Dried food. Image credit:Flickr, Caitlin Regan
Those survivalist blogs and preserved food distributors, fascinating and useful as they are, cater to a narrow total market: Michigan Militia types, Hyper-Libertarians, ammo hoarders, and so on. The preserved food distributors tend to run out of dried beans every time the price of gold ticks up. But it's all good stuff to look at and think over as you consider how best to prepare for the coming 'double dip.'
Getting practical. The dedicated survivalist approach might make sense if you own a home or are helping to start one of those transition towns (the post modern commune). Most people, however, and that includes most of you reading this, live in an apartment or condo and can't accommodate much bulk storage. Not even enough room for a gun cabinet. You'll need a style that is less Cold War-ish and more affordable.For city dwellers, the worst case double-dip impact will be marked by social upheaval: like that shown in recent London riots or the Philly flash mob attacks. The worst case also will involve longer waits at the emergency room, assuming Tea Party success with cutting government health care support. (Right after they finish "killing" EPA.)
There will be water to drink and brown rice and dried beans aplenty; but red meat is going to get pretty costly. Feijoada on rice at McDonalds anyone? Think positive: you'll lose weight because you'll have no choice.
By category, here are selected ideas on how to cope with the coming double dip. No doubt you've got some good ones to add. That's what the comment box is for.
Do you need that expensive Smart Phone? No you do not. A simple flip phone is sufficient. Hope you kept that one you had back in 2001 instead of sending it in for recycling.
Stock up on the "forever" postage stamps and a wad of envelopes.
Home entertainment must-have's.
A library card for every member of the family, assuming that after budget cuts it is still open.
A small TV you can move from place to place, with an amplified indoor HDTV antennae for when you can't afford cable service. Gone are the days of the basic rabbit ear antennae. Check out this cool looking one on Amazon.
Learn how to cook from scratch and share the learning with friends, relatives, and neighbors. Many a life long relationship begins in the kitchen.
Stock up with the basics: dried rice, flour, beans, sugar, baking powder, salt, condensed milk etc. Start out slowly so you'll learn how much you'll need to have on hand - enough that you'll be sure to use an item up before it goes bad.
Keep your eyes open for bulk containers you can use to keep pests out of what food you store. Note: plastic bags do not stop rats mice or flour moths. You need metal or ceramic or glass containers. Garage sales and junk shops are full of them.
Get involved in a community garden. Help start one next spring if there isn't one nearby.
Alertness is your best defense. If you must have something, get pepper spray. It is cheap, but must be kept away from children. Like any spray can, keep it out of the sun.
Tasers and stun guns are expensive, clumsy, need to be kept charged, and are illegal to carry in public in some municipalities.
Guns are very expensive, uncomfortable to carry, and more far more dangerous than protective unless you are skilled and have a way to stay in practice. Not a practical alternative for most.
You can never have enough tools. From sewing kit to ratchet wrench and screwdriver set, start your collecting. Used is fine. In fact, old tools were often made far stronger and are longer lasting than new ones sold in modern hardware stores.
Suppose you are a day trader or a financial analyst and single. Now would be a good time to marry someone in the health care profession. Other that than, make sure your medicine cabinet is stocked well, get certified in first aid, and maybe buy a hard copy of the Merck Manual.