9 Things To Do to Prepare for Hard Times Ahead

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: July 4, 2019
9 Things To Do to Prepare for Hard Times Ahead

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Most Prepper types that I know appear to have a common trait: they are good at evaluating risks then moving to mitigate those risks in a nimble manner.  What that means, in somewhat plainer English, is they have the ability to evaluate a situations, make a plan, learn from it, and ultimately act in a responsible manner.

Along those lines, more recently I have done some personal analysis and put more focus on what I call “hard times ahead”.  With my disaster preps more or less in order, I want to ensure that my own household will get through a period of difficulty when, for instance, there is not enough food, work, or money to go around.

9 Things To Do to Prepare for Hard Times - Backdoor Survival

A couple of years I shared 7 Tips to Prepare for Hard Times.  Today, with even more concern about an eminent financial collapse, I suggest 9 more tips to prepare for hard times ahead.

Are You Ready for Hard Times? 9 Things You Can Do Now

1.  Accumulate cash and store it under your mattress, preferably in small denominations

No silly, I don’t really mean that you should store cash under your mattress (so do not come over and look under mine!). Rather, you will want to store cash is some well-hidden place or places where you can get to it in secret, if needed.  Although I have not done so yet, I plan to locate a cache of bills underground in two or three different locations.

Now that I think about it, burying a supply of heirloom seeds, well sealed in Mylar bags, might be a good idea as well.

2.  Practice blending in and looking normal and nondescript

Even if you are normally reclusive and keep to yourself, get out in the community and be seen.  Wear drab clothing and look ordinary.  The point is that you want to be seen as a “regular” but not noticed because you appear different or worse, as a stranger to the community.

3.  Practice haggling and the art of barter for goods and services

A good place to start is at flea markets or thrift shops. In my big-city days I have even tried this in boutiques but I never did have enough nerve to do so while shopping for shoes at Nordstrom.

For many, this will take you outside of your comfort zone so start modestly and work your way up toward more sophisticated barter transactions.

See:  101 Low Cost Items to Barter When the SHTF

4.  Take care of major or minor health concerns now

Get your teeth cleaned and take care of any dental work that needs to be done.  If there is a medical procedure you have been putting off, do so now.  Are you overweight and in poor physical shape?  Cut out sweets for awhile and start walking to build your stamina.

5.  Keep your vehicles in top working condition and always top them off with fuel

A vehicle does not have to be a shiny new model in order to function well.  As a matter of fact, part of “blending in” means you will have an older vehicle but one that is well taken care of.

Here is Washington state, many of us have Subaru’s because they are four-wheel drive and run forever.  Have a white Subaru in my State?  That is the surest way to hide in plain sight.  See what I mean?

6.  Take care of home repairs that have been on the deferred maintenance list forever

This one is near and dear.  My home was built in 2006 so it is fairly new.  On the other hand, it is getting to the point where walls need to be touched up, boards on the porch need to be nailed down, plumbing fixtures need to be checked for leaks, and a lot more.

All of those little things around the house that have been put off may be an mere annoyance now, but down the road?  Anything and everything in disrepair can and will come back to haunt you.

7.  Learn to cook bulk foods from food storage

In a recent comment, a Backdoor Survival reader took issue with the “store what you eat” mantra of food storage.  And in a way she was right but with this twist.

Without question, beans, rice, oats, wheat and the like are going to be the cheapest food storage items out there.  Rather than shun them because you don’t eat them now, learn to prepare them in such a way that they become palatable to your family.  For very little money, you can store a year’s worth of bulk foods.  Perhaps they will not be as tasty as a juicy hamburger, but you will not starve.

Respect for the Lowly Pinto Bean - Backdoor Survival

I suggest you start with the ubiquitous pinto bean:  Respect for the Lowly Pinto Bean

8.  Make arrangements for alternate living quarters just in case

This is a two way street.  If something should happen and you could not live in your home, where would you go?  It would be nice to have a reciprocal arrangement with family or friends, even if they are not preppers.

Speaking for myself, I have set up such an arrangement with friends and likewise, have prepared my small home with those things that will be needed in the event my non-Prepper brother and his family needs a place to stay.

9.  Learn to become self-entertaining without spending money

Like an old broken record that has a repeating skip, I am again telling you to become self-entertaining.

Learn to enjoy your free time without being dependent upon money, cable-TV, or trips to the shopping mall.  Read, ride a bicycle, play cards or board games, dance or go for a hike.  There are are way more pursuits to keep you occupied than I can list here, and yet it amazes me how many people can not stand to be by themselves.


The Final Word

As cliché as it may sound, prepping IS overwhelming.  Likewise, it is a lifestyle choice that will provide insurance against disruptive and possibly catastrophic events.  I find it interesting that whereas the US government promotes preparedness, they tout economic recovery rather than prepping for hard times.

Let us take control of our future and prepare for hard times.  They may, or may not occur, but at least we will be ready.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Bargain Bin:  Below you will find links to some personal and BDS reader favorite items and books as well as a selection from the current Amazon Top 10.

One Second After:  For many, the novel "One Second After" was a game changer that convinced them of the need to be prepared.  This is mu number one pick for anyone and everyone that might be on the fence when it comes to preparedness.

Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse: Although this is also a book of fiction, it is also serves as a survival manual of sorts.  The depiction of society three years following a collapse is so very real that I could almost put myself in the same room as the members of the survival group that has banded together to protect each other as they live in a communal retreat.  The section on a bartering market was hugely insightful and gave me some idea of how it might work in a real, SHTF situation.  Considering when this was written, Patriots is eerily timely.

Clara's Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression: If you don’t know about Clara, be sure to read Depression Cooking: A Visit to Clara’s Kitchen.

The Beginning Of The End:  This is Michael Snyder’s first novel.  If you want to know what things in America are going to look like in a few years, this is the book to read.  It is a mystery/thriller set in the United States in the near future.  Need I say more?

Tac Force TF-705BK Tactical Assisted Opening Folding Knife 4.5-Inch Closed: FAVORITE! This is a great knife that is currently priced at under $9.00 with free shipping.  Not only that, it is ranked as the #1 best seller at Amazon in both the camping and hunting knives categories.  The reviews raved about this knife so I bought one, used it, and and can recommend it.  See The Inexpensive Tac-Force Speedster Outdoor Knife.

Note:  the price can vary by color so if you are not particular, scroll through the colors and safe a couple of bucks.

Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: Don’t let the $20 price lead you to think this wireless flood light is wimpy. I have two of these and feel that these lights are worth double the price.  Using D-cell batteries, the Dorcy floodlight will light up a dark room or a dark stairway in an instant.  I can not recommend these enough.

LifeStraw Personal Water FilterThe Amazon Top Ten Most Wanted Survival and Outdoor Items   Backdoor Survival:  The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultra light personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out.  It weighs only 2oz. making it perfect for the prepper. There is also a larger sized LifeStraw Family currently available with free shipping.

FordEx Group 300lm Mini Cree Led Flashlight: You already know this, along with the Blocklite,  is my favorite portable flashlight.  At the time of this writing, this one is about $4.00 with free shipping.  It is super mini sized, bright and waterproof.  Plus, it uses a single, standard AA sized battery. Pictured is one that I own in green but they come in basic black as well as some other colors.

blocklite flashlight

Blocklite Ultra Bright 9V LED Flashlight: I now own six of these little gems. There is a similar flashlight called the Pak-Lite (which is more expensive) but it does not have a high-low switch like this one. Less than $8. These little flashlights just go and go, plus, they make good use of those re-purposed 9V alkaline batteries that you have recharged with your Maximal Power FC999 Universal Battery Charger.

Bicycle Canasta Games Playing Cards:  This timeless classic will keep the entire family occupied when the power it out.  Playing cards or board games should be in everyone’s preparedness pantry.

Ticket To Ride: This my favorite board game, bar none.  Family friendly, you will spend hours in front of the fireplace playing Ticket to Ride with your favorite people.  This is worth the splurge.



Need something from Amazon (and who doesn’t)? I earn a small commission from purchases made when you begin your Amazon shopping experience here. You still get great Amazon service and the price is the same, no matter what.

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The Amazon Top Most Wished For and Best Selling Outdoor Items
Emergency Preparedness Items from Amazon.com
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24 Responses to “9 Things To Do to Prepare for Hard Times Ahead”

  1. This is some very down to earth advice,try to do some cash deals and be compensated in cash(offer a discount for cash payment)its good that many others dont know your business.
    1.Also consider putting a permenant metal roof on your residence.
    2.consider learning how to do at least basic plumbing repairs(and have some handy repair parts like shark bites and a Pex crimping set and know how to unstop the water closet,these things are not hard and can preserve your privacy and save a lot of money.
    3.Get to know your neighbors.
    4.Be polite and the list goes on,dont get nutty,but be practical,keep all mechanical systems you depend on in good shape and trust your gut feeling on things,always remember nothing is going to go exactly as you imagine it.-Kevin

  2. I know what you mean about folk that cannot stand to be by themselves. It drives me around the bend to have a television on for background noise. My family jokes that my favourite channel is ‘off’ but it isn’t. I just wonder why people are afraid to hear themselves think.

    • Since I am ‘one of those people’ who have the tv on as background noise. I’ll share my why. I come from a large family. There was always some sound going on somewhere within hearing distance. Once I moved away from home, tv became that replacement for the comfort when I missed home. Radio didn’t fill it and still doesn’t. For me, it’s the visual and audio noise which helps. As to thinking, I actually think better in stress situation because it’s not quiet. Everyone is different. My daughter agrees with you. 🙂 O and being the introvert that I am, I need that alone time too. Just a different point of view. 🙂

  3. Onions, eh, Dee? Thanks for that. One of my very old ancestors used to regularly eat a lot of raw onion and mustard sandwiches. (Leftover habit/taste from The Great Depression era?) He didn’t have dentures.
    Anecdotal, for sure, and no causation. But still,… umm, it’s all, something to chew on.

    • It’s those anecdotes which make up reasons why so much has been handed down, instead of just relying on ‘research and science’ 😉 By any chance did they include cheese in those sandwiches? Was just thinking learning how to make cheese is a skill I need to learn. I will miss cheese when something does happen and I can’t get it. The dehydrated stuff just doesn’t quite do it. 😉 LOL

  4. I did that whole, “get the dental work stuff done” thing awhile back. Then I read that teeth can heal cavities. Imagine that! I wonder why my dentist never told me that? See: How to Cure Cavities, By Sarah C. Corriher The Health Wyze Report May 26, 2014.
    I wish I would have known that sooner.

    I also read that you might be better off with a gaping slot where a tooth was than to get a root canal done. Again, I wonder why my dentist never told me that? Sorry, can’t find the link at the moment.

    And, I was never told by a dentist that eating certain fermented vegetables help you with your teeth, among many other interesting things discussed in this article, Pathogens in Your Mouth Can Lead to Cancer in Other Parts of Your Body, By Joseph Mercola March 7, 2014.

    • Dental health is where onions come in. I read many years ago where onions have 2 compounds which work to prevent caries in teeth. It also has 2 other compounds which do the same for gum disease. I increased the amount of onions I eat raw and haven’t had any dental problems for those years. BTW: the article was written by a dentist. Wish I had it but I didn’t do a backup and it died with my last computer.
      There are many things doctors and dentists don’t tell us, some because they don’t know, (this is the cynical part in me) some because to tell might decrease their clients, thereby decreasing their income.

  5. What’s happening in Venezuela may be a forerunner of what might happen here. At least this may help motivate some.

  6. Try shopping at Walmart for freeze dried food. Thet are cheaper than the mfg. website and will ship free over $50.00.

    • Yep! I have bought a good deal of preps from Walmart. Ours also sells beans, rice, and flour in bulk form. at the store. The freeze dried food, online with that free shipping.

  7. Watched some cheap, easy recipes prepared last night on PBS’s Lidia’s Kitchen. This one really stood out as a “depression” type meal that is probably very satisfying. I plan to try it, as I have all the grains I need, and spinach should be in abundance in the garden in a few months. 🙂


    • Seems you have to have her cookbook for this recipe, I’ll see if it’s in the one I have.

    • Lidia is based where I live, she usually prepares low country Italian meals that are
      Filling and satisfying. Few ingredients work better than a master class
      Recipe, take it from a chef, less is more.

  8. I am relatively new to prepping; my wife showed me an interesting bit of bushcraft she found on a prepper site and now I subscribe to several, and am a full-fledged believer! I believe Backdoor Survival is one of the most informative and comprehensive sites out there. I can’t say enough about how the tips, and articles on how to do…ANYTHING have given me a sense of hope for the future of my family, and the future of our society (the PREPPER society!)as a whole.

    Knowing that I can survive–and THRIVE–in whatever direction this unstable government is is “leading” us (thinking lamb to slaughter) gives me a sense of peace for me and my family like I have never known! Thank you, and keep on prepping!!

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