on your assessment of this product?

  11. David, with this article I just lost a lot of respect for you and your advise. To quote your own article “You can’t eat it. You can’t start a fire with it. You can’t drink it. You can only use it to trade for other goods, and to do that you have to find someone with excess food.” That means that me an my wife will have the food and water we need to keep us alive (survive) and precious metals don’t enter into the equation at all. For the price of just one ounce of gold we can currently buy MONTHS worth of food to keep us alive.

    In fact looking at your pyramid closer, I would say that your pyramid is exactly upside-down.

    How long can you live without air? and yet you have that on the lowest level of your pyramid.

    How long can you live without water? And yet that is on the second lowest level.

    At the top of your pyramid is Precious Metals. How long can you survive without gold and silver? Indefinitely! Precious metals are what you need the LEAST to SURVIVE!

    As far as I’m concerned, this article is nothing more than a badly disguised advertisement for some precious metals broker, and is entirely worthless to someone looking for advise on survival.

    • davidmobile says:


      Time for a chill pill and a re-read of the article 🙂

      The lower levels of the pyramid are foundational. In order to have a stable structure, you need to have a strong foundation in place.

      Just like you said, you need air more than food/water more than precious metals. That’s why air is on the base and precious metals are on top.

    • farranger says:

      The hierarchy of needs is the most basic needs at the bottom and more optional things at the top.

  12. Gold is great for wealth “insurance”, but $70 for a 2 peso piece? Can you buy groceries with it? My local coin guy won’t buy junk silver at spotish prices. He is only buying silver dollars-morgans and eagles, and silver dimes He is not even keeping quarters in stock.He says that junk silver is only face value right now and will not sell

    • davidmobile says:

      Your coin dealer is feeding you a line of bravo sierra.

      Step 1. Tell him to stop insulting your intelligence and, if he’s telling you the truth, to sell you all of his junk silver at face.

      Step 2. Find another coin dealer.

  13. Great Grey says:

    The one thing I see ignored most of time is making sure to have enough money (gold/sliver etc.) to keep the property taxes paid. The best place in the world is useless if you aren’t able to use it.

    • Suky Tawdry says:

      So glad you brought this up – it’s exactly how so many lost their land during ‘the depression’. Also remember to have copies of all important documents in a secure location, as at some point, we will have to be able to prove who we are, whether for taxes/land ownership, etc.

  14. Gerald Graff says:

    My family and I have been talking about and planning for prepping for a while now. Our financial position has just started to improve this last month. This month we actually spent 1000 on food for the house just yesterday with an emphasis on starting a stockpile. We focused on items that can be eaten straight out of the can or cooked. Things high in calories and protien. Cases of tuna, chili, soups, canned meats, also ramen noodles for carbs wich in a pinch can be eaten raw. We then bought several cases of fruits and vegetables. We then focused on things such as pasta sauces, dried potatoe products, pastas, and other everyday packaged produts used daily.
    The first focus was on foods that would take little or no water to prepare. Right now we dont have a large water reseve to waste on food prep. Next the items were chosen foritems we will rotate through easily. High calorie items i personally feel will be needed due to the fact that activity will increase obviously after a disaster or event. Possible clean up, repair jobs, reinforcing or building more defenses, etc. The list of high energy work will compound the need for some added frat and much more than 2000 calories a day. I personally am a 200 lb man. Itse a given i cani loose a few pounds but after that i still need to remain healthy for my family and myself.
    I have seen so many articles based on just the bare minimums. I personally am in a yposition to stay in place. Im a lucky one. But I still feel to much is based on solely just surviving and not staying fully healthy for the rigors that will be faced in upcoming event. I spent 18 months in Iraq and I was eating around 4000 clories a day and still went from 215 to 180. So in closing we will ne adding survival rations and freeze

  15. Caribou says:

    Barter is already here. Actually barter never went away. WTT or WTS is in every internet listing or nickel sheet out there. We use currency because it is convenient. I may have an extra sleeping bag that someone may want but that person may not have what I want so we swap currency to simplify the process. That is where the gold and silver will come in. It is true that I will not trade my last bag of rice for all your gold but I will trade those repair parts that you want to install in your heating system for silver or gold. The starving will not trade their food for gold but the guy with a few acres planted will. He will take your precious metal because he knows that gold and silver have always had value, he knows that he can trade these coins next winter to provide for the needs of his family. A rain, an early frost, disease, or a number of other disasters may befall his crop next year so he will take your silver for that day. No, I will not sell my food, when I am short, for silver but anything I have extra is fair game.

  16. Thanks for all the great info! I have an Army background. I’m no Green Beret but I did Command a Basic Training unit and worked as a Senior Trainer in Iraq for the NEW Iraqi Army. When my wife and I started our “prep” efforts we made some basic assumptions to define and prepare for the “worst scenario”. These included: 1.) There will be no cavalry coming to the rescue. Preparation should be for at least one year… three years is better. 2.) There will be no fuel of any sort so vehicles and generators will be useless after a short period of time. 3.) When the entitlements dry up, cities will be untenable and suburbs dangerous. The best defense is to be miles from the nearest paved road. (“Out of sight, out of mind”) 4.) Currency will become worthless. Barter will be the norm. … As a result, we defined required capabilities: 1.) Be able to move if required; have pre-selected alternate sites to move to. 2.) Everyone should have a rifle, a shotgun, a sidearm, and 5,000 rounds for each (ready or from reload) 3.) A working knowledge of small unit tactics, First Aid, field hygiene, physical security, decontamination, and marksmanship 4.) A library covering both military and civilian skills such as defense, farming, constructing a still, making beer, perimeter security, medical procedures when NO MEDICAL assistance is available, metal working, carpentry, water purification, etc. 5.) PORTABLE solar power sources 6.) Have logistics resources in place that cover all ten military “Classes of Supply” 7.) Have a Faraday Cage (easy to make) to protect small electronics such as computers, radios, remote cameras, etc.

    Silver or gold? We prefer silver. If you have successfully moved to a rural area, you will probably be near agriculture assets. An ounce of silver may get you dinner from Farmer Bill. But so might other barter items like booze, beer, chocolate, or sugar. Remember the Golden Rule: If you can’t grow or make it yourself, there will come a time when you won’t have it. Learn to adjust, substitute, and do without.

    Weapons? We like the bigger ones. When one guy has a 22 that might reach 1500 meters and the other guy has a 308 that can reach 900 meters or more, I want the 308. (Ask anyone who has served in Afghanistan where they are re-issuing M14’s because M-16’s don’t have the range required.) You can bet that the hungry mob won’t be hefting 22’s. I recommend an M1A, but a Saiga 308 is good for those on a budget. If the bad guys are close enough to use a handgun on them, you’ve already got serious problems.

  17. For the last 4 months I’ve been stocking up on water, food guns ammo, and have ways to go. I never really had any extra money after payday, but then I sold my car, saves me $500 month, now ride a bike, and got a part time job. I’m retired, but there are ways to cut expenses and stock up. Just takes time. After I get all my supplies, I hope to get out of the big city, and get a few acres of land to plant some survival seeds. Then, if I have any money to save, I’ll buy gold,silver, but if something happens, I can barter for gold, silver. As long as I can protect it from the zombies looking to steal it.

  18. We buy insurance for the home, auto, & etc.. We value of lives more that so insure your chances of survival. Think about the suffering of your loved ones if YOU fail to prepare.

  19. Think about what people buying gold at $1,400/oz will trade for 1 month after TSHTF. Think bags of rice and a way to cook it, ammo, water purification,…. $100 of these which will NOT be available then will fetch $1,400 of gold then. Good discount! PLUS, YOU are well stocked too.

  20. Christina says:

    Great artiicle! I would like to suggest that on the first list of the most important things, is beleiving in God and Jesus. Then they will get you through everything!

  21. Steven B says:

    I buy gold in 1/10th oz size, and of course 1/10th the cost of a full1 oz coin. They are small, about the size of a dime and will be much easier to spend and make change if needed. If you only have a few hundred dollars you can purchase just a couple at a time. I Also buy junk silver, pre 1965 US coins as they are easily recognizable.
    Of course food, water storage, medical supplies, guns, ammo and prepardness training should come first.
    Great info on this site and from all of the posters! I have learned a great deal from the courses offered. Keep up the good work!

  22. iamdlogan says:

    BOBBLEHEADS: Lets try real hard and THINK…if you have a group of non like minded folks who are intent on taking everything you have worked for and you are NOT in a SECURE place with other LIKE MINDED, WELL PREPARED FOLKS, all the flowery words about MASLOW and his theories go right out the window. Fact: if you have been given the insight to prepare, then your mind is in the right place. FACT: if your mind is in the right place you have prepareded EVERY NEEDFUL THING BY NOW. FACT: THE LORD WILL WATCH OVER THOSE WHO ARE GIVIN THE INSIGHT TO GET READY, whatever that intells. FACT: WHen being chased down a dusty road by 30 folks who havent had a meal in 5 days,
    all the gold, silver, water purification systems, all the 25 year storable food, and all of the wishful thinking in the world will not help you. FINAL FACT: IF you are not SAFE… PERIOD, you can neither work, play, love, eat, grow, clean, read, and even breathing becomes very labored. IN Iraq being in a safe environment was without a doubt, the most important of all of these. Get your heads on right folks, being SAFE is the most important of all of these considerations, FORGET MASLOW AND HIS THEORIES they are only THEORIES, NOT FACTS.

    • Judy D. says:

      Is there really any where “safe” in the type of disasters we are talking about? What are you doing to be safe? I live in a condo in suburbia and can’t afford to relocate to the country, and even if I could, like someone else said, people will come out of the cities and try to get help. We can’t have enough extra for all of them. I think prayer is the answer. God has a way of coming up with solutions we could never come up with ourselves. Like feeding thousands with 5 loaves and 2 fish. Or the flour and oil never running out until the famine was over. Do not lean on our own understanding, but in all our ways acknowledge Him and He will direct our paths. I am doing what I can, and getting ideas from all of you, but looking to Him for the final decisions and trusting Him to help me face whatever comes. With Him on our side no weapon against us will prosper.

      • davidmobile says:

        At the same time, don’t use God, faith, or pop-Christianity as a cop-out for not being responsible.

        It’s like the guy at his house as flood waters are rising.

        A cop comes by, telling everyone to evacuate, but the guy says he doesn’t need to because God will provide.

        Soon, the water is a course of feet up the side of the house and a fireman in a John boat comes by. He tells the guy to get in, but the guy refuses because God will provide.

        A couple of hours later, the guy is on his roof, with water up past the gutters. A helicopter with a rescue winch hovers overhead and a search and rescue tech drops down to evacuate the guy. The guy refuses, saying that God will provide.

        A few hours later, the water keeps rising, overtakes the guy, and he soon drowns.

        As he stands before God, he says, “God, why did you abandon me? I showed great faith and you just let me drown.”

        God simply replied, “I sent a cop with a bullhorn, a fireman in a boat and a rescue helicopter…what else did you expect?”

        Point being that God may be providing for future disasters today by giving you time to prepare.

        • Mark Torrence says:

          I just had to reply here! So many miss the fact that God gave us a brain so we could help ourselves. Depend on God they say (which I do for sure) but the completely forget that God can help us in so many ways. We just have to realize whats happening! Thanks for pointing this out!

          • Mark Torrence says:

            And by the way as for gold and silver. It’s all about balance. A little of this and a little of that on both sides. Balance.

  23. Max Penn says:

    Hi, I wonder, what do you do with gold if society collapses? Will you hack off a chunk for a coke or sandwich? I have a better idea, buy and store buzz, I bet you will get more of what ever you are looking for on bad day with a bottle of Jim Beam then a bar of gold you can’t eat. PLUS it’s a good antiseptic, it burns, and you could use it for special type of cocktail if need be. I keeps for a long time and will aways have value. If nothing else you can always drink it.

  24. hombrepi says:

    I am slowly gearing up for the upcoming caos . I live in Monterrey Mexico 2 hours from the Texas border . I feel that dominos are falling and its only a matter of time before the worst comes . Here we are already living with kidnappings , shootings , strong arming and sadly killings daily . The media as usual dont report not even a tenth of what is really happening . I am very concerned for my self and for my family and close friends . I will be purchasing the Urban survival book . The job situation here is bad and monies have to be designated at this time for food and shelter but I will purchase the guide .

  25. John Yegge says:


    I gobble up all of your shared wisdom. I find that being in step with your planning approach is a great benefit to me, my family and fellow preppers. The only thing that I would add to your pyramid is “Commitment”. I put it in your first level. Too often I see people (friends and family) get a good start and then lose interest. Those of us who are truly committed understand that this is a process and not a single activity. My struggle is that I constantly find myself frustrated knowing that no matter how far along I am there is still, always, more to do.
    Thanks for all of your wisdom and willingness to share.
    Keep up the good work.

  26. Practice fasting (going without food) for 24 hours. Multiply that times a fews days and you will sell your soul for food. Add to that your hungry family members…Precious Metals vs Food..humm

  27. Voyagerheim says:

    I have been studying your hierarchy of survival needs pyramid. I like the psychological preparedness at the base of the pyramid in particular. It really does help clarify priorities. However, I didn’t see anywhere that you have put in knowledge of survival tactics. Not just security (up one level) but the knowledge contained in the minds of survivalists (some of whom write great blogs, and books). If we have been suburban dwellers and we are cast onto the rough seas of powerless survival, we need to know what to do, to avoid freaking out and becoming uncivil.

  28. Rockefeller says:

    I would focus more on folks stashing some Silver over Gold…much lower price and value to both purchase and to “purchase” with, easier to break down in smaller increments than Gold.
    Aside from that, the other benefits of Silver were not even touched on, such as Ag being the strongest natural antibacterial on the planet, having the ability to be used cleaning wounds, helping to purify water, etc etc etc…not to mention making colloidal Silver…

    So many prep folks forget about this aspect, and focus on the Gold…a mistake…

    Besides, metal should be prepped for the long term, def after decent food prep is underway, and to keep as wealth for after a scenario, especially a financial/currency collapse…

    • Rockefeller. You are so right. I wouldn’t be w/o my colloidal silver generator. People are in awe when they hear what wounds I have been able to properly heal on my family including horses and dogs. I Believe a colloidal silver generator should be a part of any preppers kit.

  29. Montego Man says:

    For some long-term preps – Warren Buffet refuses to invest in silver and gold since they are a commodity that never changes in size; there is no growth to them except what is assigned to them. As part of an overall investment portfolio, a balance fund in all metals is encouraged. However, during a EVENT scenario, precious metal may get you nothing since food and potable water would be of ultimate importance and value (example – the movie, “Book of Eli”).
    Remember I-Bonds? You used to get these paper bonds from the Treasury. Now they are electronic. If you have the paper I-Bonds, they will be worth more than any electronic account you have which means all electronic accounts. You can take these bonds to any bank (when and if they are open) and they will give you face value for the bond and assign you interest after they confirm with Treasury how much interest is on each bond. It’s too late to get them now, but hold onto what you have for safety reasons. When everything crashes, at least the banks are obligated to honor these bonds.

  30. There’s a great show on Discovery channel called Dual Survival. It basically strangs these 2 guys in various life-threatening survival situations, and they show you how they make the best of the situation. They demonstrate how to prioritize basic needs very quickly and how to use the natural environment to meet those needs. Very entertaining and informative at the same time.

  31. When the ballon goes up, people , for the most part will not be friendly. After there is some sorting out, people may become more rational after a few days or weeks.. Do you think a panicky person will slow down and barter if he has to?? Bartering ammunition is not a good idea – who will it be used on? Scenario:: i person has a gun and is very hungry / another person has food and is willing to trade. RESULT: i person has both the gun and the food. Survival ain’t pretty, so make friends now and make sure they are preparing also. In a disaster the people you can’t refuse are [in order] your spouse, your kids and grandkids, famly, and close friends – See how wide the circle quickly becomes?

    • At the close friends stage the numbers will go up exponentially because they will want to save their spouse,family and so on…

  32. Martin Fano says:

    So now what..start stocking up on gold and silver!..along with your guns, knives, solar panels, hundreds of pounds of food, thousands of gallons of water, pepper spray, tasers…. You people are all of your “rockers”. You all forgot to plan for that asteroid that is on its way!!

    • David Morris says:

      and yet, you keep reading and commenting…

    • dave tucker says:

      Preparing for the asteroid that comes what, every 500 million years or so, that would be pretty whacky, wouldn’t it?
      Preparing for the worldwide calamity that comes what, every 50 to 100 years or so, that’s kinda dumb, huh?
      Preparing for the natural disaster (hurricane, earthquake, major blizzard) that comes every 5 or 10 years, maybe just a little foolish?
      Watching numbnuts like you standing on a rooftop, demanding (in vain) that the govt comes to save you – now that would be hilarious!

    • Seanoamericano says:

      You will be one of those with your hand out expecting others to help you,with nothing to bring to the table

    • Judy D. says:

      If we are wrong about a disaster, we just have extra food and supplies on hand. If we are right, you my friend, will be a real hard spot,

  33. Tim Pittman says:

    Good sharing points. I started with quick take emergency food for the suv for my family for several days consisting of good tasting 4500cal bars and some meals rejected by everyone. There is also a first aid kit that stays in the suv also. I then bought enough 6 gal buckets of legunes, oat groats, rice, two kinds of wheat, and enough Mountain House freeze dried meat, breakfast cereal, and meals for a year for my family. At the same time we purchased camping, hunting, food prep including canning and many hand opperated kitchen tools like a hand grinder for nuts and wheat, an expensive water purification system like NATO uses along with a cheaper one, a mountain alp first aid kit with surgical and dental tools along with added things like femenine pads and tampons for trauma, outfitted trailer, a couple of monster boxes of silver eagles and enough guns and ammo to make it for a long time hunting the land. Also two generators. My family has watched Ron Hood’s survival videos numerous times and continue to learn form them. He is going to be sorely missed as he passed on June 22 of this year.

  34. Carol Roberts says:

    Reading this site, has shown me that I’m a looong way from being prepared with the essentials. I have some first aid supplies, some food, some water (just not enough) a couple of tents, a source that’ll hook up to my laptop onto the truck so it’ll work, hopefully. I’ve hard of EMT or EMP’s that’ll knock out our vehicles and communications, also solar flares. I unplug my battery on my truck and leave it that way until I have to get out and then reconnect. I don’t have the funds to purchase another truck battery if this one goes bad. I’ve been doing all sorts of research for the coming days and the dollar crash, but when you live on an income based on 1985 when I became totally disabled, it is most difficult when you attempt surviving on 66 percent of ones income.
    My daughters, think I’m a nut to prepare as I am, so they’ve been no help whatsoever. I’ve been saddled with getting all these items by myself for 3 grandchildren, my 2 daughters and myself.
    Since there is probably little time left to prepare, will we simply perish ? Where may I turn for any help when what little I have been able to compile in the past 6 months, depletes ?
    Thank you for your site.

    • OLE COAL MINER says:

      You need to purchase a “float charger” from some place like Harbor Freight. Cost about $5.00. Your battery will never die on you if you keep it plugged up while not using.
      EMP & solar flares will fry your electronics unless you shield them with a Faraday cage.
      What ever you do; buy the heirloom open pollinated seeds. As many as you can afford. You sound like you will have to stick to the rice, beans, powdered milk etc. for your foodstuffs.

    • Patriot says:

      Get to know your local church members and any veterans. There will still be heroes even in a collapse. I will stand with my Bible and Constitution and rebuild what the progressives have destroyed.

  35. Jack Hartwell says:

    I think it is wise to have as many barter items as one can afford. Everyone seems to have a different idea of what would be valuable should the SHTF. I have personally purchased some 1 oz silver coins and plan on getting some junk silver. Recently I ran across a product that looks like it would serve as a great barter item. They are fractional sized gold bullions heat seatled in a plastic card and stamped with a Swiss certified kinebar hologram. They are in small denominations of .5, 1, 2.5 & 5 grams sizes so the price puts them in the virtual category with some silver products. Wonderful idea. Wish I had thought of it.

  36. Paulinator says:

    Just getting into this. (Great sight). I`ve been wondering about gold or silver and was actually leaning toward lesser metals like aluminum ingots and brass/copper. The comment about stocking lead, sheet metal, etc. is well noted, too. I am a capable designer/fabricator/mechanic, so in a dark future my best barter and trade commodity would probably be linked to those skills which I can offer. Skills are very portable, too.

  37. Great article Dave. We’ve learned alot from you. We feel we are doing well with food storage, most of it is long term storage foods and have close to two years and still adding on. With 2 diabetics in the house (me with type 2, my 10 year old with type 1), we are big on beans of all kinds. Beans are one of the best foods for diabetics, and our diabetes is well controlled. Our biggest concern is being able to keep a supply of insulin on hand as insulin for us is real gold.
    We have a little to add to your gold/silver comments. Where we live, growing a garden is difficult. Also, we must rely on local farmers for our horse feed. We keep a supply of pre 1936 silver dollars on hand for this reason. When the farmers will no longer take the fiat money, they will most likely gladly take the silver dollars. We also have a supply of junk silver in the smaller denominations for smaller purchases. As far as collectable conis, I have been a coin collector since I was a child. I own many valuable coins and I believe even when the economy goes south, they will hold their value with only one problem. Even with good value, in a broken economy, there will most likely be less collectors out there willing to purchase them. That will never be the problem with gold and silver bullion coins. I’m no expert, just how I feel.

    • Martin, you make alot of sense. I also have type 2 diabetes and my 11 year old daughter is Type 1. I have been concerned about her insulin supply, and by buying every 3 weeks (allowed by most insurance companies), we have a three month supply on hand and growing. Most insulin is good for a year, so I will sell one of my gold coins and make sure I always have a years supply of both of her insulins. I just have to be real careful not to allow it to freeze. Rotation is second nature to us now and I number the insulin sequentially and my daughter always knows to take the lowest numbers out of the fridge.

      I am also a very long time coin collector, and agree the real valuable ones will be difficult to sell WTSHTF, even the certified ones. Gold and silver will be much better. Thanks for the great idea. Marty

    • Caribou says:

      A small propane fridge for your medications might be a good addition to your preps. Any drug requiring refrigeration will be more problematic but some preparation can minimize those problems.

      My insurance will pay for three months supply of medications every two months so I have been able to slowly build my stockpile. Some I am further ahead on than others but I am slowly working to build towards two years supply. Also an increase or decrease of your prescription is a new prescription so your insurance should pay for another refill. For example I refilled a prescription (three months worth) a week before my Dr. appointment. He changed my dosage from three to four pills a day, I immediately filled the new prescription. Two months later I refilled my new prescription. Different insurance companies may have different rules but none of them require that you wait the full ninety days to refill.

      You might also be able to talk your doctor into a slight increase in your prescription that would allow you to slowly increase your stock. Just increasing your prescription for test strips, needles, and such by one or two a day will put an extra 100 or 200 in the cabinet every quarter.

  38. Diane Vander Heyden says:

    With the food, and precious metals, everyone assumes that they have a roof over their head. If the economy crashes and you rent or don’t own your home outright, what will you do? You can’t depend on the government. Has anyone thought of buying a camper or RV? Though small, it is better than the alternative of being on the street.

    • We have. There are a LOT of downsides to RVs due to the lack of protection…We look at ours as a glorified tent rather than as an alternative to a house.

      A better alternative for shelter for many is to combine multiple families in a single house.

      • Firefly says:

        It is somewhat expensive but there are various transparent plastic sheets that can be used to cover windows and I suppose the sides of RV’s that will make them bullet resistant and even bullet proof. No big city is going to be a good place to live. As someone has suggested, PRAY about all the decisions you have to make. The good book says that God is no respecter of persons, so anyone with a good and loving heart will be listened to, but you, in turn, have to listen. “Seek and ye shall find.”. Much good advice here but don’t panic. However, don’t put off purchasing things you will need. I have been using the same potato peeler for twenty years but I purchased three more for less than $2 three years ago. Now they are twice that. Buy on sale. Beware yearly food supplies for X dollars. A lot of crappy foods go into these and many foods are composed of SAD diet items (Standard American Diet). Try to buy organic or at least foods that are grown naturally. I don’t think it is going to be the end of the world but it is interesting that many of the things, more than two dozen, mentioned in the Bible two to three thousand years ago have all have come about for the first time, in the past 70 years. You can’t go wrong praying about everything. If Romney gets elected things are not going to be good, but if the present administration gets back in they will be much worse. If we were any nation but the USA we would have already collapsed. Don’t be fearful but prepare a little every day, learn to buy in season, do your own canning with reusable lids (from Tattler), expand your garden or start one, if you have no talent at all in this area, you can plant nut trees for protein (Carpathian Walnuts and Northern Pecans in the north and others further south). Something is better than nothing. Pray for guidance and direction. FEAR NOT!

      • Caribou says:

        David, I agree with you that a house is nicer than an RV. However, I would rather see my in-laws show up with an RV loaded with supplies than in their car with a tent in the trunk. As far as protection goes the typical house is only safer because it is larger. Much as our pilots were protected by the “Big Sky Theory” over Baghdad the bigger the area the bad guys are blindly shooting into the safer you are.

        Unless you hit a stud or some other significant member even most pistol rounds will pass right through the typical house. In many areas of the world houses are built out of concrete, adobe, or another material that is more resistant to bullets than a wood frame house. A lot can be done to fortify a home but most of it costs a bit to do. I would suggest that an RV is a good bug out vehicle and a viable for a short to medium term housing answer. I have slept in tents, I have slept in RV’s, and yes I have slept in houses. I have been comfortable in RV’s and houses.

        My parents own a marina. Every year people would come and rent a space for their boat and a trailer or motorhome. They would live there for six months in relative comfort. I wouldn’t want to be in a shootout in their home or a motorhome but with a motorhome you might have the option of getting out of Dodge.

      • Dr. Prepper says:

        I guess we shall have to agree to disagree on the RV agenda. I am in the early stages of writing a book tentatively titled ” THE RV PREPPER”. I think your pyramid will prove me out top to bottom. I am looking at an RV totally different than you and others.
        I really think it has an abundance of positives and very few negatives. Please tell me which ideas have no negatives….there aren’t any.
        I would be honored if you were to get the first copy and tell me what you think? It is still a ways off….probably six mos. or more. I appreciate everything you have done for me and a host of other startup preppers….got my brain to thinking. If anyone else is interested just let me know and I’ll keep you abreast of my progress.
        Oh, and by the way thanks for mentioning the TFT program. I just received the complete set and cannot wait to get started…mention this again…everybody need to know about this…it’s important!
        Well, bye for now…..

  39. Food, guns & ammo and a closed mouth and faith in GOD will be the most important things you can have. Let us look at what is happening in Japan. The Japanese government and people are not into the give me something for nothing. They don’t have the “GIVE ME”programs that the United States has. There has been little or no looting in Japan. That will not be the same in this country. Some people in this country loot at any chance they get. They come from generations of people that have not and will not work for anything. They just have their hands out and lay around making babies for the next generation of the same. Keep in mind that they will have guns and ammo also and they will not be afraid to use them. They will come out of the large cities like rats in the garbage, so you had better be willing to shoot a few rats (NO MATTER HOW MANNY LEGS THEY HAVE) if you want to survive. That is where your stored up gold will come in handy for you non-believers in guns will come in handy.

  40. Besides precious metals; nails, screws, nuts & bolts & washers, plain old sheet metal to fab brackets & braces, salt, sugar, coffee, liquor, tobacco, hand tools, sharpening stones, strike anywhere matches, candle wick, wax & paraffin, canning jars & lids, basically anything usable to make stuff or perform work, WD-40, all can be used &/or traded. Treadle sewing machines will be worth a lot.

    David, thanks again!

  41. Nasty Ned says:

    We have what I call a balanced food supply. By that I mean we have canned goods etc. but we We still have a long way to go to be called “prepaired”. Havent

  42. An idea that many people overlook is less precious metals copper, brass, aluminum. People always overlook them and through history they are essential part of a society. You can trade a pound of brass for just one pound of rice exc… not an ounce for 1000lb just a though love the sight

    • Elizabeth says:

      what about copper? I remember when there were reports of peoples air condinioners being vandalized for the copper inside and it is apparently starting up again. I tend to hit up the rock shops for smaller amounts of things like copper. if things completely break down raw metals can still be bartered to though not as easily and generally to people that know what to do with it, but there will be a use for it and smelting will still be going on.

  43. john henry says:

    Well the first thing I need to tell everyone is I started working on my plan in 2008. It started with making a small garden and learning how to can food. I have also stored foods 20 boxes cereal, 6 boxes oat meal,four, sugar everything I need for several months. I purchased enough seeds for two years. I havr had a harman wood stove in my cellar for twenty years. Last year I purchased a gas stove and bought a tank with two years of propane. I have a lot of guns and ammo. several thousand rounds and a reloader that I have owned since my 16th birthday. I have two wells and a spring for water. I hunt and fish and have a freezer full of food. I picked berries for the last two summers. I picked wild grapes and made wine and jelly. I am now buying solar panels for the house. I installed solar spotlights, a motion dection solar light and a dusk to dawn solar pole light. I purchased a 32 foot travel trailer and I have e truck If I need to move when the city people push out. I really donot want to do that since I have everything I need. I am even thinking about making a safe room. Part of my house has a seperate foundation with no acess. It is about 5ft wide and 14 ft long. The last thing I will do is put in a trap door to hide my family and stuff. I hope I do not seem to be crazy just prepared. I would like to buy gold or silver but I was told as a child a piece of bread will buy a bag of gold. Take care be prepared like a good scout and god bless

  44. Gordon in Texas says:


    As usual, great article. I did manage to purchase some gold and silver last year and would like to get a little more silver but the rising prices of silver is keeping me from doing so. I’m buying precious metals, not as an investment, but as insurance. Energy futures is a better investment than either gold or silver but if TSHTF, gold and silver will be the way to go.

    You mention that gold will only be used for very large purchases and silver–especially “junk” silver–makes more sense when bartering for survival items. I totally agree and that’s why I stopped buying gold and am focusing on silver. Yes, silve will take up more room in your pocket but, unless you’re considering a nomadic lifestyle, it’s more useful when buying food and other essential items. I have some junk silver but I want to build up my supply of Silver American Eagles (currently $38.72 per coin). But who can afford silver at these prices? I’ll wait.

    I believe some items (ammo, food, services rendered) will be more valuable than silver if TSHTF and I’m focusing on these items. Skills, as you mentioned earlier in the article, will be a very sort-after item during and after a catastrophic event. Many people haven’t a clue how to build and fix things so those with plumbing, electrical, carpentry, and other skills (especially medical and dental) will never have to worry about surviving. I consider my skills as one of my assets. But skills are useless unless you tools.

    Just as important as food, water, monetary/barter items, and skills is having the right tools to survive. Whether it be parachute cord, hand tools, cooking utensils, or specialized items, we all need to make and update a list of all items that are essential to survive day-to-day activities. These include everything from gardening tools to NBC warfare survival items to tactical items.

    I have several lists and one of the lists prioritizes my total survival list: short-term (1-2 months), mid-term (2-12 months), and long-term (1-10 years and beyond). Each category contains items that will help me survive for that period of time and the list is separated into sub-categories, such as water, food & food preparation, hygiene, first aid, power, etc. You get the idea. I like to be organized and making lists on Excel spreadsheets helps me organize my thoughts. The trick is keeping all the lists current so I know what I have and what I need to buy or do.

    Again, thanks for the good work David.

    • Patriot says:

      I love list I keep aquiring them and adding them to one big list . I WANT YOUR LIST.. lol a spread sheet brilliant.

  45. Scott Stone says:

    David: Amen to all you said. I long ago began the task of getting the skills needed to use food storage items. Like making sausage out of wheat gluten, making chese out of powdered milk, etc. I teach a preparedness class to those of interest, the title is “Get Tools, Get Skills” I use gold in some fashion to like you said “store excess” it is small and only protects your purchasing power. M personal slogan is ” Security is not what you have, security is knowing what you can do without” you are free to use it just give me credit. I got turned on to your site by one of my attendees to my class on wheat gluten. I will visit often now.

    thanks for your hard work


  46. Such a wide spectrum of scenarios to prepare for each with its’ own psrticularities. What do you suppose is the most likely type of crisis we will face?

    • Richard Pawley says:

      I’ve studied this for 25 years. I expect prices of things we actually consume to perhaps quadruple during the next four years. Many believe it will happen sooner. This is still the United States of America so I don’t expect hyperinflation although if prices go up 50% in a month some consider that hyperinflation. It could be just an accelerating inflation of a few percent a month but when the price of food starts going up 10 or 20% a month, lookout for the riots, and the crazies. If you waited till then to begin stockpiling an emergency food supply it’s to late. IF YOU GO OUT IN A LAST MINUTE RUSH TO GET WHAT YOU CAN EASILY GET NOW YOU COULD DIE. Something is better than nothing. Start now, an extra bag of sugar, spaghetti sauce (in glass jars only – my wife and I polished off a jar recently that was 7 years past it’s expiration date but no meat or cheese in as they won’t last) coffee in cans if you can find it will last a long time if stored in a cool dry place, tea, honey, You can keep things in the freezer but you should have a five gallon bucket of water in there too (frozen) so it will become an ice box if there is no power. You have to cook the meats but you’ll eat well for a few days. I have relatives who lived within a hour of Washington, DC, and they lost a freezer full of food when there was no power for 3-4 days. Beside Emergency Essentials there are a few other good places like Karst Sports (when they have sales on food items). The national debt has become so much it can only be paid with inflation. The numbers prove this. No tax of any amount can solve the problem. We are simply squandering to much. Chapter Four of my last book was “Gasoline or Milk, Ten Dollars per Gallon”. Pray for guidance and direction. What might be good for some might not be for someone else. No rush, but start today, and try to think of all the things you might need if the stores are empty for a month.

  47. augustarichard says:

    Where can you get five gallon buckets of oatmeal that cheaply?

    • mtgalinct says:

      I don’t know about the price, but you can find 6 gallon buckets of may grains and a few other things at I’m sure there are other sites out there as well. I have ordered from Emergency Essentials and have no complaints about the service. Unfortunately, we ordered a lot of wheat a few years ago and then I found out I have Celiac disease! So, quite a bit of it was donated, thru my church, to Haitian earthquake relief.

      We had also ordered supplies for parents and heard good things about the dehydrated/freeze dried fruits and veggies. We didn’t buy any of those because I was storing and rotating grocery store items. Unfortunately, I don’t think they have replaced what they have used, but maybe they haven’t used a lot either. They think we are nuts . . .

      We plan to relocate within the next year or so, so I am buying dehydrated/freeze dried now – items that I can eat. While it seems like a waste of $$ paying the freight, we are having supplies shipped here and then we will ship it ourselves when we relocate, or gradually as we are relocating “gradually.” Also, if TSHTF before we relocate, we will have food storage here. I will also be doing some home canning.

      While we haven’t stored any gold or silver yet, my brother told me that many Jews survived during WWII with small denomination gold and silver coins. So, when we get to that point, I think that is what we will do as well – junk silver or small denomination coins.

      Enjoy the newsletter and comments too. Lots of great ideas, thoughts and insights.

      • Regarding grains;
        many can be sprouted, greatly improving versatility and food value. Also, they can become “distillers’ dried grain solids” after using them to make alcohol for fuel or medicinal use. As such, they are more efficient than raw grain as animal feed.

  48. Gold and silver….
    If TSHTF, then brass and lead will be infinitely more valuable than any other denomination.

    Civilizations such as the Greeks, Romans, the Spanish and the Ottoman Empires all had weath beyond their needs, but they all relied on others to provide them with their food and water.

    So keep your gold and silver, I’ll stick with other less perceived metals.

  49. I have enjoyed your site and training, however there is are two questions that seems to keep coming up amoung my group. We are all doctors of various specialites. There is eight in total. Half us were in the Military prior to private practice. I personally was a flight surgeon on one of the air craft carriers. Three of us live on a Lake next to each other. Allowing us to create a compound. We will us our services as doctors to trade or barter.

    Here are the questions: First as doctors, we are concerned that many of us are already know in the community we live in and are afraid we will be sought out for care should the need arise. In fact we feel that should we refuse to provide care we will be forced to do so. How do we defend against this? Again realizing that we did take an oath, but to be forced to do something against my will is a different story. Moreover our occuaptions make us bigger targets.

    The second questions is: during civil unrest, and martial law is put in place, first how do we discern between true officials and those that have acquired offical looking clothing and are out to loot and hurt others? Particularily when they start to go house to house confiscating guns.

    Please let me know your thoughts

    Concerned MD

    • Indy,
      If they’re going around confiscating guns they’re not real, or are seeking early retirement…

    • INDY- you and your friends are in a unique position to help not only yourselves but those in your area get through some unsettling times.Since there are several of you with medical skills you could alternate providing those skills at a site off your property.Two stay home to protect family and property and the other to go give help when needed. If you belong to a trusted group of friends, such as church/synagog or medical professionals you might consider discussing ahead of time with them what could be done in time of emergency. Have a plan. I don’t know who said this but I believe it; If you fail to plan you plan to fail.

    • Dear Dr. Iam encouraged that you Drs are discussing this. But why wait for the horses to get out of the barn? As doctors, you are already respected in the Community. You can bring about an awareness in your community by organizing Town Meetings to discuss being prepared for whatever the Topic of the night is. Those that are aware of the potential dangers that we are all facing, will be there at the meetings. It would be better for you Doctors to educate your community before disaster strikes rather than afterwords. Teach them to be self-sufficient And if the bottom does fall out, your community will thank you. Or at least the ones who came to the Meetings will. And that is a pretty good support group to start. Working together as a group is better than being on your own. There is alot more safety in numbers.

    • Patriot says:

      Start teaching self aid and buddy care classes in your local area and spread the word quietly about prepping you will soon find a like minded group with many skills. One of the people you meet will be a veteran with some security skills.

    • Caribou says:

      Whether they are real cops or fake you will not want to surrender your arms to anyone. It is illegal for them to take your guns and it could cost you your life and your family. If someone tries to take anything let them know that anyone who tries to take so much as a blade of grass without your permission will be denied medical attention as will their family. What you are talking about is a survival situation and will need to be dealt with in a firmer manner than I expect you are accustomed to.

      I am going to say something that is meant in truly a friendly and brotherly way. If you are planning on trading your skills for items I hope you have laid aside ample medical supplies. Eight doctors can burn up a bunch of supplies. A carpenter can do little without wood and tools. Get some books and training on older medical practices. For example, sugar on an open wound rather than using limited supplies of antibiotics. I worked as an EMT for long enough to pull the fat out of the fire for more than one MD. We had different skill sets. My skills were focused on how to do much with little by myself. An EMT course followed by a wilderness medicine course might serve you well if you were trying to provide care outside a hospital. Better yet, include someone with prehospital skills in your group. Another option would be to become a physician sponsor for a volunteer EMT squad near you. Anything you can do to expand you ability to work without all the personnel and other resources your are used to will serve you well.

  50. Regarding precious metals: Silver rounds are a good compromise and something similar is available in smaller units 5 g, 10 g, 1.4 oz, etc). Their value, such as it is, would be closer to that of goods you might need, eve if you’re paying a premium for them. Gold is good for larger values and for the long haul, but we are talking about “surviving in place”, so how many places/people near you sell food in $1600+ units (even projecting crisis prices)? And gold’s value would likely climb even higher in such times. So would silver, but in much smaller increments. And the potential for loss through violence or transport is less: so you lose and ounce or two, no disaster.

    I’d like to see a list of the foods people are putiing up for long term storage and maybe some recommended cycling times (replacing older foods with newer in storage).

  51. Great article. You also have to consider what spot is for precious metals.Today gold is around $1400.00 and silver is about $35.00. I could buy some silver if I wanted to but gold is absolutely out of the question. Adding to my food stock or ammo box makes the best sense for me.But if gold goes to $1800.00 I will sell my pitifully small amount of gold and wait for the spot to drop to an acceptible level before buying metals again.

  52. Valerie Bate says:

    I personally feel like my storage items, books, knowledge, skills, seeds, etc ARE my wealth. I struggled with this question and for me the answer is no because I don’t have a lot of extra wealth. Actually I have none as my income as dropped in the last 5 years by about 75%. I am very much at peace with this decision as I believe bartering will be much more prevalent especially in my area. No one near me is “wealthy”. I “woke up” and really got into this about 4 years ago and I have a great library and about 1-2 months of food and non-food (shampoo, soap, etc) for a family of 12 as I am storing for my children and grandkids too.Sometimes, especially lately, when I watch the news I get a little panicky but I just keeping moving forward and make some progress every day, every week. I don’t know to exactly put this but I am relying on my faith and love in my God to help us through. I hope to be a leader in my little piece of the world to help us all through. Maybe this is naive but it’s what helps me sleep at night. And as David always says I take small forward steps everyday and that’s all I can do!

    • john henry says:

      Thank you for sharing I start to panick when I watch the news or listen to Glenn beckm or Alex Jones. I have to tell myself things will be ok if I trust in god. So I trust in god not gold. I would buy some If I had the extra cash. What I would realy like is a larger piece of good ground.

    • Valerie, you got it!
      Keep on keepin’ on…

    • Good for you, Valerie!!
      A friend once told me she is trusting in God to provide. I agreed with her. However, I also reminded her that God told Noah, Joseph, and others to prepare. That helped her perspective.

  53. That is assuming Silver Eagles will be removed from circulation. Must be careful when buying these, there ar counterfeits out there, as there are with Morgan Silver dollars. I have bought MANY silver Washington Quarters off Ebay. If silver goes to the projected $600/oz, even a quarter would be useful. Right now they are inexpensive and easy to get. They do not hold enough value though for someone to bother making copies. They could also be used later to trade up to dollars, or to trade into gold. When buying silver dollars, I stick with the Peace Dollar.

    • Good info Lynn. I also purchase Peace dollars. Cheaper than Morgans which for the most part have much higher collector value. Although only 90%, and not a full ounce, I think they will be the best for larger item barter.

  54. I would think buying the smallest increments of gold or silver would be best. If your buying an inexpensive item what will you get for change using a $1400 gold coin?

  55. Steve Blacke says:

    What a great way to prioritize your preparation! Thanks for sharing your insights.I think that precious metal would be more of an asset in a situation that is short of a complete societal meltdown. State, local, feds are still intact and there is general law and order, with the problems being hyperinflation and a shortage of resources. In a total collapse the metals become less important. Barter existed long before currency.

    I would suggest security and shelter be their own level be immediately after mindset, based upon how long it might take you expire with out them. When the “zombies” come, want to be able to fend them off. If my building is destroyed, I want to be able to securely travel to another safe location. I won’t need food, water, tools, or medical supplies just yet.

    And death from exposure is a real threat for most of the year. A little reading on winter/cold weather camping would be life saving material.

    I’ve often thought that camping and backpacking the perfect hobbies for preparedness. Your friends and relatives just think you’re an avid hiker rather than survival nut!

  56. BRAD3000 says:

    Gamo & AirForce Talon and others make .17 and .22 cal silenced air rifles which are very effective at short ranges for small game. Off topic but I also consider ammo to be a good barter item – especially .22LR and 9mm.

    • Say what you will about air rifles, but I think that they have just as important a spot in preparations as any other weapon. Rather than use your precious (and non reloadable) .22 ammo for hunting small game, high powered air rifles will more than suffice for that duty and pellets are literally a dime a dozen (probably less). And if you go the route of getting a big bore air rifle, you can mold bullets or musket balls and along with the hand pump, have a gun that will probably last a lot longer into a prolonged survival situation than any other weapon.

  57. In times of government failure or civil disorder, I worry about how one could exchange gold for anything of smaller value such as bread or milk. Also, how would I find a dealer who is open for business and willing to exchange it for viable currency. It’s not a problem I can answer. Therefore, I have decided the 1 oz Silver Eagle is the way to go. Although they are actually silver rounds, they appear to be the old silver dollars in circulation years ago, and therefore, should be accepted readily by most as currency, just like the junk silver. While they are worth more than junk silver, it seems to me they are much more viable as currency than a $1,400 gold coin. Also, it should be realtively easy to convince strangers that you only have a couple to spend that you had put way when they were removed from circulation.

    • That is why when silver was at about $12/oz I started buying rolls of silver dimes and quarters. If our $$$ get relativly worthless and you want a loaf of bread at least you can haggle some with the dimes(do I trade 2 or 3) where with the full oz size you may ask for more, but it really limits your options. I keep many, many rolls of dimes, quarters, halves, and dollers all pre 1965 along with some newer silver and gold rounds so I have plenty of options.
      Off the subjust of gold and silver, but along with bartering, ammo, reloading supplies and components could be very good for barter. I like .22lr because of cost, size, and versatility. Just throwing that in.

    • Rob Clancy says:

      I agree with what your saying Wayne …I’m in Canada and I just bought 1 oz. silver maple leafs…but they also had 1/20 oz. of gold for sale ..they were charging about $94 each about a month ago..pretty pricey…all the best …Rob

    • .22LR ammo may be the best savings plan of all- use it to feed yourself & yours, for behavior modification on those who need it, and excellent portable trading stock. Also very cheap to stockpile (for the moment, anyway). Same for .22 firearms; they are the most common caliber, cheapest, and simple to use.

      • Big John says:

        sootsme, i’ve got the crazy feeling, that CALIBER of bullets will take on the trait of denomination when used for barter. The better the round and caliber, the more weight it will carry in terms of bartering power. .22 is good for practice, plinking and small game, but all but worthless in the type of scenarios folks will potentially be facing, like home invasion, home defense, long range sniping, and holding something that will keep ballbags DOWN, on the FIRST shot, not the 5th or 6th.
        EVERY piece of hardware I keep here, with the exception of a .38 cal, WILL penetrate body armor and kevlar, including kevlar helmets. This wasn’t an accident. Vests and helmets are readily available and affordable both online and in survivalist stores. That being an established fact, I’m willing to wager that the home invasion types are busy preparing right now also, and buying this stuff up like candy. If I was gonna home invade, you can bet your buttons, that that is EXACTLY what I would be doing. I can see .22 only being of benefit for hunting small game, but next to worthless for anything else.

        Just my 2 cents……. I would recommend diversifiying your caliber purchases. I know, it sucks! Nothing I hate more than spending $300 bucks or more, per thousand rounds, but in the SHTF scenario, bullets that WILL NOT reliably stop those that wish to do you, AND your family harm, will be of minimal utility. If i’m FORCED to raise a firearm to another due to circumstances, I wanna see body parts falling off, and I want assurances that the douchebag WILL NOT be getting up, so I can concentrate on the NEXT douchebag in line. Note; ANYONE bold enough to home invade for your women or supplies WILL NOT BE TRAVELING ALONE! With a .22, anything less than a direct head or heart shot will only piss them off….. if they’re utilizing body armor, you’re dead meat with a .22.

        • Big John, you left something out. In a world where medical treatment is NOT easily available ANY wound can be fatal, over time. Once that FACT has finally penetrated a few heads there will be less maraudering than many might expect.
          As to lethality, did you know that the lowly .22LR has been PROVEN, by the Army’s test standard, to be capable of causing lethal injuries even out to 440 yds? (providing you can hit the bugger!) I like the .22LR because I can fire about 20 rds of .22LR for the price of 1 or 2 of my .308 rds and can CARRY more ammo with less weight. I also have several other calibers since diversification makes obtaining ammo easier.

          • I have to agree on both sides here, while I would be afraid that there may be more people acquiring body armor to give them the edge in a firefight, the thought of getting shot in general is still gonna weigh in on their decisions to attack someone. While body armor may stop most rounds up to rifle rounds, that still leaves the legs, arms, and head exposed, with that in mind, I would say that shotguns and ammo would be something good to have. If you cant drop em with long range rifle rounds, then blowing their kneecaps off with some 12ga rounds, or even flechettes (can buy lbs of this stuff for cheap for loading your own) will level the playing field. Even with body armor, the blunt force trauma from shotgun impacts to the torso or fatal injuries to limbs are going to take them out of the firefight enough so that you can probably score headshots better than if they were completely intact. There’s always a way around things like dealing with body armor clad baddies. Another thing to look at too would be the concept of stealth. If there’s a way to make yourself not as tempting a target that several heavies would want to stage a conquest against you, then that would probably be the better bet, since just like the baddies probably dont wanna get shot to hell, you dont either. Even if you do have all the highest powered ordnance available, in this type of situation, one will admit that there’s going to be injuries on both sides of the aisle. If both sides are busy shooting out with each other trying to overcome one sides superior weaponry while the other side is standing there taking hit after hit, most people are probably not going to walk away unscathed. Moral of the story, we’re not in Iraq, we’re not on a search and destroy, we’re trying to keep our a**es alive to rebuild everything after the less prepared die off. This isn’t a shot against getting heavy weaponry, I agree wholeheartedly to getting the heaviest you can afford or handle, but strategy is also important, not everyone will be able to handle the hand cannons or high powered rifles. If junior or grandma need to pop somebody, the last thing you want is for them to fracture a wrist, crack a shoulder or hit themselves in the head trying to shoot somebody especially when they’re shooting back. Even a small puny gun in well trained hands is a lot better than a howitzer in the hands of a weakling.

    • A silver Eagle is still a large some of money for small purchases. Today about 28.00. Dave is correct, best to have a supply of of junk dimes, quarters and even some halves. Marty

  58. I recommend reading “The Coming of the Third Reich” by Richard J. Evans for a graphic description of what can happen when a civilized country comes apart. This book gives an eye-opening account of what happened in Germany between the end of WW1 & the start of WW2. A serious breakdown in civic order marked by rampant inflation, widespread unemployment, stealing, street violence, and political instability preceded Hitler’s rise to power. The parallels with our own situation today are chilling. This book provides valuable lessons about what to expect as you prepare yourself for what’s coming.

  59. Here’s a question, if you are relocating internationally and cant take 3 months of supplies etc with you, how best to deal with those last few months while you run down your supplies. If things go bad youre gonna be behind the 8 ball. talk about timing. You will be starting again at the beginning when you resettle also. for example those who have been overseas for a few years on missions, military business etc

    • Say that you have a 3 month supply of food. If you are relocating and are unable to take the food with you, For the last three months before you leave, stop buying food and put the money that you would have spent into savings. When you arrive take the money from not buying food for three months and use it to buy a three month supply of food. That way you will be right back where you started.

      • Chris, you may be missing the point. When the time comes to relocate, all the money in your world probably won’t buy a cup of coffee.

        • Good answere Bob. Why is it that people THINK paper money is worth something? Have “civilized” people forgotten that paper money is an IOU? It’s a “promise to pay” and otherwise VALUE-LESS. When the balloon goes up it won’t be worth anything.

  60. Bow or sling bow for hunting or defense.
    Black powder guns will be easier to feed and can give extended range if you need it. Lead and primers will be very useful!

    • Crossbow! Quiet, better range than normal bow & arrow, bolts reusable if you are careful not to lose them, high lethality. The bureaucrats that presently won’t allow hunting with them won’t likely have much input when it comes down to it.

      • CaptTurbo says:

        Compound bow has longer effective range then a crossbow and … some states (Ohio for example) allow hunting with this device.

  61. Good to have junk silver and bullon. Necessarey food being a mix of canned and dried and stored in pest free containers. Nothing worse than finding that pests have already enjoyed your stores. Sufficient ammo and working guns….you KNOW that they work…….plus “plans” and back=up plans will give you a basis for
    feeling confident! Then, get some training……from folks that know what to do…
    You can’t be tooo ready……just look at the footage of the Japan earthquake….Wow…what do you do? Well, better not live on the beach!!!!! Wisdom is worh all the gold or silver in the world…..being aware is probably a close second…….
    Do something…….just don’t wait too long……..

  62. Great article. One can start building survival skills and the same time as beginning to accumulate food, water and a cooking source. I have seen many suggest, as you did, storing up large quantities of the foods your family usually eats (at least the non perishable foods) and water then eating the oldest supplies first. However, even a months supply of food and water can take up a lot of space. As a physician I also have a skill I should be able to barter for supplies I am lacking. However there is a delimma here. If I leave my home and family to go out to provide medical care in exchange for food or water that leaves them unprotected. I think we can expected to see lots of home invasions and theft of unguarded property if things really get rough. Likewise, staying home and providing medical care there lets people know my location and provides too tempting a target for those who have not made adequate provision for themselves and their families. Do you have a solution?

    • Hey Tadpole,
      I would suggest keeping your supplies well tucked away with a very meek front room for helping outsiders. Or, my wife is not the outdoor lovin/gun packin mama type, but she can shoot and I would definitly count on her if needed. My daughter is still too young, but when she is ready there is already a pink Cricket (it will be embarassing when I take her for the first time and I have to sight it in) and my first .22 waiting in the safe. There are many ways to protect or make what you have look worthless.
      There are also many firearms that take minimal training and are still very effective. Or the pack of hungry dogs in the yard works well too.

    • Dr. Tadpole – Get your wife an the rest of your family trained to the best of their capabilities. Equip them to the level of their capacities. Put trust in them, giving them a degree of personal responsibility. Even if nothing ever happns, they will be more competent, better people for the experience. Been there!

      • Am I forward looking or just lucky? Since the age of eight (I’m now 80) i’ve hunted, learning the intricacies(sp) from my father. i’m also a Korean veteran (May God bless the fifty thousand we lost there) so I know a little about weapons. Years ago, while working far from home, my wife visited me for a week. I, desperately seeking something to keep her occupied during the day while I worked, enlisted the aid of a retired texas ranger who taught her to shoot and defend herself from intruders. She soon out grew the .32 revolver I’d given her and learned to handle the ranger’s .45 and .357, imagine a 130# school teacher firing a .357. To make a long story short, for the past twenty years she has had a permit for a concealed weapon and is the basic protector of our family.
        Conclusion: Teach or pay someone to instruct your wife, daughter and son to use a firearm.

    • People in dire need of medical attention will likely be in the same situation as a starving and desperate person. As a medically trained individual myself I can only offer you this. IF you decide to barter your skills, you run certain risks in a society which has broken down. Determine whether those risks are WORTH your needs. You owe nothing to the person who is injured or in need of your skills. You owe everything to your own survival. Therefore any risk must be associated with gain or opportunity and either mitigate or avoid the threat side of risk. So going into the lion’s den is not the answer. Bringing them into your secure area is not the solution either. Find a space where you can CONTROL the outcome. Barter might mean hiring out your services to a team that can provide you security in exchange for current and future medical treatment. As such, deploy your team in a manner inwhich you control the outcome. Part of your barter fees must cover the expense of your security team. If the person in need cannot afford the fee, no service will be rendered. I know this sounds unemotional. Remember civilization ended. It’s eat or be eaten.

    • Prepper-in Chief says:

      I imagine that in a civil break-down, the smart folks are the ones who will band together, whether in a neighborhood or a town. In a case like that, for the luxury of having a trained medical person available, I’ll bet others would devote their time to gaurd your home while you do your business at a more centralized location, like someone elses house in the neighborhood or town. A place that would be designated so all would know it’s the place to go for medical care, whether on a certain day of the week, or in case of an emergency, after you’ve been notified and escorted to the location . A person like you will be worth their weight in gold, and everyone should be ready to protect you and yours for the privelege of having you around.

      • Tadpole,
        You will likely find yourself & family somewhere between Peter’s & Prepper’s scenarios, depending on your priorities & personality. The local Doc will likely be a lot more like “Doc” on Gunsmoke than most ones we know currently, If you make it through the first month, the locals will likely be invested in keeping you around, if you’re cool. Otherwise, you might end up as food… (Harsh, but you get the idea…) Balance is the key, and “trust, but verify.”

    • Big John says:

      Hey tadpole. Quite the dilemma you’ve got there. It’s great that you posess a skill of such value, and one that will definitely be utilized, AND IN DEMAND after the feces hits the wind mover.
      Posssible solution: The home office scenario is probably the safest, although I certainly understand your reluctance. Further, if you make a habit of traveling, you become a target, merely for the supplies, medicines and drugs you carry in your medical kit.
      If you have a trusted friend or 2, that are unabashedly armed, offer only specific office hours and treatment hours, and have them standing at the doors, and only admit 1 family or patient at a time. No waiting room, they must line up and wait outdoors. Think armed club bouncers here. Further, all who are to gain entry to see you must first surrender ANY AND ALL weapons and firearms at the door. If you can scrape up a med assistant or someone with med experience, they can remain outside with the hired door muscle and triage and prioritize patients.
      You can compensate your “Hired help” by offering free medical care to them and their families for standing shifts. i’d stand shifts for you for that kind of benefit! Just my humble thoughts here…… There is NO absolute SAFE way to perform your duties post-SHTF, and no absolutely safe scenarios. But you can mitigate your exposure with proper planning and foresight. Best of fortunes to you, brother.

    • Voyagerheim says:

      Doc, I’m starting to look at earth-sheltered homes again. They were popular in the 70’s and 80’s. In the neck of the woods I live in, it would look like a ‘walk-out basement’; and then increase the level of security at the entrances available, add a safe room. You might also coordinate your wish to help others with the national disaster response groups who might be able to provide your family w/security while you provide the community with your help.

    • Have you ever heard the the old saying…”there is security in numbers”? Part of your plan needs to include some type of support group. You can’t do it alone. A chord is stronger than a single strand….grasshopper.

    • Patriot says:

      This is where the mutual aid group comes in handy. Find a local veteran and offer him healthcare for him and his family and he will offer you armed security. This is maximum self aid and buddy care. Read your Bibles and Constitutions together. I live in MO and am going to a prepper meeting this weekend. Maybe I’ll meet a doc or nurse.

  63. No one has mentioned my favorite weapon. Bow and arrow. You can even get a crossbow, although in many places at the moment it is not allowed for hunting except by handicapped and children. Arrows could be made from scratch if necessary, it is not required to register it and it is breathtakingly quiet.

    I want to know how to make primer and gunpowder!

  64. Robert Wood says:

    I have been studying this for some time and have read multiple books on it. I agree with you entirely you need first water, then food and then other essentials. Only after you have a year supply of these things then look to buy silver and gold. Silver is a much better buy right now and has been going up in value much faster than gold for a number or reasons. Last year it went up 83% and gold went up 29%, as of Feb. 2010 silver was $16 an ounce and is now about $36 an ounce, about 125%. Gold has not yet doubled in that time. One of the reasons is that silver is an industrial metal and most of the silver has been used up. The world now has 1/5th the silver as it has gold. Another reason is that silver has historically been 1/15 to 1/16th the value of gold but up until recently it has been at 1/60 the value and right now is around 1/42 the value. This is due to market interference as when Lehman Brothers went bankrupt they held (illegally) about 43,000 short contracts in silver to artificially keep the price down. J.P. Morgan & Chase bought out Lehman Brothers and have kept up those short contracts until recently because of court cases against them and are now getting rid iof them. Never mind the fact that sliver is much rarer than gold, just because of the short contracts when they are eliminated silver should be about $95 an ounce. The only advantage of gold is that it takes a lot less of it to store your extra money and it also will keep going up but not as fast. Bob Wood

    • dennis crane says:

      Well, this all makes sense to me. I appreciate the advise. Ideas I never looked at before may help my wife and I in hard even desperate times. I think of survival as a before and after affair. Before, I want to have the vital elements for survival.
      After I want to be able to have those things like gold and silver which will make it easier for us during a rebuilding period. I think we will get through and rebuild as a Nation.

      Of course, we may do the right things now-like Wisconsin-and escape a collapse. It doesn’t look like California will manage to prevent the fall. So I am storing up food and now ammo too and medicinal stuff etc. I’m also buying silver coins. I look at silver as an after the fall hedge against hardship. I don’t think the period of crisis will last long enough to make trade for goods a requirement-since I am preparing ahead. I expect a monetary collapse followed by a possible short period of ajustment. So critical supplies for the collapse and silver for the ajustment. Best, Dennis

  65. BRAD3000 says:

    I can recommend APMEX out of Oklahoma – they are efficient and fast and always reliable. Their website is clean and easy to use. For gold I suggest 1oz (or less) bars as the value is high, and for silver – 2011 1oz American silver dollars as they would be easily tradable in SHTF conditions.

    Disclosures: No affilations.


  66. when i first began buying silver (early 2009) i knew that the silver-to-gold ‘ratio’ of 66 to 1 , was ‘way out-of-whack’ , although i wasn’t certain whether gold was terribly ‘over-priced’ , or , if silver was a ‘steal.’ …. subsequent events have seemingly proven that i made a correct guess , in that , silver was terribly under-valued , since the current silver-to-gold ‘ratio’ is now sitting at approx 40 to 1 …..

    although silver’s bulk does present an obvious security and/or storage problem , i still believe that gold , palladium , or platinum , are not very practicle , on a day-to-day means of survival , or bartering …. The LAST place you want to put any precious metals , jewelry , cash , or firearms , however , is in a safety-deposit box at your “friendly” bank …. If the SHTF , the only thing(s) that will be returned to you by the Feds (if you’re lucky) , will be paperwork and written legal documents …. Ignore this warning , at your own risk ….. frank k .

  67. I buy small amounts of silver when possible at flea markets and estate sales, have price in mind before i go shop by looking at price at Any other tips out there on where to get junk silver

  68. Ann Onomous says:

    I have $100,000 in gold and silver, $20,000 in FedNotes, six months worth of non-perishable food, and a lifetime supply of ammunition. How much is a lifetime supply? One full magazine and whatever I can take from the dead schmuck that tries to take anything from me. (Okay, I’ve got around 5,000 rounds of assorted rifle and pistol ammo, but really – how much can I carry at my age?)

    Molon labe!

    • Woah,
      I’m kinda poor compared to you but I had this proud feeling when i read your comment knowing that someone successful is also into this prepping 🙂 My prepping budget is about £100 … tho I am grateful because some of my friends have maybe £20 budget if they saved really prudently for a month… so yeah im still lucky in some ways I guess

      Love & light (P.S. look up “pineal gland water flourination”…….. i want you to know it :)….. at your age its important you drink clean, pure water. NEVER drink tap water PLEASE. with your sort of fortune you can afford glass bottled distilled water

      thank you

  69. Hi David, I have followed your posts for sometime now after it was recommended to me by one of your associates. I love your work and advice but being based in the UK where the prospect of owing anything more than what amounts to a toy gun (12ft Ib air rifle) I wonder what alternatives you could suggest for defence other than knives? I myself think when (not if) meltdown occurs medicines such as antibiotics will be up there amongst the top trading goods as us humans are susceptible to a long slow painful death without such drugs from something as simple as an infected cut. I certainly store at least 3 months food and water in my attic (which planned right actually takes up surprisingly little room) to which at the very suggestion many people I know have laughed, but when it all kicks off may us good folk who have followed your great advice will be the ones able to provide for our families and our futures as I have never told those who laughed that I actually keep such supplies. Keep up the great work. Thanks again.

  70. Marlboros and get a hobby like wine making, even ethanol, which can probably be made from grass clippings…… A bottle of home made wine is worth more than gold, even in countries like Saudi Arabia, ha all of their “diplomats” at the UN are the biggest drinkers of all!~

  71. I am really impressed.
    I have lately (last 2-3 years) been reading everything I can get my hands on about survival and preparedness, and that has been quite alot. David’s course and newsletters/tips are some of the best, but… far, the most interesting and informative reading I have found is all the comments here and after other newsletters. Many of you have some very bright ideas, observations, and even some unique visions of pragmatic results in the event of a real collapse, or crisis.

    I have always wondered if I was personally going way too far in my acceptance of even the possibilities of a total life changing crisis for civilization in the corner of the world that I and my family are dependant upon. I mean the thought flashes through my day dreaming that….Ted Kaczynski probably passed the same point in the trail that I am at today. Hopefully, I/we will keep it together a little better than he did but still, ??? With these thoughts prominently in mind, but on another note, I have had the mindset of “trusting no one”, planning alone, and having to do it all myself. I mean you start to feel a little “islandized”. (I know that is not a real word, but it could be) When you get serious about the kind of planning we are all talking about, it can get somewhat overwhelming. So… It dawns on me that many of you are probably even more stable than I am and yet, here you are with all these good survival ideas, and I’d like to hear more from many of you. Anyone got any good suggestions how we can reasonably stay in touch as a whole and continue to learn from each other? Any good forums? Most I have seen are so complex they are intimidating and scary or some others are even freaky. Not comfortable to participate within. Maybe David would be interested in setting one up for members meetings? One where we can hold discussions and help each other, without intimidations or tiring sales pitches.

  72. Nomad Janet says:

    I would like to purchase some silver in person with cash and I am having difficulty finding a source in our city. I want to buy rounds and one oz bullion. Has anyone else had issues with this? I do not want to purchase on line as I do not want to use paypal or other traceable source for payment.

  73. As so many people wisely mentioned, making change is a real issue. Even the smallest silver dime is worth about 2 FRNs in 2011 (Federal Reserve Notes).
    Here’s an interesting idea: 5-cent nickels as mentioned at and elsewhere on that site.

  74. Sherry Burdette says:

    Great tips…like the common sense of stocking my home before preparing for the great outdoors in the event I am driven away. I also like the idea of waiting to stock up on silver until the home-front is surrvival-ready with @ least 3 mo. worth.
    One question I have is with the viability of utility companies during crisis or natural disaster? There is always the possibilty of utility companies rationing natural resources or even shutting down. In the event that a generator is needed, how can I safely store gasoline in my garage? I’m thinking gas/lights would be a major need in very cold/extremely hot weather, so perhaps storing gas in milder temps would not be as needed.

    • Dear Sherry – Since I do not know your specific locatiion , my well-intended advice just may be worthless , but if you are NOT in the heart of a major city , you may want to consider spending anywhere from $3K to $8K , for a high quality wood-burning stove ….. Contrary to popular belief , the “kind” of wood you burn is far LESS important , than how long the wood is “aged.” …. In fact , pine (and other soft-woods burn very well and very hot) , but only if they have been allowed to “dry” for at least 24 months…. Best regards , Frank K .

  75. Personally I place guns and ammo at the top of my pyramid. Without them protecting any of the others may not be possible.

  76. ron christian says:

    Buying precious metals for a true survival situation is just plain stupid. Guess what the most valuable commodity was after Germany was destroyed and its inhabitants were starving and cold – vegetable oil. Those with gold used it to get out of Europe before the war, or to rebuild after the survival times were over. During the survival period, no one wanted gold – they wanted vegetable oil. They could cook with it, light and warm their homes with it, and eat it for a source of calories. Who got rich during the gold rushes? Those who were selling food and equipment to the minors. If the times you write about really come, an ounce of vegetable oil will be priceless. An ounce of gold will make an okay rock for throwing. Gold is sometimes a good investment against inflation, assuming there is a remotely functional economy. That is all it is.

    • I agree with you 100%.
      Gold never helped anyone in time of trouble.
      With no currency, gold is valueless.

      Why is this web site supporting buying gold?
      Gold can not be spent.

  77. I agree with you David on other priorities before silver and gold. Better t have small silver dimes to trade than ounces and gold bars. You can also invest in copper. Lots of copper wire and things are now only copper coated, including wires. I believe copper is being kept artificially low because people were ripping wires out of houses and selling it to recycle places. Go to as it will show you the value of coins/copper/nickle/silver. A 1981 90% copper penny today is worth around 3 cents. See how much copper was worth in 1973,75? It was crazy! Anyway save coppers if you dont want to invest in large amounts for silver and gold and im sure they will be worth trading in the future. Poor mans Gold I guess!

  78. Folks, there are about three hundred million people in the U.S. now. How many of them do you think own firearms and will be out hunting and fishing if TSHTF?
    Honestly, how many deer, turkeys, even squirrels do you think there will be left in your area after a few months? You will probably consider yourself lucky if you can bag a rat.

    In terms of self defense – how likely do you think it is you will survive if more than 3-5 shots are fired?

    I think people are stocking up on ammunition to a ridiculous extent. A brick of .22LR will be worthless if there is no game to hunt with it.

    • ron christian says:

      I agree with you, John, except for one thing. If game is that scarce and there are really that many people starving, they won’t be hunting animals. There will be a much more ready supply of game that is slow and nutritious. That is sickening, but it is reality. I do not believe there is any parent who would let his child starve to death when food is walking around. Your point assumes that people will still follow social norms in such a situation. They will not, and anyone who thinks they will is bound to be dinner someday. If things get that bad, I’d like to think that I would rather not survive anyway. But, no one really knows themselves that well.

    • You should read One Second After. An eye-opening book.

  79. Does anyone know how long I can store whole wheat flour? I heard that whole grains store better, but both will not last many months before the natural oils go rancid. I really dont like the thought of feeding my family white flour, any other suggestions?

    I am having a second well dug next month that will be outfitted with a manual hand pump only…no power required. Also, spending my tax return on a wood burning cookstove/oven. Have a fair amount of food so far. Best to all…

  80. Dan Corrigan says:

    I have been collecting firearms and making ammunition for them for decades. Once I had retired from being a LEO I was shocked by the high cost of ammo. A box of .38 Special centerfire revolver cartridges cost 7 to 10 dollars then. Today the same box costs 21 to 35 dollars if bought from a store. Then I could make a box of 50 rounds for less than 2 bucks. Today it costs me about $3.50 to $4.00. You see I recycled lead wheel weights into bullet alloy and then cast the alloy into useable bullets. I use the cartridge cases over and over up to to 50 times and I only need powder and primer to buy. However if times get tough I can make the powder and primers also.

    Presently I have over 3,000 rounds of ammo for every one of my 22 different weapons. And I am busy in making more for the more popular calibers. .223 Remington, .9 MM, .38 Special, 30-06, 30-30 and .45 ACP are the most popular and would be in the most demand. So I am making a buncha those and caching them in underground locations only known to me and my wife. They could be valuable tender some day and if not then I can always sell them for a profit when it is my time to go.

    I also have been putting excess cash into ETF’s that are based on gold. I bought a bunch of it when it was $1,305 or so and recently it has hit over $1,400. I figure the stock market and the dollar and the fed defecit will eventually cause a really bad devaluation of the dollar and as the dollar goes down…gold goes up.

    • Just like Enron, there is no proof gold will hold it’s value when disater hits.
      When sudden distruction happens, gold is going to be worth crap.

    • I don’t think ETF’s are the way for gold. You may want to read your prospectus on those ETF’s. Many don’t have to pay back in gold and instead with us fiat currency which is devalueing as we speak. My neighbor had money invested in ETF’s and the company didn’t have the gold to back up the investments. He lost his whole investment when the company went belly up. Like someone said “If it’s printed on paper; it”s worth it’s printed on”.

  81. The problem with gold is unless you have it broken down into small pieces for trade you are exposing your treasure to someone else. Silver more manageable. I still feel that ammo is one of your best barter items along with first aid supplies. When you have a killer headace and know that only Advil will get rid of it you will do whatever to get some!

  82. Just a few additions to some of the great comments here!
    The rule of threes – love it! But there is one more – you can go 3 SECONDS without thinking!(ie, evaluate the situation/conditions prior to obligating/commiting yourself.)
    Canned goods – it is very important to rotate these items. Most are processed using heat, which (as I understand it – in a simplistic manner) begins the deterioration of the food product. Depending on the food, by the time 6 to nine months has gone by, there is no nutritional value left to speak of. ROTATE!
    Bartering and exchanging for things you need. This could be a long discussion all by itself! There are things that will be in demand – things that are readily available and cheap now. Sanitary items – very important, not stressed near enough! You can’t do anything if you are sick from unclean conditions – or suffering rom dental problems. Soap, toothpaste, washcloths, wipes, toothbrushes, liquid soap, etc. All inexpensive – now. Have you ever heard of what is called “mountain money”??? You know those little packets of toilet paper in the MRE’s? Yep – that’s it! Cigarettes & booze – yea, it was mentioned before, but bears another mention. In Vietnam, I frequently traded the stale old cigarettes we got in “C” rations for pretty much anything I wanted! Clean, dry socks were the other thing that was valuable – but only once did I trade those away!
    .22 Ammo – good to have, good for trade – HOWEVER – Never give someone that you do not know or have an extreme tactical advantage over the ability to kill you!!!
    Other stuff – can openers, scissors, pots & pans, silverware (ever try try to whittle a spoon with a bayonet??) various type of fuel, clothing, rain gear, tarps, rope (any cordage) You ge the idea! The list goes on….and on….
    Last – build a network of people you trust!

    Take care everyone!

    Major Art

  83. Definitely food and medicine first, then USEFUL tangible items such a non-electric work and kitchen tools ( we just bought a hand flour mill ), diesel for the tractor, basic clothes that either need replacing or you don’t have yet, toilet paper . . . think of actual gold as start-over wealth after the crisis is over and we know what our currency is or will be. . . then you buy back into regular currency. Silver can have the same function, but due to bulk it is better in smaller sizes for trade (however, it is a commodity, used in industry, so it will always be needed and is an investment). It is a good antibiotic, does not harm normal cells and can be found as a creme (for burns) as well as a colloidal liquid. It is used in water filters and modern fabrics, and silver utensils are self-sterilizing – – since ancient times. I actually scrubbed up a 1903 Liberty Dollar and have it in the bottom of my water bottle; it’s a bit noisy but crud really stopped growing in it, when I would forget to wash it out regularly; plus, I always have a silver dollar with me.

  84. rain gear is one thing no body thinks about . If you are wet and cold you could be headed for death and at the best miserable. If you cook meals the smell will draw people . If you heat up water and put into food than stir there will be a lot less smell to draw people. I know freeze dried food is not the best.

  85. Toilet paper will be a hot item but people will use newspapers and magazines. You need to learn how to use guns and not when the world blows up. Even the best make guns do fail and you need to test out your new gun to make sure it is working right. Call your gun shop to learn where to learn to shoot. Would you buy a car and never learn to drive and expect to be able to drive in a time of crisis. Take a 2 week period and write down what you eat and use and do to see what you would need in a time of crisis.

  86. Great assessment of priorities. I am working my way up. If you have access to any water body, you can use a water filtration system instead of trying to store enough water in bottles. The Berkey Water system is one that has been recommended by several reputable sources. No don’t sell them or benefit in any way.

  87. Leonard M. Urban says:

    Back in the 1990’s I experimented with buying and selling old “collectible” coins. One very rare $20 gold eagle was worth just under $900 at the time I horsetraded a guy out of it. In early 2001, when I got into a short-term bind for cash, I sold the coin. I got $400–the spot price for an ounce of gold. The reason the coin–in a sealed case–brought so low a price was because this coin had suddenly become “common” because the Russian govt. had just released a ton on them onto the market. They apparently bought so many of them up (making them “rare”) in the 1920’s when they were $20 each, and them sold them at 2001 prices. Over time I came to see that “collector” values are fluid, and have much to do with rarity, condition and the overall economy. Those collectors with lots of cash to buy are rarely in a rush to do so, and will bide their time until the economy is strained and then buy collectible coins at much lower prices from those who cannot afford to hold the price up. Of course, if it’s a REALLY rare coin, and they’ve just got to have it, you could get the “collectible” price. Don’t count on it though. If you’re going to buy old silver or gold coins, buy “sliders”–these are coins that are NOT in mint condition, having rode around in somebody’s pockets for decades. The knurled edges are smooth, the coins are dinged and scratched, and they sell at “melt” value–that is, the value of the precious metal (not the fickle “collectible” value) which can easily be researched by reading the commodities section of the Wall Street Journal. Look for the wholesale coin values, and pay based upon THAT price. I used to run ads in shopper offering to buy “old” coins, not specifying gold or silver. I could pick and choose what I wanted when I saw the coins.

  88. I have purchased mostly buckets of vatious types of wheat, some rice and a little corn for grinding. These are relatively cheap and high protein/energy items. You can also sprout the seeds to get your greens. I have a few of the Freeze Dried meals & MRE’s however I prefer the freeze dried #10 cans of fruits and of vegetables. I can vary the meals that way. Cannned and dried goods are also stored but I am using the aforementioned items as my longterm disaster supples in case a couple months becomes a couple years. They are expensive up front but not when you look at the weight after reconstituting them. I believe that food will take the place of currency to a large degree. If I never need it I can still eat it or donate it to charity. I donated my stores to charity that I purchased 20 years ago. I am helping others while preparing for me and my loved ones. You cannot go wrong as a Christain in this way. Most of my family think I am nuts so I am trying to store some for them as well however I will not sacrifice my immediate family safety for them or anyone else.

  89. Larry Conklin says:

    Well, ok, we agree. We DO have a SMALL stash of a few gold coins, like 1/5th or 1/4th oz. as they are easier to trade. Also a small stock of silver. (old quarters, halves etc.) for the same reason. Byt before these, we have stocked up on food, both a few months worth of the freeze dried stuff, a few MRE’s, and shelves and freezers full of the things we use every day.
    We also have been buying, little by little, over the years, all sorts of survival equipment, as it was found, at reasonable prices, at army-navy stores, yard sales, second-hand stores etc. Tents, sleeping bags, boots and BDU’s, (tough, long lasting, and can often be CHEAP!. Such things as skis and snow shoes can often be found at after-season sales at goodwill etc. for as little as $5.00. They may be a real necessity, living in the north-west. One season I was driving in central Idaho, and came by a field where a guy was selling 16ft hexagonal army tents, for $100.00
    Since I knew that these were being advertised at between $350 and $850 in various publications, like Shotgun news, I made haste to secure one. They come with an insulating liner, and can house an entire family, or even a couple of families, in a pinch, in the most severe winter weater.

  90. Just a thought for people who may not have thought about it, but .22 caliber ammunition is a great way to transport long term wealth. I can use it to protect myself, feed me and my family or trade it for much needed water. Many people will prepare to reload larger caliber ammunition, but few will reload one of the most versitile rounds ever developed. Large quantities can be purchased relatively cheaply and spaced out over time so as to maintain OpSec as well.

    Hope this is useful for at least a few people.

  91. Dave,
    I agree completely with your analysis. I would like more metals but I am currently spending all my surplus money on food, fuel, first aid, tools etc. If I have to bugout I still have my metals that I can take with me. My next desire is to purchase undeveloped land in my home county which is rural. Then I can cache a large amount of my supplies and prepare several along my routes. I will use township roads, railroad tracks and power lines to get to my retreat once I get my property ready. I have a realtive that lives at the halfway point and have had supplies stored there for years. I never feel completely prepared but compared the vast majority of the sheep in the US I am light yesars ahead of them. I will never go to a government relocation center for any reason. Thanks for the article.

  92. The problem I have with gold vs silver is when it comes time to purchase. If my family need a couple of meals, and all we have is a gold coin, I can say good-bye to that coin. That is an expensive can of pork and beans if it cost us 1 Mapleleaf.

    You’ll never get change back. That’s why silver makes more sence to me.

  93. C. Wayne Lammers says:


    Great article. I agree with everything you said. However, I have a thought. Gold and Silver are for rich folks. If the purpose of having gold and silver is to buy things during a bust, I suggest the right items that can be purchased for a small price now may actually bring you more in trade than gold and silver. As you pointed out, people will take advantage of your need in setting a price for your gold and silver.

    Ammo is a great trade item, but most people will buy the expensive kind. I think a 22 rifle will be far more important than a 308 and most real survivalist will surely have one. It is a caliber that will bring in a squirrel, rabbit, coon, possum, or even a deer. It is also very effective on people. Bricks of 500 rounds of 22 ammo is still dirt cheap, while the price is way too high on larger calibers.

    What would a woman pay for a bar of soap? I buy it for 50 cents a large bar at my cheap store. Same goes for cheap dish washing liquid for $1.00 a bottle. Even good used clothing from the Salvation Army store will have good value.

    Boxes of matches may be worth their weight in gold, a well as cheap lighters.

    Granted, all this stuff has weight and is probably not for consideration in a bug-out kit, but if you are in your shelter, whether it is in a city or the country, you may be better off storing good trade items.

    Most Respectfully,

    C. Wayne Lammers

  94. Sue the Frugal Survivalist says:

    We store dry beans and rice because they have a very long shelf life and are relatively compact. We have a large kitchen garden in the backyard and eleven fruit trees, a blackberry patch, a bed of asparagus, and a grape arbor. We live in Sacramento and harvest produce from our suburban backyard twelve months a year. In 2010 we planted potatoes for the first time and had a harvest that supplied three families for many months. Although potatoes are relatively cheap, I wanted to be sure we learned how to grow and harvest them in case we ever needed to rely on them in a long term emergency.

    Just to be safe, in case we had to relocate quickly , we also store three months of Costco emergency food. That, with rice and beans, would probably keep us alive until circumstances improved. If an emergecy permanently interrupted the food supply, we have the Costco emergecy non-hybrid seed bucket, and family in the foothills where we could relocate and garden on a larger scale.

    We don’t store gold.

  95. I’ve been able to buy silver coins on eBay since I was able to show my wife
    that we’re making money on those coins vs losing 10’s of thousands in the
    stock market. I used to buy slabbed graded silver dollars but last year switched
    to buying BU(Brilliant Uncirculated) 90% silver pre-1964 dimes. I like those
    because beyond the silver value, they have some collectible value since they
    are bright shiny uncirculated coins. The dimes will be much easier to barter with
    instead of a full one ounce silver dollar or gold coin. The price of the dime rolls
    has doubled since last summer.
    Food: my wife thinks I’m crazy for stockpiling food, but I just continue to buy
    when on sale at the local market. Our pantry is getting cluttered and it’s time
    to set up a rotation system so it doesn’t go to waste (her biggest fear).
    Buying a mix of long term bulk rice/beans/pasta/etc and foods we currently
    eat and also started buying some nitrogen packed cans for long term storage.
    I still have bulk and nitrogen packed foods from when I bought into the Y2K
    scare. The bulk may not be as nutritious as new, but will be useable for charity.

  96. samnjoeysgrama says:

    Once you have the rest of the hierarchy in place, consider buying OLD SIMPLE MEN’S GOLD WEDDING BANDS for your gold in your go-bag. A wedding ring is usually the last thing someone will part with. They are sold for scrap (or slightly over)prices. Selling or trading a single wedding ring will not tip off anyone that you have gold; on the contrary, it would signal that you are down to nothing and are selling your last item. Just don’t sell more than one or twice in the same place.
    Also, I have read that there is probably little chance the government will confiscate gold again. The last time they did it they were trying to cover the fact that the dollar, which was still backed by gold, actually didn’t have enough gold behind it. The dollar is now totally fiat with no gold behind it, so no reason to confiscate. Many of us bought old coins, since they were not confiscated by FDR. Bullion may be as safe and cheaper. I don’t think anyone knows for sure.
    More likely that they will confiscate our IRAs and 401Ks under the guise of protecting us from making bad infestments. Who knows what twisted things they will do to retain power.. Unfortunately, we will all probably find out.

  97. I’m glad you mentioned that we need food/shelter/water before gold/silver. We live paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford gold/silver. Sure we pick through our silver change and get anything pre-1965 and have a couple, but what we do have is water and big totes of food. An abundance in case of bartering. I make sure I pick up an extra bag of pintos and an extra bag of rice at every shopping trip. With our grocery bill, it adds nothing and will someday spare us when we need something someone else has.

  98. very succinct David, however, there is also the option of NOT getting gold or silver right now and concentrating on getting the items that people WITH gold and silver and little else will be looking to trade for. couple of cartons of Marlboros and some of those little bottles of liquor they serve on airplanes would go a long way towards that end and be relatively easy to carry in a flight situation. also, as far as metal weight goes, the ONLY metal to take up space in a situation of having to evacuate your sanctuary is bullets. here’s MY philosophy; if you can’t eat it, drink it, smoke it, shoot it, or screw it, forget it! so far, it’s served me well in everyday normal life and i intend to carry it over into the world of survival if needed. LOL. good luck,

  99. ngih thomas says:

    personally don’t buy commemorative coins or old collectable coins, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. And I will buy them if I can get them for spot price or slightly above spot price. Commemorative coins are rarely worth more than spot and you have the added challenge of having to prove their authenticity when you go to sell them.

  100. I personally have a value ratio of about 80% silver and 20% gold. Like you said, David, both have their pro’s and cons. Silver is easily “barterable”, where a $1400 gold piece isn’t, but can be used to buy bigger ticket items such as a car or motorcycle, etc, or just to store “wealth.”

    Our biggest issue right now is that most of the foods available for emergency use with long shelf life’s have HORRIBLE ingredients and would NOT be something we would rotate through on a regular basis since we eat simple, organic (if possible) non preservative laden foods. So with that said, we have a few of the emergency buckets from Costco with freeze dried meals and a small assortment of canned goods, and 3) 25# bags of beans and rice. The Costco buckets are nice because they’re light weight and can be used to bug out if needed and have an assortment of breakfast and dinner meals. I’ve been trying to buy a few extra’s of whatever we buy normally so that we are on the front side of the food curve if poo hits the fan.

    What are you all doing for water? I have a few cases of bottled water. Nothing elaborate. In reality, we wouldn’t last more than a couple weeks on the water we have. Would those water barrels that store outside be a good option? Or maybe just water filters/purification. We live in an earthquake zone, so the loss of water through the mains is a real possibility.

    I would be interested to see what others are doing for food prep, and if anyone has any ideas as to where more natural products can be found that have a long shelf life. Thanks David for what you do and to keep people thinking.

    • Food Storage should include Sealed Buckets of Wheat and a hand Flour Mill.
      The Mill will last forever and the Wheat will Last forever if stored properly. We have Wheat from the 1970’s that was sealed in Nitrogen filled buckets, It is still good and does not require rotation. Wheat can be Ground to Flour or Cracked, if you have a steel burr mill, also good are buckets of Rye and Oats. Rice and Beans store longer and better in Sealed Nitrogen filled Buckets.
      Liquor stores well and is good for barter, unless you come under Sharia Law.

    • Try and find a couple of NEW (can’t trust used) INEXPENSIVE (cost is a factor) water heaters (the larger the better). IF you have the space for them, have them installed at the point where the water enters your house, and BEFORE your water heater. NO need to have the “heater” function hooked up. This serves a two-fold purpose – first, it keeps the water at “room” temperature, which in cold climates, saves a lot of money to heat when you need warm or hot water. Secondly, it instantly provides a HUGE holding tank of water that is constantly being used and refilled, so you don’t have to worry about the water going stale… THEN, if TSHTF, and there is no other water available, or no power to operate your well-pump, you will have a ready supply of water that you can a) ration as needed, and b) run through a counter-top water filter, such as the BIG BERKEY style – but at least you will have water to last for perhaps quite a while…

      • Now that is a great idea! In a bad situation, you always have the water in the heater available. But having a second tank on the side is brilliant.

    • It’s all a matter of taste and what kind of food you like. Personally, I prefer the approach of storing what you like rather than survival buckets. For example, I store lots of regular of the shelf pasta, all bought on special. They keep for years. While I rotate them, I always keep a couple of old ones, like 10 years, just to make sure and every once in a while use one of those. They never failed. Add to this canned vegetables, like tomatoes, tomato paste, mushrooms and other vegetables, etc, which also keep for years. Also think of canned fish like salmon, tuna, sardines… They bring much to your daily diet. I tend to avoid other canned meat though. Transformation and the addition of much salt and chemicals for conservation does not bold well for a balanced diet.

      I have to admit I love pasta. To each is own. Yet, this regime will bring you most of the fibers, proteins and vitamins you need to stay healthy. And all these items keeps for years. Just make sure you rotate them. Other advantage, they don’t take too much storage space if that space is properly organized. In fact toilet paper, napkins and other usual similar goods almost take more space than the food, not to mention water. And face it, if you elect to stick at home, you’ll need those as much as the food.

      For water though, the only practical way I found so far is to stock pile bottles. Any suggestion on that would be welcomed.

  101. William Wylie Burkhart says:

    Hi David,

    As a registered investment adviser and precious metals trader and owner since gold was at $400/ounce, this article had particular interest to me. I concur with your comments about how precious metals fits into a preparedness plan and your recommendations for which precious metals products to buy. A couple of points to add.

    I currently advise clients to have a minimum of 30% of their net investable monetary assets in precious metals related products. Start with physical gold and silver and add mining shares, etf’s and other products as you go. Stocks and bonds are the standard fare for investing. Relative to gold, they have lost well over 70% of their value over the last decade.

    As far as a gold/silver ratio, keep in mind that silver is quite a bit more volatile than gold. If you can handle the volatility, then I recommend physical holdings to be 30% gold to 70% silver on one end and 50/50 on the other end. The reason for this is that silver has out performed gold since 2000 and it currently takes around 40 ounces of silver to buy one ounce of gold. I expect that ratio to return to its historical norm of 16 to 1 as the metals bull market matures, which means that silver will continue to out perform gold.

    Finally, for those who say that gold is in a bubble and that it is over priced, they are sadly misinformed. In real, inflation adjusted terms, gold will have to be over $2,500/ounce to take out its 1980’s high of $850 and we are a long way from that. Lastly, precious metals and the mining shares currently constitute less than 1% of the global financial assets. Once this level reaches 25 to 35%, then we might consider whether or not a bubble exists.

  102. Walter Brush says:

    I agree! You are “Spot-On” re: buying ‘junk’ silver coins. I had already come to that conclusion and am starting to do that. I also agree that buying emergency food rations is FIRST – ahead of buying precious metals.

    I still am not completely satisfied with choices of food rations; particularly cost -vs- shelf-life. I had some leftover Y2K food that was less than satisfactory and the things I have found available are confusing as to the best value.

    Do you have any specific recommendations as to which are the best?

  103. I think of gold as a hedge against my paper dollars becoming worthless. If we are in a disaster where the dollar collapses then the gold holds it’s value but I don’t that comes into play until things stabilize and a working economy reappears. I agree with you that if people think they are going to actually trade gold for supplies *during* a disaster then they are kidding themselves. You would have a better chance trading a box of .22s for a bag of rice than a silver dime.

  104. I too, have struggled with the precious metals issue. In the end, I decided that food, water and medicine was infinitely more important. I have a handicapped child and those are going to be the core issues to our survival. I decided last month that until I could figure out a way to get more of the medicines she needs, there was no point in worrying over the precious metals issue any longer. And, I still don’t have the medicines she needs. For anyone else in the same predicament, you have to have a prescription to get meds from another country. I found plenty that I could buy alright, but not without a prescription! Until more doctors get on board and help out with the cases they know are crucial, many people will suffer!

    • Robert LaCoe says:

      Ask your wife’s doctor if her meds can be cut in half. If they can have the Dr. double the strength of her pills, buy a pill splitter, and refill the prescription as soon as possible. Check to see what herbs might help her condition, example use cinnamon to help control high blood pressure. “The Herbal Drugstore” by doctor Linda B. White is a good place to start. It is available from Rodale press.

    • Tammy, I agree. My husband and I are still working but we are semi-retired…LOL!
      (That means…Laugh Out Loud!) So, I empathize with you on the medications. Also, my oldest grandson is disabled (but not unabled!) Let me tell you a couple of secrets: first, go to your pharmacist and tell him/her that you need medication for your child and cannot afford it. If it takes a prescription, get it first from your doctor. Show it to your pharmacist, not the staff person, the pharmacist. Tell the pharmacist that you know that there is a drawer somewhere back there with applications in it to get the medications for your child cheaper . When you get it, also get the pharmacist’s name. Write it down. That name is the string. You pull that string by saying that name at times. You fill out the application, put it through the copier for your own copy to keep. Someone will help you with that or else you pull on that string until you do get some help. Take the application back to the pharmacist when he/she is there. Hand it to him/her and say his/her name. There are many “charities” also that will look into this, if necessary. Your pharmacist, at the end of the string, can help you. Insist upon it! Go to the newspapers, if necessary. If you are going down the road with your child in your car and there is a tree blocking the road, you can go over it, or under it, or around it. Now, the second secret: save your pennies. This is not a joke! The Dollar Tree has a bag of coin rollers for $1. Most are for pennies. Use them and hide them. I kid you not. I will pray for you often. Good Luck!

  105. Myke Loftus says:

    I totaly agree with getting your “basics” in order before acquiring metals. I do, however, differ with you when it comes to buying Gold over Silver. Pre-Y2K I purchased Silver rounds at approx. $5 per Troy Ounce. At the same time an ounce of Gold went for $420 p/ounce. I just sold a bunch of my silver for $35 p/ounce (600% increase). Gold is at $1430 p/ounce (only a 240% increase). If the intent is to get more “bang for your buck” I’d go with Silver rounds. I often use the “joke” you mentioned about 1000 loaves of bread for an ounce of Gold. I see it this way: if Gold goes to, say, $5000 per ounce, then Silver will only be around $122 (if it stays at the same ratio). I see it as a whole lot easier to “Barter” with something worth $122 than $5000. Another nice thing about Silver Rounds is that a lot of them look like the old Silver Dollars which most people recognize. All in all, buy your esentials first, you can’t eat metals (but some say Silver is a good anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and it will purify water: See Colloidal Silver). I just think that having Silver rounds allows you to invest some of your “wealth” by getting more “barterable” items for the price. However, as the article states, it will probably be a long time before the economy is back to where others are willing to give up their goods for precious metals. Good luck with your endeavers. M – Liberty, UT

  106. I think this is well thought out. Food and water, bug out bag, then
    Medical supplies, then protections (gun and ammo), then $5,000 cash stash,
    then some silver coins, then some gold coins.

    My slight modification on your list.

    Some place in there would be get OUT of DEBT.

    Nice list and good concepts. I am still relatively new at this.


    • Tom Farley says:

      If the defecation hits the ventilation we will all be out of debt. Use the money for yourselves now and let the banks try to collect after the colapse of civilization. Most of the rich bankers will have already been meals for the unprepared by the time things normalize!

    • I read ‘get out of debt’ a lot in this regard. However, if S really does HTF…
      What will the creditor be collecting on / repossessing?
      Of what value will a credit score be?
      If still employed, greatly devalued dollars will pay off debt faster than current dollars.
      What am I missing?

      • Grady Cole III says:

        Hi Doug:

        You mentioned that, “…greatly devalued dollars will pay off debt faster than current ones”., but that is not exactly correct. Debt is nominal which means it’s a fixed number. Deflation also brings about a decline in wages, GDP & money supply, so that a greater percentage of your wages will be needed to service your debt at the fixed amount.

    • Fred Kat says:

      Most of what we are reading is Hollywood Storyland. First of all what degree of
      disruption are we talking about. If a few days or even a few weeks, you are going to stay put in your homes and not go outside. (like they did id Libya) Water, (at least 30 gal. for 2 adults) and any ready eat can goods, soup, cereal, etc. that will
      last your family for at least 1 month. A few coleman type battery lamps, propane
      operated cooling stove and some candles will let you exist; along with a battery-solar -crank-cell phone charger radio to find out what is going on. A 5 gal can of gas in the garage may turn some off, but it may give you the ability to get out of town or to the store if you have to. If banks or ATMs are closed, a $1,000 in cash would get you further ahead that most of your neighbors. If this thing explodes into something like what is going on in Egypt or Libya then all of the suggestions
      will come into play. You may be able to defend yourself against your neighbors,
      but if the police or military are enforcing relocation or internment, all your plans
      are shot.

      • No, Fred, I don’t think all of our plans would be shot. First of all, we would feel good that we can handle our little part of the world well. Second of all, we would then have faith that we could carry on well with our positive thinking. Third, we could choose to hide any food that is left from the scavangers so we could have something when we get back, which, by the way, demonstrates hope. Fourth, we could pick up our 72 hour bags, which would include cell phone and charger, small containers of food and water, some pens and paper (pens that could be used for weapons for defense) some hidden gold/silver in the shoes for bribing, and clothes for 3 day changings, as well as documents for who you are and your property, so you could show authorities when you get back. I guess, this all amounts to hope and positive thinking. So, yeah, whatever happens, the work will be worth it.

  107. If TSHTF, lead and brass will be more valuable than gold or silver. Even if you don’t own a .22, have several 500 round bricks of .22 LR ammo. You can trade that for food easier than silver or gold.
    BTW you can purchase a .22 single shot rifle from about $130.00 new. Put a 4x rimfire scope on it for about $45.00 and you can get a lot of small game, from squirrels to rabbits to turkeys. If you are a good shot, you can even take deer with a head shot under 50 yards.
    If you are looking for your own .22 rifle, I suggest the Ruger 10/22, basic model, available for about $200.00. It is accurate, reliable and simple to use. No, I don’t work for Ruger 🙂

    • I agree 100% on 22 ammo be a great barter option but for a 22 rifle I would chose a semiauto as my last option because most of them will only shot 22lr and I like having more options. I have a lever action and scope and can shot any 22 other than 22 mag. My 22 ammo collection includes CB’s so I can kill small game silently.

    • Jeff, thank for the coment. I would like to ask you, though, are you quoting prices from a gun store, a pawn shop, or someplace like Walmart? My husband and I have been looking, and around here, in Texas, the guns are twice as much, at best. He wants a handgun, I want a rifle. At these prices that we see here, I don’t know if we can get anything but some fixings to make traps from, like big mouse traps and chains with locks, and a bunch of rocks! Any ideas for us?

      • Caribou says:

        Look for a used gun, like a used car the first owner takes the biggest hit on depreciation. You can also check the internet for pricing and even purchase. I check the price at Bud’s and a couple other places before I buy a used gun so that I know what a gun is worth new then I offer 50% of that so I can pay 60%.

    • Exactly my thoughts on metal. Lead and brass cost a lot less than gold or silver, has a much more useful utilization and barters much more easily.

  108. Geena Gador says:

    Good advice … the best yet. I’ve bought half a dozen Silver Eagles, but your article has clarified my priorities. I have only just begun storing food. I see now that stored food will be way more practical than gold or silver when the time comes. Store the food first, then acquire silver and gold.

  109. Ron Smith says:

    A few comments on the heirarchy of needs…as a rule of thumb you can always refer to the rule of 3’s for life…you can only go without air for 3 minutes, you need water within 3 days, and food within 3 weeks. This helps to prioritze your most basic survival needs (life). I would also recommend “CASH” be added as it “may ” be recognizable and useful in the first stages of crisis (perhaps not later on so then you need barter or precious metals (which become barter materials.)

    One other thought on gold and silver…when you are traveling (overseas especially) and there is chaos in a country (any type of chaos) and you need to get home a few ounces of gold can go along way for payments or “gratuities”/bribes to get you out of a pickle when credit cards or cash can’t or won’t do the trick. In the past in nuclear survival kits for US Navy pilots it was common to include small gold coins to be used if ever needed. Fortunately, there has been no need, but the thought process was good and preparedness was at the forefront.

    Hope this helps,
    Ron Smith

  110. We have only put away a couple thousand in silver and gold. We bought the 1/10th ounce gold coins, liberty silver dollars and some Franklin half dollars. The rest is in food and defense. I am trying to look at what is coming as an extended bad storm, but I prep for the worst and pray for the best. Good luck all.

    • Old Grouch says:

      The idea of buying Silver, as it is easily used as opposed to Gold dollars makes sense, and buying gold in 1/10 ounce is just as smart. It is easier to exchange 1/10 gold than a 1000 dollrs or more worth of gold.
      Great planning, Kevin.

  111. Option A:

    1st. Prayer and a personal relationship with our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
    2nd. Big Boys Toys and necessary essentials to go with them
    3rd. Food, clothing, emergency supplies, prescription medicine if necessary
    4th.. Shelter, transportation and gas
    5th. A viable plan for options B & C if option A fails

    • A. Gabriel says:

      Yes, relationship with the Creator first and foremost. Everything else will fall into place once you have that. I am wondering what is the best way to store water?

      • Littre Soda bottles have to be sturdy to withstand the fizz of the soda water. If a bottle falls, it won’t blow up. The plastic is better than the plastic bottles of water from the stores. I, also suggest vinegar bottles. Vinegar is a disinfectant that is mild enough for consumption. Also, someone previously suggested bleach bottles. Both of these are stronger than soda bottles, as they have to withstand the contents of vinegar or bleach. No matter the bottle, you have to put something in the water to insure bacteria will not live in there. David Morris suggests an eyedropper to put in one, or two, little drops in it. I plan to drop it into the cap to insure the right dosage to then put into the bottle. I believe in washing the outside of the bottle well, also, then putting in water with a clean funnel I use in the kitchen. (They are cheap!) Then, a drop or two into the cap. If the drops looked good, then I add them to the water, and shake up. If the water does not look clear, then I will add another small drop into the cap which goes into the bottle. Shake it up! Then, I will seal it promptly with packing tape. It can go a little smoother if the bottles are from vinegar or bleach. The bottle already has a drop or two in there that is on the sides and/or bottom, as well as the vapor. Smell to test it. So, just wash the outside, and add the water, then seal it with the tape. If you want, the bleach bottle water could be used to wash dishes, and the vinegar bottle of water could be used for washing face and hands (watch out for the eyes. it will only smart, though.) This vinegar water can be used with soap, or to be added to foods, such as soups, salads, vegetables. Vinegar water can kill bacteria, so it would be good for rinsing of potatos or other foods. When washing soda bottles, in case someone drank out of them, wash them inside and out paying particular attention to where the lips would be. I used a clean toothbrush with ample soap for this part, inside and out, and the caps. Save all the bottles and clean and fill them as you can and date them. You might tell someone who buys them that you’ll be glad to take them off their hands. Restaurants would have bleach and vinegar bottles. If possible, remember their kindness with a payback. And, one more thing, save a couple of bleach bottles with the bleach. In cases of most emergencies, bacteria will abound. Watch, especially, for mold or slime. Bleach will take care of it. I do not mean to alarm anyone of these bacteria things. In normal American life we just do not see these a lot. But, we are tough and can manage anything that should come along. Water is the most important thing to have, so, the trouble to get it and store it is worth it. So are we. Thanks, all.

      • Hi Gabriel, I agree that we must have a relationship with God if we are to survive anything of this magnitude. I have been preparing since 2000. I have found that water is difficult to store properly because if we use the common formula of one gallon of water per person per day, as has been suggested to the people in our neck of the woods. I live in Florida. A 4 person family would then require 4 gallons per day during the hotter months. A gallon of water weighs 8 pds. Times 4 is 32 pds. A weeks supply is 280 pds. Not easy to move if the need arises. Not to mention that if the water is stored in plastic food grade containers, after a few weeks in the heat (again, I live in florida) the water begins to take on the taste of the container. I used to store water in high quality food grade containers, the best I could find and they all leeched plastic taste into the water. I have found that the best thing for my neck of the woods was to get the best hiking filter I could find. I chose the Katadyn model. It will filter up to 13000 gals of water depending on how dirty the water is. It filters out all the nasty little bugs like salmonella, chryptospordium( i know its spelled wrong) etc…, Then I carry stabilized oxygen to further sanitize it. You can research what the filters are able to do at the katadyn website.Of course this is dependant on the fact that you have a supply of water to filter. This method wont work in a desert climate. It is also very portable and comes in its own mesh bag. I dont work for the company, just found this to work best for me by doing my own research. John

  112. Hello David,

    Your hierarchy of survival needs pyramid is excellent. I’ve never seen this concept illustrated so well.

    Keep up the great work.


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