As if the soaring inflation rates weren’t enough, now it looks like we’re headed into a recession.
At publication time, the current annual inflation rate is 9.1% in June 2022. According to Trading Economics, this is “the highest since November of 1981, from 8.6% in May and above market forecasts of 8.8%.”
Specifically, “Energy prices rose 41.6%, the most since April 1980, boosted by gasoline (59.9%, the largest increase since March 1980), fuel oil (98.5%), electricity (13.7%, the largest increase since April 2006), and natural gas (38.4%, the largest increase since October 2005). Food costs surged 10.4%, the most since February 1981, with food at home jumping 12.2%, the most since April 1979.”
Inflation leaves no one untouched. Add to that a looming recession, and American households are about to feel the pinch even more – especially if we start seeing massive layoffs.
As of July 2022, government data reported a two-quarter decline, which is the common definition of a recession (the White House might beg to differ, but we’re not going to get into that today).
In addition, the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates again in July another 0.75 basis points – the fourth rate hike this year for a total of 2.25%. The goal with these rate hikes is to try to tamp down the hottest inflation we have seen in nearly 40 years.
Nearly all of us are feeling inflation, and now we’re all going to feel the impact of these Fed rate hikes, too – if we aren’t already.
Inflation, recession, or both...our wallets are hurting, and it doesn’t seem like relief is coming anytime soon.
While the “experts” spend time arguing about whether America is officially in a recession, we need to use our time and energy to recession-proof our livelihoods.
Use these 10 tips to recession-proof your life and save money for the uncertain days ahead.
1. Purchase Valuable Goods Now
Many of the items people spend money on today will be worthless in a recession. On the other hand, many inexpensive items will be valuable.
Items such as toilet paper, light bulbs, batteries, and coffee will be useful in your home and for bartering. Stock up on a year’s worth of these items when they go on sale.
2. Build a Well-Stocked Pantry
One of the first signs of economic turmoil is rising food prices—as we all know too well. Every time we go to the supermarket, we feel the pinch.
The average price of a dozen large, grade A eggs was $2.52 in April, $2.05 in March, and $1.93 in January 2022– compared to about $1.40 in the spring of 2019!
In June 2022, a pound of white bread hit a record high of $1.69, and artisanal bread costs as much as $10.
Don’t expect prices to drop anytime soon. Prepare by building and maintaining a well-stocked pantry.
Now is the time to incorporate shelf-stable, budget-friendly foods such as pasta, beans, and bread-making mixes. Also, make sure you have plenty of long-term emergency food on hand. You never know when you may have to go a few weeks—or months—without food available.
Another plus is how much money you can save eating long-term foods—especially if you have a large family to feed. Just add water and enjoy a delicious meal in a matter of minutes.
3. Grow Some of Your Own Food
Growing your own veggies is the best way to ensure you always have food. Don’t let limited outdoor space deter you. Learn how to grow veggies and fruits in pots.
Summer is almost over, so see about growing fall and winter crops. Even if it’s sprouts or an indoor herb garden, start growing something now. Every little thing you grow will help compensate for the extra money you have to spend at the grocery store.
Get really good at growing one type of vegetable, and you can barter for food or goods should things get really tight.
4. Get in Better Financial Shape
There’s no better time than right now to know where you stand financially. You don’t want to go into a recession with the weight of debt on your shoulders.
Take an honest look at your spending habits. Are you living beyond your means? Are you splurging on things when you should be saving for emergencies? Are you subscribing to more services than you need?
Make a plan to eliminate overspending, and see where you can make cuts to pay down debt, build an emergency fund, or stock up on food and goods.
5. Get Comfortable Living with Less
With recession comes financial setbacks. Those who are comfortable living with less will handle these situations far better than those who need all the extras to survive.
What little changes can you make today? Can you walk or bike to work instead of driving? Do you need to use the air conditioner all day, every day?
If you need inspiration, look to the resourceful men and women who survived the Great Depression. They not only learned to live with less, but they also found ways to use the few items they had for a variety of purposes.
[Related Read: 10 Survival Lessons from the Great Depression]
6. Stock Up on Tools
Recessions can last from a couple months to over a year. You want to have as many tools that make it possible to extend the usage of items you own so you don’t have to buy something new or pay for repairs.
What tools do you need that could make things last longer?
For example, if you have to purchase water to drink, invest in a water purification system. You’ll save a lot of money over time and get peace of mind that your water is safe to drink.
Just as important: have an array of handyman tools for fixing things around the home so you don’t have to pay higher prices later—or worse, wait months for specific items to be back in stock.
7. Barter, Barter, Barter
Bartering has proven a helpful way to stay alive throughout history, even in the worst of situations. But things don’t have to completely fall apart for you to start bartering.
Take time now to stock up on vices, salt, seeds, and even medications—items that are highly valuable when times get tough.
Brush up on valuable skills you have that you could barter for food or supplies.
Then, talk to your neighbors, parent groups, and friends about bartering. It will save you a ton in the long run.
[Related Read: Top 10 Bartering Items + Skills Every Prepper Needs]
8. Build Community
It’s important to be self-reliant. Just as important is community, because without others, it’s much harder to survive.
It’s been proven that, in times of crisis, it is your neighbors who will be your greatest support. Knowing who you can trust, who has beneficial skills, and who is also prepared will work to your advantage.
Those with community will find greater success bartering and sharing meals and tips than those without.
9. Learn or Brush Up on Survival Skills
A recession doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be stranded in the wilderness, but many survival skills will prove worthwhile. For example, knowing how to hunt and fish will go a long way toward feeding your family—especially if food prices continue to rise.
Even knowing how to sew and mend clothing will be useful.
[Related Read: What We Can Learn from the Make Do and Mend Campaign]
10. Add Another Income Stream
Take preventative measures by adding an additional income stream.
Turn your hobby, such as candle making or beekeeping, into a business venture. Offer classes teaching survival skills. Provide handyman services for your neighborhood or church.
Prepare today for a recession tomorrow, friends.
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply