Rule number one: Get out of debt! The problem with slavery, besides being immoral, is that the owner has to pay for the slave's food, shelter, and possibly healthcare. Today with the availability of easy credit, those problems have been solved for the owner. The modern slave now owes part [time] of their life [wages] to the creditors, and has to pay for their own food, shelter, and possible healthcare themselves. As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us." The Dave Ramsey plan is an outstanding program and that we use. You can position yourself into an excellent position by following his principles. I also recommend reading a post from Monsoon Matriarch about living below your means.
When you don't have any savings, a seasoned prepper will tell you that the likelihood of a personal economic disaster is 100%.
Pioneer Preppy also had another great article on how to survive the collapse, which is also recommended reading. My advice and his are very similar. The slow slide will be ugly. As groups of people fall under government care, the mobs won't be protesting the government. They will be cheering like the scene from Monty Python...
|"Burn the Witch"|
The frugal and prudent citizens will be penalized for their forethought and planning by new taxes, fees, and outright legal theft.
I have always been a big proponent of "Keep your cost of living low!' Get rid of cable, and use a Roku player, Netflix, and your internet for your media needs and save money. Be creative, and take a hard look at where your money is going. Eat at home, and learn some new recipes from your food storage.
Education can also be a key to surviving the collapse. Whether it be the medical field, accounting, or other very essential services. Your low level entry positions will be nothing but modern day serfs, that can barely eke out a living. The working class heroes will be the ones that suffer by the decisions made from the ivory tower executives. The lifestyle of the educated may not be lavish, but can be somewhat comfortable. A word of warning though, help out the less fortunate with your education. Just like Stalin executing the leaders and educated from Stalingrad, the new leaders will fear people that can think critically and independently. Be ready to leave on a moments notice to a rural retreat.
The rural retreat will be one of the most pressured in the beginning. It is easier to control the city than the countryside, as evidenced in Afghanistan. The pressure to drive people into the cities will be through higher gas prices, taxes, and jobs. Pioneer Preppy has the right ideas: barter, self-sufficiency, agricultural over-production, and off-grid thinking.
Barter and the underground economy is going to be essential to avoid taxation. Keep a low profile, and only exchange what is absolutely needed. This isn't the time to increase your wealth. If you start making plays for profit, then you could receive extra attention to your farm and family.
The trading of surplus agriculture will have a two-fold effect. The first one is by offering a good deal to the neighbor-in-need, you are promoting charity and goodwill. The other is to provide a source of currency for taxes and fees that the government will impose. I would suggest at least a 200% personal consumption rate. This allows for crop failures, and other unforeseen factors. Anything over 200% should be fair game for trading, charity, or sale. Practice food preservation techniques before the stores are not available.
Off-grid thinking will lower your energy cost, and reliance on others. Remember that the collapse will be easier for those that require less outside input. A solar panel for your water pump to fill your water barrels will be invaluable. Water is your number one priority. The beauty of off-grid thinking is that after the initial cost, your monthly bills are lowered or the same. Solar panels to recharge batteries for light and tools would also be a valuable asset. Basically anything that you can control for your basic survival, the better off you are.
Use cash to purchase items that you don't want tracked. Matter of fact, start using cash on a regular basis and make it a normal pattern for your behavior. Prepping items should be bought with cash, and without loyalty cards, or membership cards. Nothing tracked means that you can cache it. The same goes for firearms, buy with cash from a private buyer. No records means that you can cache or hide it.
These are just a few of my thoughts, and hopefully I've sparked a few ideas of your own. As always, comments are welcomed and encouraged. Expansion on any of these ideas, or points that I may have missed are encouraged as well.
Keep Right On Prepping - K