Survival Economics: What to Hoard

Every person you talk to seems to have a different opinion on the value they think some things will hold after a global crisis or crash. I like to approach the subject in a no nonsense way the makes the most sense for real life situations and constraints we all have.

In a perfect world I’d say stockpile oil and gasoline, but realistically how much of that can most of us actually store in and around our homes. It’s important to focus on important items, why they’ll be valuable, how they can help save your life, and their various uses.

Think About What You’re Hoarding And Why

I recently had an interesting conversation with a local survival shop owner. It’s an Army/Navy type store and I often go there to discuss news and survival topics with him. He told me the “in” thing right now is to store coin, and he himself had started a large collection of nickels and dimes that he is confident would be a valuable trading source if TEOTWAWKI hits home. After he pulled out a sack full of dimes and nickels I started asking myself a few basic questions, one of which was “if the end of the world as we know it happens, who the hell’s going to want dimes?”

He explained that people would still require some form of currency and trading. He has his belief, I have mine. I tend to think that the most valueable assets are going to be those assets that have real-world survival applications: nails, hammers, bullets, dried food, even mason jars with lids and plastic bags will have more value than coins in my opinion – but it’s important to form your own opinion based upon what you know about your area. Where I live it makes more sense for me to stockpile ammunition, food, and building materials than it does dimes or currency.

I think a good plan is to make a list of some of the essential products you and your family use the MOST, and try to store as much of that as you can considering the expiration date and the amount you use per week. For example if ketchup has a 2 year shelf life, and your family uses one bottle of ketchup per month, it should be feasible to store 24 bottles of ketchup, and then buy 1 per month. Keeping the ketchup stored properly in a linear, dated fashion will allow you to use the oldest ketchup while adding your newly purchased ketchup to the back of the line. (There’s a terminology called FiFo, which stands for First-in First-out, this is what we’re trying to achieve with a setup like this)

Keep in mind this doesn’t have to all be purchased at once, you can start slow by just buying two bottles every month, and before you know it you’ll be on your way to a two year storage plan.

Good Items To Hoard For Survival Situations

There’s an infinite amount of items and objects you can save or hold on to to keep you and your family ahead of the pack in a survival situation. I’m going to list out some of the things I find myself storing more and more of, and a brief reasoning as to why.

  • Foods – Dried, Canned: Food is really a no-brainer, it’s the most universal of commodities. In or out of a survival situation you can use food year round. Canned foods can last for years, and you can incorporate your daily buying routines into  your long term food storage routines easily with canned products. Get a  Soup Can Rack or a similar canned good storage device, use the oldest cans, they come out on the bottom with this type of system, and put new cans you just purchased on top. 3-4 racks like this and a few boxes of stored canned goods can provide 6-8 months worth of food for your family with ease. You can also store high-calorie solutions in an extremely small space with products like the Emergency Survival Food 100 Meal Kit which as long as you have a source of water can provide lots of meals, or meal additives and has an unbelievably long shelf life. I have written other articles on drying, see Fruit Drying, and Drying Apples.
  • Seeds: If you live in an area where you can have a garden you should be growing and cultivating your own seeds and plants. It’s also important to keep an emergency stash of good value garden crops that will perform will for you in a single season should you need more food, or want to balance your survivability chances. (Visit our sister blog for an article on good value garden crops). I find keeping a set of seeds for 1-2 years is more than fine to keep germination rates high, after that time period you’ll want to swap them out with fresh seeds. This should only cost 10-20$ every few years for a large stash of a variety of seeds.
  • Tools: Tools are one of the things most of us take for granted, imagine trying to drive a nail with a stone – doable but not pleasant. Fortunately most tools are reasonably priced and easy to obtain. You don’t need a massive set of tools to be adequately prepared, just storing a few extra hammers, shovels, pick axes, nails, knives, saws, wheelbarrows, sharpening stone or equipment, and axes will give you an excellent bartering chip if you ever need to trade tools, and make you a valuable commodity in your survival community.
  • General Supplies: General supplies can include everything from extra fishing equipment to toilet paper, but in terms of some of the highest value items (and believe me toilet paper is high on the Mrs.’s list), I find that things like plastic bags, Ziploc bags, canning jars, tape, pens/pencils, matches, extra can-openers, and condiments can all be worth their weight in gold for trading in survival situations.
  • Medical Supplies: While I don’t have much experience in the medical profession, it’s very obviously a good idea to keep a stash of the most basic medical supplies on hand for when the local ER closes it’s doors. There are several First Aid Kits available that have a variety of  day-to-day medicines. This is an area where really the best-laid plans can always fall short, and it’s impossible to prepare for every injury you might sustain or illness you might contract. It’s a good idea to make friends with neighbors who have some degree in medicine be it veterinary, pharmacy, etc. These people will become valuable resources and have superior knowledge in regards to the best things to stockpile. For your own purposes make sure to have plenty of alcohol, several first-aid kits, lots of gauze, and an assortment of vitamins and over-the-counter medications like Aspirin.
  • Ammunition: I can’t say enough about the importance of storing ammo. It lasts forever, has broad appeal to anyone in a survival situation, and is a usable, tangible product. Ammunition, probably only second to food, will be, in my opinion, one of the most sought-after high value barter items at TEOTWAWKI.

Additional Reading:

1. Preserving Summer’s Bounty: A Quick and Easy Guide to Freezing, Canning, and Preserving, and Drying What You Grow
Good value garden crops
Fruit Drying, and Drying Apples

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5 Responses to Survival Economics: What to Hoard

  1. Pingback: Long Term Survival Preparedness Introduction | Blog To Survive

  2. Pingback: Food Additives That Store Forever | Blog To Survive

  3. Chris says:

    In regards to your hoarding blog submission, I would like to point out that petro products, ESPECIALLY highly refined products like gasoline, do not have a long shelf life. Without stabilization, they breakdown in short order. People need to realize this. While it is possible to prolong gasoline’s shelf life, if is still a finite resource that has to be consumed relatively quickly, ESPECIALLY if it is expected to be used in the most modern fuel injected vehicles.

    Secondly, you mention ammo, like most writers in this community but I seldom see people talking about the realistic need for some uniformity with their ammo and weapons supplies. People denigrate the 9mm, and I personally am far from a fan, but let’s face it, it IS the NATO standard sidearm and SMG ammo. In many of the situations we could envision, I would expect a proliferation in Beretta M-92’s and other miltary standard sidearms (and their clones) that NATO troops carry. In the same vein, I would stockpile .223/5.56mm NATO, as it is the standard battle rifle ammo for NATO troops, even for some of the machine guns like the M-249. Why am I stressing these calibers? Because of the likelihood of military troops patrolling large sections of the country, and many could be UN or NATO troops. As the situations deteriorated, the weapons of these troops would find their way into the hands of partisans, criminal, insurgents, and average joes trying to get by. Having ammunition for these weapons could make one rich. Similarly, a stockpile of magazines is advised. Beretta, Sig, and Glock have cornered much of the military and law enforcement market, so it is advised to have ammo (9mm, .40, and .45ACP) and magazines for these for bartering purposes. Many nations and law enforcement agencies carry the ubiquitous M-16 or one of its many clones or variants. the AR black rifle market is huge in this country, especially since Brady expired and so many bubbas who never served have pretensions of being in SEAL Team 6 and play Call of Duty. These magazine are almost universally interchangeable. Additionally, companies like Kel_tec make their own designs that recieve AR style magazines.

    While I am not discounting .30/7.62 calibers, indeed I swear by some of them, I am talking about hoarding. My thoughts on heavier mil standard weaponry are that people need to think long and hard and be trained on their use before committing to getting them. However, a small hoard of .308 ammo can’t hurt your barter position. Keep in mind that not all .30’s are the same.

    As for the foriegn weapons crowd. Though I have never faulted the AK family and Glocks for their mechanics (can’t really beat them), I am not a personal fan. However, the proliferation of Glocks, CZ’s, and Marakovs globally might lead one to look into getting some magazines for them. The AK (47, 74, and its variants and clones) is the most widely manufactured weapon system in history so magazines and some basic parts might be advised, as well. Just my pre-82 two cents…

    • Dono says:

      Great feedback Chris. Completely agree on all points. In some of my other writing I do address the need for uniformity and hoarding of commonly used rounds.

      Thanks for your post!

  4. leanne says:

    Ammo second to food eh? Now I know for sure the society I live in is sick! Personally I’m stocking up on harmonicas, that way at least I can cheer everyone up while you’re all fixin to shoot at one another. I think I’d rather perish anyway, than suffer in a world where everyone is out for their own and shoots anyone who wants to share. Ketchup, really, give me a break, might as well shoot yourself now, if you eat that stuff.

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