where to start

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guysmilely's picture
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where to start

I have a family of four live paycheck to paycheck not much debt car and morgage,.  I'm building up food storage/water, guns and ammo. Have a little emergancy money on hand. should i try and buy silver? will it be worth it. I could only buy about $100 a month worth. Just looking for advise.

goes211's picture
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Joined: Aug 18 2008
Posts: 1114
I would not buy silver in your situation.

PM's are a good way to try and to preserve savings from inflation or complete monetary failure.   However with so little available savings I think you would be much better off buying things you know you will use in the future like canned foods, toilet paper,...  That way your savings will be put to good use no matter what happens in the future.  Also don't discount the value of having cash on hand.  The odds of needing cash at some point in the near future is far greater than the odds that your cash will suddenly become worthless.

PastTense's picture
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Keep it as cash. Since you

Keep it as cash. Since you don't have much, keep it as actual currency--until your cash reserves exceed 3 months of expenditures.

earthwise's picture
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Maybe, just a little.



Welcome aboard CM.com.

If, as you have indicated, you have a little emergency money on hand, then diverting a portion of your excess each month towards PM's might not be a bad idea provided that your well advanced on your basic survival preps (water and food a minimum). A first step however would be to comb through your budget and eliminate all unecessary spending if you haven't already done so. A piece of advice that has served me well comes from Dmitri Orlov who, when asked who would fare best when the economy collapsed, replied: "The Amish, because it takes practice being poor". Since then we practice being poor every day. It's very illuminating. But every situation is different; you must analyze yours with good info in mind. For that you've come to the right place. Spend some time and browse through the archives and do your homework.

Some questions to consider as you do:

---How secure is your employment, both now and in an economic crisis. Consider what field that you are employed in and analyze whether it will be in demand if/when everything comes tumbling down.

---Do you have an expanded support group, ie family or other, that would be secure if things got tough? If not, then everything falls on you to support your family. Quite a sobering challenge. How would you meet it and would PM's help or would cash be better.

---Are you rural , suburban or urban? If rural, then cultivating food could reduce your potential need for cash for food, thus freeing up FRN's to buy real money. But that also comes with challenges, like isolation.

---Wargame both scenarios, with and without PM's, and see how it plays out for you; but first educate yourself (first step turn off your TV, nothing much there that's worth your time).

There's so much more. But you've come to the right place. There's a whole lotta smart people here who are eager to help. And a lot of good info to boot, like the "What Should I Do" series.

Hope this helps. Good luck.



Tycer's picture
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Posts: 617
If you are itching to spend

If you are itching to spend your extra $100, don't forget clothing will go way up in price soon. Hiking boots/shoes, tough pants and shirts, Gore-Tex type rainwear, socks and underwear for everybody. Get 5 years worth of all.

For me, the idea of Nancy being able to put on socks and underwear that are clean and hole free during times of stress is very reassuring. In addition to a 72 hour kit, we have a pair of broken in waterproof walking footwear in both vehicles as well as raingear and undergarments for each of us.

Precious metals should take a back seat to basic needs, like good clothes.

summersolstice's picture
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Posts: 11
I agree. Clothing is

I agree. Clothing is essential and should not be underestimated, especially sturdy shoes and other pieces that keep you dry and warm. Whenever you are exposed to the elements, it is your clothes that keep you safe and help you feel comfortable. I'd say they are a long-term investment that will definitely pay off.

pinecarr's picture
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Posts: 2259
I agree with the folks

I agree with the folks saying that buying utilitarian clothes for your family is a good idea.  That was one of the first things I did when I started to prep.   It gave me peace of mind to know my child at least had the necessities clothing-wise for the next few years.  And even though things have held together longer than anticipated, the $ wasn't wasted.  When winter came, out magically came winter boots!

It can be tough anticipating sizes.  I probably got some extra boots and shoes to make sure we'd be covered.  But I figured others will also have a need for these, so either they will go to help friends/family, or potentially be good for bartering.

One thing I wish I had done differently would have been to buy used clothing at the local thrift shop vs spend as much as I did buying new clothes.  I didn't buy expensive clothing (I took advantage of cheap Wal Mart goods while still available), and I bought stuff incrementally over time.  But I now realize that since this is "insurance", it would have been more frugal to have just gone to the Salvation Army or local thrift shop to buy boots, coats, jeans and such in various sizes. Then I would have had more money leftovre for other prep items (or savings).

PastTense's suggestion of saving up for 3 months of expenses is also a good idea.  One of the valuable characteristics of money is that it is a medium of exchange that is accepted by others to pay debts or buy goods. So while buying clothing and other prep items is likely a good investment, it is a good idea to balance those kinds of purchases with a certain amount of cash savings.  The cash buys you "bill-paying resiliency" for a while if you lose your job, and can buy you flexibility to deal with unanticipated financial demands or emergencies if they come up.  

Good luck! 

plato1965's picture
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Joined: Feb 18 2009
Posts: 615
A few ideas.

 Examine everything you spend, ask do I really need this, if so can I get it cheaper.

 Improve cooking skills/equipment. Eat healthy and cheap, by using storable cheap basic ingredients (pasta, rice, dried beans)..

for me learning to make decent soups was a major breakthrough ! :o)

 It should cut down on your food bill, and increase the depth of your pantry.

 One thing I've started doing is saving glass jars from coffee/jam/peanut butter, and then using them to store opened pasta/beans/saved seeds from the garden, screws & bolts, fuses etc..  they're airtight, reusable, and free.

 Think about ways of reducing transport/heating costs.. warmer clothes, fix draughts, insulation, lowering the thermostat slowly and see what you can tolerate.

 Save as many nickels as you can (if you're in the US). 

 Attitude - this isn't hardship, it's a game, a challenge. ( I use this if my girls start complaining about not buying something... it's hard for them being surrounded by consumerist classmates..)

 As well as clothes, things like bedding - cotton sheets, blankets etc will be going up in price, if they haven't already...

 Google alpha strategy. - basically save in real (durable!) things, soap, blankets etc.

 Once you can't find a *better* use for any excess savings, then buy a few oz.


 "Thrift is the really romantic thing; economy is more romantic than extravagance...
thrift is poetic because it is creative; waste is unpoetic because it is waste...
if a man could undertake to make use of all the things in his dustbin, he would be a broader genius than Shakespeare."
- G. K. Chesterton 



guysmilely's picture
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Joined: Mar 20 2011
Posts: 9
thanks everyone for your

thanks everyone for your help, I never thought of buying extra cloths I will start doing that and keep storing food/water untill I have 6 or more months worth.  Clothing will be easy for my wife and I but hard to buy for my 6 month old and 4 year old. Think I will hit the thrift store this weekend.

Locavorous's picture
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Joined: Sep 30 2010
Posts: 26
kids clothes

See if there's a local 'FreeCycle' group in your area. Give something away to join, then be ready to pounce on free stuff you need. If you are a good scavenger, go ahead and become the guy who fixes things up and gives them away. This will pay dividends later, its a small world after all!

There's always Craigslist, but you need to act fast, and not be a flake. Last month I scored two pressure canners (2 is 1 and 1 is none, btw), and a box of jars for...$80! Each still had a price tag of $135 on it!

Another way to get preps going is to get a jump on gardening. Its springtime, and often hardware stores have last year's seed packets still around for cheap. Try your hand at planting beets, peas, greenbeans, various hardy greens like chard, kale, collards. You can even learn to put up your surplus for winter.

For me, having a garden growing, livestock roaming around, a couple buckets of beans and rice, a year's supply of firewood, and a box of clothes for the kids makes me sleep very well, no matter what the raging storm sounds like outside. Add my lucky silver coin and an Austrian G23, and I'm feeling pretty good.

grondeau's picture
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Posts: 35
My two cents...  Look to

My two cents...  Look to build local community.  Practice growing things.  See if there is a TIME BANK in your town.  Maybe start one.  IF we get to the point where we are counting on our guns and ammo to save us, we have already lost.

guysmilely's picture
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Joined: Mar 20 2011
Posts: 9
car loan hyperinflation

what will happen if I still owe on my car and hyperinflation and crash of the dollar hits will it be repo?

guysmilely's picture
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Joined: Mar 20 2011
Posts: 9
thanks for all your idea's

thanks for all your idea's one thing I need to learn is to cook.  what am I gonna do with wheat, rice, beans if I don't know how to cook them up and put it to good use. I will start practicing durning food rotatation.

guysmilely's picture
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Joined: Mar 20 2011
Posts: 9
1 year member

I just want to say thanks to Chris and everyone's comments.  I've been a member for 1 year now.  I was jobless for one months and all the prepping I learned to do and did from this site was a total blessing.  All I had to really buy from the grocery store were parisables,  didn't need to buy  toilet paper, water, coffee, tooth paste, diaper, ect...but wow how fast we used up everything I thought i had enough to last at least 3 months worth. I am glad I went throught that experiance to really open my eye's.  Now i've been really getting down!  Stocking up on water/water filter. 72 hour bug out bag for each memberof the family.  Freeze dried #10 cans. Deep pantry. Built solar panel w/portable generator two deep cycle battieries/800watt inverter. lots of flashlights/battieries. CB  radio/2 way radio. Medical supplies and signing up to learn cpr and first responder.  Hand gun defense class/ lots of ammo.  Couple of my neighbors involved.  4 relocation points with maps outlined to avoid major roads we get lots of hurricans and now Im see lot more torrnados. Once again thank you all.


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