From Side Hustle to Survival: Skills to Monetize for the Apocalypse

skills for the apocalypse

When the power grid goes down and stays down, local economies will focus on the basics, and trade goes low-tech.  NOW is the time to think about how you will be able to manufacture goods or offer services from home that you can use for income or barter today or for future survival, if necessary.

The purpose of this list is to get the reader thinking about ways to earn income or barter with such skills should the need arise. The ideal side gig is one that has a low or no start-up cost, won’t take long to learn to do, and can be earning immediate income in a variety of ways (including using online platforms), yet can be adapted easily and continued in a grid-down or societal collapse scenario.

Here is a list of 50 modest side gigs you can begin now, earn extra money, and be ready to go low tech if and when the time arrives.

1.  Sell firewood. Everyone will need a way to cook their food and keep their dwellings warm. Contact the local US.  Forest Service office and inquire about getting a permit to harvest downed trees. Take a truck and a chainsaw and you’re in business.  Cut the logs, split it, stack it, and season it. You can sell by the cord, or by the bundle.

Another way to meet the same need:  Recycle paper into “fire bricks.”  You can use these for fuel to heat a space, for cooking food, or use as fire starters. Here’s a YouTube video on how one family does it: 

2.  Laundry/ironing service. Before electricity gave rise to clothes washing machines and dryers, people hand-washed their apparel, hung them outdoors to dry in the sun or on indoor racks, and pressed clothes with irons heated on top of wood stoves. This is a business you can start today with all-electric tools yet can adapt beautifully to low-tech tools in a flash. Be prepared by acquiring a washtub, wash board, and a wringer to pass clothes through to eliminate excess water. Put up a clothesline or find a drying rack and find an old-fashioned iron. Secure a good supply of laundry soap such as Zote or Fels Naptha.  Practice using these low-tech tools and you will have an important skill to sell or barter.

3.  Sewing and alterations service. You’d be surprised how rare a business like this is becoming. Back in the day, being a seamstress or tailor was steady work and your family didn’t starve. Start low tech like the Amish. Get a treadle or hand-crank sewing machine, because electric-powered machines won’t work. Stockpile fabric, thread, notions, needles, sewing patterns, and replacement parts for your machine.  Concentrate on learning how to re-size items and do repairs on coats and jackets.

grid down

4.  Learn to knit or crochet. Start small to gain your skill, then concentrate on making warm hats, mittens, sweaters and socks. Stockpile yarn and anything made of wool that you can unravel and re-purpose or mend and use for barter. You can find bulk yarn at retail stores when such items are on sale, in thrift stores and garages sales.

5.  Recondition and repair shoes and boots. When the electricity goes down, how will the gas pumps run?  Walking will become the primary mode of transportation, shoes will take a beating, and people will be more mindful of taking better care of their footwear.  Start now to gain the skill to recondition and do small repairs to sneakers and boots.  Stock up on polish, leather cleaners, dyes, buffers, Shoe Goo, and all kinds of shoelaces.  Since this kind of work is all done by hand, it’s a perfect side gig to learn in stages, yet still earn income before and after the grid goes down. There are people who find quality men’s shoes in thrift stores, recondition them and then sell them for top dollar on platforms like Poshmark, Mercari or Etsy. Why not earn as you learn and do the same?  You’ll be ready when the grid goes down and trade this skill for other things you need.  Here’s a free reference tool that details shoe repair back in the day – Home book to learn expert shoe repairing.

6.  Sharpen knives and scissors.  With a small investment in proper tools and training, this type of business never goes out of style. Start by sharpening your own knives and scissors and practice using modern as well as “old school” tools. Set up routes to professionally sharpen kitchen knives at cafes and restaurants and sharpen the scissors and clippers at beauty salons and barbershops. This is not as easy as it seems, because high-end knives and scissors need to be maintained at a higher level and require a professional’s skill with a pro’s tools. Yet, having this skill will be valuable in a grid-down economy, when people will need such a service.

7.  A related but separate skill would be to find old top-quality kitchen knives, hunting knives and pocketknives to restore and sell. There is a huge marketplace for these older, well-made knives at many gun shows, online sales platforms and the market demand is growing. If you can restore these older knives, you can sell them now as a side-gig and have a ready supply of valuable and barterable items.

8.  Recondition used bicycles, mopeds, scooters, and learn how to motorize bikes. When gasoline costs skyrocket or altogether disappear, bicycles will be THE mode of human-powered transportation. Learn to recondition and repair them now and be ready. If you can also do upgrades to the average bicycle, your service will be gold! It’s possible to install solar-powered electric engines on bikes to help those who can’t pedal everywhere (the elderly, differently abled). It might be useful to learn how to take small gas-powered lawnmower engines and adapt them to bicycles, turning them into motorized bikes. These types of engines can run on alternative fuels, the manufacture of which will also become a cottage industry. Inventory will be the tricky part but start by scouring neighborhoods on trash collection day. Free is the best price!  Scrap collectors find bikes put out in the trash all the time. Or scout the freebie section of Craigslist and buy as many as you can at the lowest price you can, at garage sales.  Offer to upgrade bikes by attaching a basket in front and back, turning a regular bicycle into a bike that can haul necessities.

9.  Blacksmithing. For many, this is a personal hobby used for purposes around their homestead, yet this profession was the heart of every community before the gas-powered engine displaced horsepower. In an extended grid-down scenario, the blacksmith and his forge will be very busy.  

10.  Gunsmithing & Reloading. These two skills are incredibly important because guns are tools that help put meat on the table. Yet, without bullets, a gun is useless. So, if you are serious about maintaining your own firearms, and learning an in-demand skill, then either or both these skills will be invaluable in a future grid-down economy. You will certainly be able to provide for yourself and others if you can do them.

11.  Food production. In a grid-down and supply-chain down scenario, food production becomes life or death important. There is a learning curve to all types of gardening, so you better start now to learn how to raise fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Learn the easiest gardening by knowing how to sprout seeds to produce greens for salads and sandwiches. If you can learn sprouting, you can also learn to grow micro-greens at home. Many who started out simply to learn how to sprout and grow their own micro- greens, have developed their own sprout and micro-green business and sell their crops to local grocery stores and restaurants. This is a way to become a farmer without owning farmland. Plus, you can do a business like this anywhere. All it takes are a few relatively inexpensive items and the space to set them up. One can start such a business for as little as $300 – $500.

  In addition to learning how to garden, there are attendant skills which involve processing food items for consumption, such as:

12.  Do you own a dairy cow?  If you own a dairy cow, learn to make butter, cheese, and yogurt and sell it fresh. Even if you don’t own a cow, can you get access to a cow and/ or purchase milk for creating these dairy products?  If you own a goat, you can also harvest the goat milk and turn it into other products like cheese and yogurt. Or get access to goat milk for such purposes.

13.  Do you own egg-laying chickens?  If you own chickens, you can sell the extra eggs.  You can also sell the hens who no longer produce eggs, as meat chickens.

14.  Do you know how to water-bath can and/or can use a pressure cooker for long-term food preservation? You can teach it to others now and offer it as a barter-able service to others and help them preserve the produce of their own gardens.

15.  Do you know how to make flour from wheat berries, and flour from other grains and dry legumes?  Do you have the manually powered tools to hand-grind corn?  Pair this with learning to bake bread from scratch, and you will have a wonderful skill to enjoy both now and into the future no matter what comes.  The Amish sell home-made breads in their stores and have the skills necessary to grind their own flour, if needed be.  You can learn to do this, too.  If you have the means, you can scale the milling of grains and dried legumes into a larger business, just like our pioneer ancestors did with water-powered mills.

16.  Another interesting thought would be to find a manually powered corn shelling machine, (if it is old, restore it to good working order), then offer that service to a local corn grower in exchange for other food items they may grow. Corn shelling machines were used to separate the dried kernels of corn from the cob. The kernels would be used as seed corn for future crops, as farm animal feed, and could be processed into corn flour for breads like cornbread and tortillas.

17.  Start a produce business. Start as a middleman and buy from a produce wholesaler in your area, then resell at retail prices. Don’t forget many down and out people sold apples during the Great Depression to make ends meet. This is an easy business to start because you can buy bags of apples and oranges and start selling them at flea markets, door to door, on street corners or at the farmer’s market. Develop routes for personal deliveries of produce. Take bags of fruit and veggies and drive through campgrounds and RV parks and sell from your vehicle. Make sure you are not violating any local soliciting laws. If you go through campgrounds, ask permission of the park manager first. This business can be adapted to benefit people who will be growing much of their own food and need a way to barter with it (which you can supply) and can be re-tooled to go low tech through distribution by bicycle.

18.  Save vegetable seeds and sell them. Get heirloom varieties that are hardy and save enough seeds to put together packets to sell before the next growing season. Be sure to save enough for your own needs but set aside enough to sell or barter. This works especially well for people who can grow very large gardens, but even a small plot or container garden can grow food enough to save and sell seeds.

  You can start and continue various food production businesses like these regardless of what happens in the future, because food products and their attendant skills, are the ultimate barter item(s).

19.  A food-related skill, but with a broader usage is learning to identify rare or native edible plants in your area. Our ancestors knew how to identify and forage for foods that grew in abundance in the woods and along streams and lakes. Many of these native plants would be used as herbal medicines, teas, and seasonings in cooked dishes. Start by reading books in your local library about native food plants in your area, then find the field guides that you can use as references. You can find local experts in this field and learn from them, so that in time, you will be able to teach others to do the same, as well as forage for those plants that can be legally harvested, then cultivated, and propagated into more plants to consume, and to sell or barter. So, as you see, there are many ways to capitalize on this skill.

20.  Learn to harvest fish, and snare small birds and animals for food. Good fishermen know the secrets of their favorite fishing holes. The use of simple snares has caught many a meal, but can you gut and clean the fish?  Can you kill a snared animal, prep and cook it? These are very important skills to have in the short term after a grid-down or societal collapse.  Yet, how soon will the lakes, rivers and streams be stripped of aquatic life, and forests made quiet by the disappearance of animals as famine stalks the land?  We have all read the stories of how even the zoo animals disappeared in the Socialist takeover of Venezuela.

21.  Can you clean and dress a deer or elk?  Can you butcher a steer or pig?  These are very important skills to know because, so few do them now. And if the grid goes down, there will be no grocery stores, so where will people get meat?  People will be raising farm animals for food production, so it’s a natural service to offer or pair with ranching and hunting.  You can find an independent butcher in your area and ask if he will teach you.  Perhaps you can reach a proficiency level where he will expand his hours and pay you, which can be a nice part-time job now, but even more valuable if the grid goes down, at least until the natural food supply is depleted.

22.  Make Safe Drinkable Water. If the power grid goes down, electric pumps at water treatment plants will stop running. Even with a back-up generator, that, too, will eventually stop due to lack of fuel. At the very least, the production of safe drinking water will be drastically reduced, and this will cause much hardship, and an opportunity for trade and barter. You can help the situation by preparing beforehand.  Learn how to provide safe drinking water now with a myriad of tools and skills you can access now. 

Having a way to properly remove contaminants from various water sources like rivers, ponds, lakes, or rainwater collection, will be a high-priority and greatly valued. Many people already have water treatment tools like a Berkey filter which they use to remove chlorine and other chemical contaminants which are already found in municipally- treated water. Most water filters are expensive, yet you can find less-expensive ways to filter water using 5-gallon buckets, and charcoal filters you can purchase in bulk.  With regular cleaning, most charcoal filters (also called “candles”) will filter up to at least 2000+ gallons of water.  Stockpile these while you can, and set-up systems you can use to have access to untreated water, which you can treat for safe consumption.  These systems may involve installing a well in your backyard, so you will need to purchase a home well kit and the tools to maintain your well properly. You could make a side income by building, and installing a rainwater catchment system for others, or create a digital download or print-out with instructions on how to source and purify water in a grid-down situation. If you can provide safe, potable water and/or the means to purify it for others, you will have a sure-fire product to sell or barter.

23.  Learn to make useful items from local sources such as wood, and clay. Learn to carve bowls, cups, and utensils from wood, and to make cups, plates, bowls and pitchers from clay. These products have always had a great appeal to people who appreciate the potter’s and woodcarver’s craft and will still be sought after in the future.

24.  Learn basic carpentry skills, especially how to source and provide wood for repairing existing homes if the power goes down. This will require specialized tools like a variety of manual handsaws, having solar-powered tools and battery or electric powered chain saws you can hook-up to a solar battery. Pick a specialty that serves more than one purpose, like learning to build storm shelters/root cellars. Install them yourself for others for income now or put together DIY kits and sell and deliver those as well. You can also create a printed version of the plans for DIYers and sell them as digital downloads online. Learn to make bricks from dirt, sand, and straw or cob and make these items to sell or teach others how to make them and build with them.  

25.  In a societal collapse, people will be trying to get home or to reach family. The roadways will be busy with people walking. Think about what they might need for the journey. Why not create portable bedrolls?  With very low start-up costs, you can make the ground cover which can be rolled-up, slung across the body and carried as you walk.  Learn how to make this for sale or barter.  See how they are made, here:

Pair the ground cover with a blanket along with a small pup tent or plastic tarp which can be turned into a tent, and you have very useful items to sell or trade. Keep your costs low by finding these extra items on sale in retail stores, thrift stores and garage sales.

26.  Find used kid’s wagons and recondition them. Think Radio Flyer. Or make your own and sell them. You can re-purpose wheels off baby carriages, hand-pulled golf carts, and old bikes. Attach them to a wooden box you build, and you have a cart someone else can use to haul things. These will be like gold for people who need to shuttle anything around. Connect them to bicycles so that they can be pulled behind one, and they become even more useful. You can pair a bike with a cart and offer to shuttle things for people who don’t own these tools and can’t do it themselves.

27.  Learn to make large baskets or tote bags, from free or discarded materials. Without gasoline to power vehicles, people will be looking for ways to tote and carry goods on their back or by hand.

28.  Make candles from other candles and resell them. In our modern world, unless you raise your own farm animals, making candles from rendered tallow may be nearly impossible in a grid-down scenario. Instead, buy up candles at thrift stores and garage sales, melt down the wax and pour it into molds, recycled food jars, or canning jars.  Sell or barter with the candles. Stock up on wicks, and anything that can be used as a wick, like shoelaces. Please note: You can use regular recycled glass jars, but be extra-cautious, as sometimes they can shatter due to heat.  To avoid this, heat them up (in an oven or other heat source) before you pour the melted wax inside.  Canning jars are made to withstand high temps, which is why many home candle makers prefer using them.

29.  Know how to make bar soap from scratch. Get a copy of “Primitive Soap Making.”  If you can’t make soap, make sure to stockpile it.  Great barter item!

30.  Learn leather working and recycle leather. Re-purpose old leather purses, and turn them into cast iron skillet handle covers, oven mitts and potholders. In a societal collapse and reorganization, people may not need a wallet, but they will need cast iron handle covers because more of them will be cooking over an open flame.  There is always a need to make and repair leather belts, slings, straps and shoelaces for boots.  Recycle old leather and turn it into a cottage industry.

31.  If you are serious about leather working, become a tanner. Study how human beings used to make leather through primitive tanning methods. The need for leather will never end, and you can learn this skill, teach others, write a DIY book about it and earn a side income. Your skill will be valuable in a world without electricity or steady and reliable power.

32.  Stockpile and recondition garden tools. [This is HOT!]  Buy them at farm or estate auctions, garage sales, thrift stores. Clean them, sharpen them, restore them, and sell them.  Familiarize yourself with the better brands so you know their true value. If you get the cheaper tools, fix them to last longer, as they will become worth their weight in gold. People are becoming anxious about access to food and millions more will start gardens this Spring. Watch for the price of rakes, shovels, hoes, trowels and tillers to skyrocket!

33.  Buy, recondition and sell used cast iron cookware. Watch YouTube videos on how to clean, restore and recondition old cast iron skills, and pots. Sell these online on eBay, Etsy, or in your own online store. This can make you a nice sideline business and there will always be the need for good, durable cookware. You can also sell cookbooks specializing in cast iron cooking, and accessories for cast iron cookware like chain mail scrubbers and stiff brushes for cleaning cast iron after everyday use. When the grid goes down, you have valuable merchandise with which you can trade for other goods.

 34.  Start collecting items now to be a “General Store.”  Collect items like patch kits, tools, blankets, warm coats, hats, scarves, flannel shirts, cast iron pots, skillets, and dutch ovens.  Portable shelters like lightweight pup tents and tarps will become very valuable.  Collect ropes of all kinds and for different uses. Stockpile handkerchiefs, bandannas, new combs and hairbrushes, matches, Superglue, bungee cords, duct tape, and long- handled cafeteria-style serving spoons (both metal and wooden). If you prefer to specialize, pay attention to what folks want but are getting too expensive to buy. These are items there will always be a market for, but no one will be able to provide, unless you plan ahead (alcohol, cigarettes, pipe and chewing tobacco and smoking accessories come to mind). These are heavily taxed products and will become rare and in high demand after the stores are looted.  If you can supply these items, you are in business.

35.  Open a coffee stand and stockpile green coffee beans. Learn to roast them without electricity over an open flame. Grind them in an old-fashioned manual coffee grinder.  Can you imagine what a single cup of fresh-brewed coffee will cost in a possible future where society is re-organizing after a collapse?  Green coffee beans in air-tight cans have been available for a number of years, but the cans are small. Find a source for bulk green coffee beans and dry can them in 64 ounce canning jars.

coffee for shtf

Coffee beans will not store for long periods of time because they are oily and go rancid, but you may be able to extend their shelf life to 5-7 years if you dry can them and remove oxygen from the jar. You might consider stockpiling freeze-dried instant coffee and store it in a cool, dark place like a dry basement. Stockpile sugar and coffee creamer as well. Learn how to make your own teas from native plants before the coffee beans run out.

36.  Learn to Build Small Solar Power Units. First, learn the basics of portable solar power then begin acquiring small units you can recharge by direct sunlight. Solar power is now making it possible for many to build homes and live off-grid, and the demand for small but powerful solar units will continue to be high in the future. If you can put together solar backup systems and install them or can sell “how-to” plans for DIY-ers, you have a way to earn money now and to sell or barter with in the future.

37.  Put together a solar power station and offer a recharging service. People will own plenty of electrical items that use batteries, and/or can be used if recharged directly plugged into a power solar-powered source. You can use such a system for your own personal needs now and offer this service in a grid-down scenario as a means to trade for the things you will need. If you start collecting battery-powered drills, chain saws and other tools, you can rent them out now for extra cash now, and be able to use that service in trade, if need be.

38.  A related service for a recharging business would be to acquire several portable DVD players, those which could be plugged into your solar powered system or run on recharged batteries.  Start by learning to repair these smaller DVD players, stockpile parts – and even flip them on eBay now to earn extra money. By learning all you can about how these DVD players operate, you can stockpile many now, along with as many DVDs you can find at thrift stores and garage sales. When there’s no more power grid, what would people be willing to trade for a chance to watch a beloved movie?

39.  Study how to generate electricity from small water and wind power systems. Build a home-made system and implement it and offer this service as a consultant or hire yourself out to others who want a water or wind system built and installed for their home use. Research the topic on YouTube, Popular Science Magazine, and other alternative energy sources.

40.  Learn how to salvage gold and silver and other precious metals from old computers and other electronics.  Watch YouTube videos to see how others are doing this. You can start this as a hobby and save all the gold, platinum, silver, copper, etc.  you extract from the computers you “mine.”  This is one way to stockpile real money, as you can have your precious metals cast into measurable small bars or coins for use. You can acquire old computers from thrift and resale stores, garage sales, and from county dump sites that separate electronics from other scrap (some counties allow this but check first). You can do the same with copper, by collecting the power cords from discarded large appliances and then selling them by the pound to scrap metal yards.

41.  Start a General Metal Scrap Business. Watch YouTube channels of metal scrappers to learn the basics and get started. This can be part-time or full-time, as you wish. It helps to have a sturdy truck or cargo van to do your metal scrap collecting, and to research the days the garbage is collected in various neighborhoods near you. You will need a magnet to know what metal you’re taking and if the scrap yards will accept it.  Also, you will need some basic hand tools and rope for tie-downs. Make sure to know where the metal scrap dealers are in your area, so you know who pays the best, and to get paid the same day you do a “scrap run.” 

42.  Converting scrap metal into cash doesn’t stop by selling to a local scrap metal dealer.  You can sell many items made from metal or mostly metal, which most people leave alongside their garbage cans for collection. Look for discarded used lawnmowers, golf clubs, and bicycles, (all have high resale value, to name a few) which you can recondition and sell on Craigslist, eBay, or several other online sales platforms to earn a side income now.  Anything made from metal that can be reconditioned and resold is valuable. You can also flip them for quick cash, to others who just want to recondition and sell them without sourcing them. In a grid-down scenario, scrap metal can be bartered with or sold to the local blacksmith, who will melt the metal down in order to make new useful things.

43.  Learn to cut hair. If I was just starting out after high school today, the only formal training I would even consider would be to go to barber or beautician school and learn to cut hair. This is an evergreen profession and regardless of how bad society becomes, people always need haircuts. You can earn a living all day long with this skill, no matter what the future holds.

44.  Learn how to re-purpose things that will be in great demand in a prolonged grid-down situation. For example, people who live in colder climates are concerned about how fragile their power grid and home heating oil/natural gas systems are, given today’s politics between nations. They are looking for ways to heat their homes in winter should their home heating oil and natural gas distribution systems collapse.  Watch videos on YouTube that “hack” ways to generate free heat by recycling metal canisters, wheel rims, and old metal barrels, and turning them into wood stoves. Also turning clay flowerpots into candle heaters.  Make these today and sell them. Another “upcycle” would be to learn how to turn a bicycle into an electricity generator by learning how to connect it to a car generator to make electricity to power lights, small fans, etc.  There is a ready market today of people who are looking for these kinds of “upcycled” systems or the plans on how to make them.

45.  Sell books or create courses that teach. One can make a nice side income from buying used books and reselling them at a profit. But what if you specialized in buying books which taught many of the old ways of doing things – ways of making the things people needed before our modern systems were in place?  These types of non-fiction books that teach such things are valued now but will become even more valuable when the lights go out. As always, when sourcing such books, buy low and sell higher to make a profit. If you build your own personal library of such books, you can barter with them if you have to.

46.  Modernize ancient weapons like slingshots, bow & arrows, crossbows, and spears from scrap wood and plastic components. There are many YouTube videos made by people who have taken the basic idea of such weapons and turned wood and plastic into some pretty lethal weapons!  The plans for these could be sold today, and you could make them in the future for sale or trade. Make sure to stockpile the parts you need to make them, so that you can continue to make them, and find their natural counterpart you can use when your stockpile runs out. Design them with improved performance in mind.

47.  Buy and sell used hand tools. Concentrate on the harder-to-find manual wood drills, good saws, and axes of all types. Be sure you also get the stone sharpeners and files necessary to maintain the tools. Buy top quality hand tools at garage and estate sales, thrift stores and when they’re on sale at retail stores. Check for the brands that sell for the most money on eBay and develop a list of the exact tools most-sought-after, or rare the most. Concentrate on finding these tools, as well as having an extensive collection of the most-used tools most people take for granted. Recondition the older tools and sell them online for income now and use them for trade if needs be.  Create your own personal “tool stash” and rent them out for trade or barter in a post- apocalyptic culture.

48.  Learn home brewing and distilling. These are popular hobbies now and there are many sources of information on how to brew your own kombucha, beer, lager, stout, fruit cordials and moonshine. While distilled alcohol is a state-regulated industry, consult your state laws to see what you are allowed to do. Distilled alcohol made from grains will be very valuable in a grid-down culture for medicinal purposes. Learn this skill now, become an expert, and earn a side income by teaching it to others, writing a book about it, selling the necessary tools to make it, and concentrate on how it was done at home before it all became state-regulated. Stockpile the tools and supplies you need, and source ways to continue making it when your supplies run out.

49.  Learn First Aid, primitive-style. If your local hospital or clinic is closed, and the pharmacies have been looted, medicine becomes a DIY project. A good medical kit will have herbs and other ingredients to make basic medicines, and survivalists can also use leaves and twigs to make bandages, splints, and more. Take advanced training now to learn skills such as setting a broken bone or popping-back dislocated joints, delivering a baby, amputation of a limb, etc. Study the old ways, home remedies and Native American medical lore. These are all valuable skills now and will become all the more so in a dystopian future.

50.  Learn Home Dentistry. Teeth and gums are a different health concern. Back in the day, loss of teeth and poor gums would lead to infection and early death. Without access to proper dental care in a societal collapse, this will be the case again. Don’t think you can do the job by just reading When There Is No Dentist, but that’s a start (Google When There is No Dentist to find a free copy). If you are so inclined, investigate survival dentistry and begin acquiring the proper tools and skills you will need. Study more primitive ways to prevent germ transmission between patients through dental tools.  Learn proper and safe ways to use herbal tinctures to relieve pain. Write a book or put together a course on Emergency Dentistry when there is no dentist and sell it online for a side income.

As we have learned, the future is all about the SKILLS you know. Start now and make it a goal to learn the skill(s) which will aid you in a grid-down, societal-collapse scenario. Most of these skills are usable to earn money today, yet their value will increase if the worst happens. Be prepared.

This is a guest article by PJ Graves.

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The Best Preparedness Gift You Can Give Your Loved One

best preparedness gift

Purchasing gear in preparedness comes with the territory.  We purchase the good stuff because we want it to last, just in case the poop hits the fan and we can’t replace said gear.  But the fact is that everything has an expiration date, including our lives! The following is something that I wrote for my email list many, many years ago.  My friend Gaye Levy, asked to publish it on her website soon after.  I realized recently that the new owners of the blog had removed the post, so I’m posting it on my site now.

Many preppers are older.  Maybe because we know the “good times” don’t last forever and have a little bit more wisdom behind us.  But with the increase in years, also comes the fact that life eventually comes to an end.  What happens to those who we leave behind?  What if they didn’t believe in preparedness like we do?  How will you leave them with an understanding of what you put in place was for their own good, even if they didn’t believe in it?

This letter is an attempt to help put into words what we can leave behind for those loved ones when or if we’re gone.  If you would like, feel free to use the letter as a template and adjust for your own personal needs.

Dear Wife (or husband, partner, son, daughter),

If you are reading this letter, then you know that I have passed from this life.  I can’t imagine what you are going through.  I’m sorry that you are alone.  But I want you to know that my faith is strong enough to know that one day we will see each other again in Heaven.

I’m writing this letter, as my final gift to you, to share with you some things that I have put in place to make things a little easier for you in case the world seems to fall apart.  In the past, I have alluded to this secret part of my life, but didn’t make a big deal about it because I felt you didn’t see things from my point of view.  I prepared with the idea that I would always be there and that I could help put those plans into action if the need ever arose. 

Unfortunately, I am not there, but I want you to be as prepared as I was.  Below I will provide you with some plans and advice.  You don’t have to take it, but I hope you will understand my heart and the reason why I think this is so important. 

I love you and I want you to be safe and prepared.

Insurance – My life insurance policy is in the 2nd drawer of my desk on the right side.   When you open the folder, you will find the phone number to the insurance company, the policy and the account number.  You should get $500,000.  That’s a lot of money, but I want you to be careful with it.  First, don’t listen to anyone else on how you should invest it or spend it.  Your life has been turned upside down and you need some time to take everything in.  You should not be making big decisions right now.

Don’t pay off the house.  Others might have a problem with this, but the interest rate on the mortgage is so low that I rather you pay the monthly mortgage and have large sums of money if you need it.

Make sure that you split the money into five different banks.   If for some reason one bank fails, you won’t lose all your money.  The FDIC insures deposits up to $100,000 although that limit has been temporarily raised to $250,000.  And having your money in five different banks gives you more options later.

Once you feel that you are in a good place, feel free to use the money any way you wish.  It is yours, just take time to pray about big purchases.

Gun Safe – You know that I have had my gun safe for many years.  It holds all my rifles and pistols along with extra ammo.  I never went crazy buying a whole bunch of stuff I didn’t need, so every firearm in the safe has a practical purpose.

I wish you would have taken some firearms training with me, but I know it just wasn’t your thing.  If you change your mind, use the gun in the black case marked “Glock.” It is a 9mm and you should be able to handle it ok.  I have plenty of ammo in the safe.  Talk to one of the guys at the shooting range to set up some training. 

I hate that you are alone at this time.  I hope that you will consider using a firearm for protection.

Also in the safe is a false floor.  You will have to remove all the ammo, which is a lot.  If you place your finger in the far right corner, you will feel a groove that you can pull up on.  This will start pulling up the false floor.  Underneath you will find a few pieces of gold, silver and $5,000 in cash.

I know, you’re shocked!  You didn’t realize that I had all this, but believe me, I was thinking of you!  The gold is in small rounds of 1/2 oz.  The silver is a mixture of American Eagles, 1 oz. rounds, 1 & 5 oz. bars and pre-1964 silver dimes.  The silver dimes aren’t just regular dimes!  They are made of silver, so they are worth a lot more than 10 cents.

I will go into why this is in the safe in a moment.  Just please know that it is for a good reason.  After you inspect everything under the false floor, just put it back in the way it was.  It is very safe in there.  The safe is bolted to the ground and is very heavy.  It is safer than having it in the bank.

Oh, if you forgot the code to the safe, a copy of the code is in “our” secret little place.

Office Closet – Thank goodness that my office had a walk-in closet!  I guess that was a perk when we converted one of the extra bedrooms into my office.  Inside the closet you will find boxes of dehydrated food/meals.  Most of these meals just take water.  They are decent, I’ve tried them myself, and will last for 25 years.

Also, you will find two “Water Bobs” in the closet.  These are 100 gallon plastic containers that you would put inside of the two bathtubs to fill up so you would have potable water to drink and cook with.  They can only be used one time, so after the water is gone, you can’t use it again.

Again, I know this is kind of weird for you, but I will explain.

The world that we live in is in a fragile state.  For many years the American people have lived with abundance of EVERYTHING.  We are consumers and we have consumed!  The laws of supply and demand will tell you that you can’t keep taking without ever giving back.  At some point, our resources will be so strained, that something will have to give.  This might seem alarmist, but it isn’t.  I have done my research.  And you know me, I thoroughly research topics that are important to me.

I’m not going into all the resources that are strained right now.  But I do want to mention the economy, because I think this is a critical one that can spark a chain reaction very quickly.

The United States has a huge amount of debt.  I’m sure you have heard me comment on that when I hear something on the news or when an election comes up.  The fact is that it is not possible to pay it all back.  Right now things are ok because of the low interest rates that the government pays, but if that ever goes up, things can spiral very fast.  Many have said that it is a mathematical certainty that our current path is unsustainable.  At first it was economist on the fringe that said this.  Now, even mainline economists, some you see on the news are saying it too.  It’s just a matter of time.

The scary thing is that they don’t know what it would look like if the economy starts to spiral.  It could be very controlled and orderly or it could be mass chaos with rioting all over the place.  This is why it is important to stay informed.

One reason I have the gold, silver and money in the safe is that if the economy does take a turn for the worse, the government might call for a bank holiday.  This is when they shut the banks for a certain amount of time.  During this time, your ATM and credit cards will probably not work.  As everyone saw with Greece recently, their people didn’t have access to any of their money for days.  When this happens, people will operate with cash.  That is why I have the $5,000 in the safe.

If you ever need to touch the money in the safe, use the cash first.  If there was a bank holiday, people will gladly take your cash.  Only keep what you need on you at all times.  This is a good time to know that you have been trained with a firearm!

If the bank holiday persists and people don’t trust what the government is doing in regards to money, people might start using precious metals.  That’s why I have the gold and silver.  Gold and silver have always been used as a means of exchange. If you don’t need to use it, just keep it in the safe.  I purchased the gold and silver at low prices, so if you ever have to sell it, you will get a good deal.

If you have to dig into the gold and silver, then things have become pretty bad.  It is possible that food trucks and groceries will become scarce at the store.  This is why I have the food in my office closet.  This is why I also insisted on keeping a well stocked pantry. 

I wasn’t always honest with you about why I wanted to keep a well stocked pantry, “I’m a hungry man” and “I like variety” and “I want to be able to go into the pantry and find anything I want” wasn’t the actual reason.  But you were kind and obliged anyway.  Now you know my real reason.  Please keep it that way for yourself.  By the way, keep the stock of toilet paper up too.  Food, water and toilet paper, you will always need it!

Again, there are so many things that could possibly happen.  It is important to stay informed.  Our friends, the Donvan’s, can help you.  A while back, when I was chatting with Chuck, the topic of the economy came up.  Chuck shared with me that he was preparing for the economy crashing.  After a few more beers and some serious conversation, he confided in me that he and Mary are preppers, people who live a life of preparedness.  You would have never guessed it.  But they believe the same way that I do.  They are very knowledgeable and are willing to help you if you will just ask.

There are so many more things that I would like to tell you and share with you.  Many of these things would be overwhelming.  You don’t need that right now. But I hope that you understand that this letter is a letter of love.  It is something that I can do for you even though I can’t be there with you.

You are a wonderful, smart and caring woman.  All the reasons I fell in love with you are still present in you today.  You are going to be fine and you are going to get through all this.  Stay close to people you trust and rely on your faith.  Faith has never steered us wrong before.

I love you.


Of course, this is an example of a letter that you would write.  Your letter should be relevant to your situation and circumstances.  Your spouse might agree with your prepping.  Or, you might not have a safe.  The main thing is that you leave a letter that encourages your spouse to continue to live the prepared lifestyle.

Where would you keep a letter like this?

If you have an insurance folder, it might be a good idea to keep a copy inside that folder. Or, if you have a drawer that is only yours, you could keep it there.  

Another option would be to keep a letter that points to your Preparedness Letter.  For example, you could leave a letter in your sock drawer that points your spouse to read THE Preparedness Letter that can be found on the top shelf of your gun safe.  You could also leave the letter in a safety deposit box at the bank or the top drawer of your desk.

One thing that I would be careful of is writing all your preparedness plans in one information letter.  For instance, the example letter above does not include the code to the gun safe.

This is a topic that could be a little deflating.  However, leaving plans for your spouse (or partner) is one of the best preps you can have in place.


The Best Preparedness Gift You Can Give Your Loved One Read More »

Why You Need Cats When SHTF

Cats When SHTF

This is a guest post by Gar Mosey.

I have never seen this seriously overlooked issue addressed on any survival/prepping site, so I decided to write this article about Cats When SHTF, complete with my warped sense of humor thrown in for free. With government overreach rampant and unwarranted panic over the Corona Virus, now is definitely the time to let the cat out of the bag. (Pun intended) Throw in BLM and ANTIFA and the s*** could hit the fan for real…very soon.

I have only seen articles on how to prepare supplies for your cat/dog before SHTF, nothing like what follows. 

Worst Case Scenario – True SHTF

Imagine a worst case scenario: COVID-19 infections have disrupted the food chain to the point of shortages. BLM/ANTIFA animals are running a muck, raping, killing, looting. The power grid has been down for months. It doesn’t matter whether this was caused by an EMP, WW3, sabotage/direct attack on power distribution stations, online cyber attacks or collapse of the world economy due to COVID-19. Society has broken down. Anarchy reigns in most areas. The power is out and is not coming back on for months, maybe years…possibly never in some areas.

People are starving. No electricity, sewer, water, gas, etc. Filth, pollution and disease abound. Idiots poured out of the cities in droves to “live off the land” with no survival knowledge. Lakes and rivers were fished out in mere months. They blasted anything that moved to obtain food. They only succeed in hunting every imaginable species that could be eaten – including humans in some areas – to the point of extinction. What they killed was mostly wasted. Untrained urbanites can’t properly skin, prepare and preserve wild game, whether it’s rabbit, squirrel, birds, or something larger. Most starved to death in a year, died of disease or were eaten by cannibals.


Further Reading: FREE PDF – Rabbit Processing


Those who remained in the cities and suburbs fared far worse. Many were killed by roving bands of raiders looking for food, water, drugs, liquor, women, gasoline, etc. Women often were kidnapped and used as sex slaves, slave labor, bartering items. Water and waste disposal facilities ceased to function. General chaos, disease and mayhem reigned supreme. Guess what happened next? Rats, rats and more rats. Millions, billions, maybe trillions of rats. In one year 1 female can have 2000+ babies. Do the math.


Rats chewing up your place?

Mistakes Will Be Made 

Naturally, the surviving urbanites turned to eating their family pets when food ran low. Some even consumed their obnoxious neighbors. Dogs, cats, rabbits (which, BTW, are an excellent renewable source of food if you are set up to raise them), even Crazy Joe’s 8′ python was fair game. Consuming felines to the brink of extinction was actually the stupidest thing they could have done. DO NOT EAT THE CATS! I repeat: DO NOT EAT THE CATS WHEN SHTF!!!!!

Cats are ecologically far more important than most people realize. They are super-predators, although small in stature compared to others. Behind the scenes, they control rabbit, bird, mouse and rat populations, to the dismay of uninformed bleeding-heart idiots who see only the killing aspect. “Oh, the poor birdie! Look what the bad kitty did.” Yea, right. Google MacQuarie Island to find out what happened when some bright boys decided to remove all the cats because they were eating the pretty birdies. Idiots! (Start chant now: “Orange kitty bad. Must be removed.” LOL) Also check out Operation Cat Drop in Borneo during the 50s where the WHO managed to screw up the natural order of things. Yes, that WHO. The ones involved in the Corona farce. If you don’t understand the inter-relationship of ecosystems, don’t mess with it!



You Need Cats When SHTF

Without free roaming cats controlling the rodent population in the cities, you can bet yer ass humans won’t last long. Rats, birds, insect pests and rabbits will eat what meager crops are grown. Rats will quickly over-run the area, spreading disease and devouring everything in sight. Good-by humans! I hope that cat stew is worth it. I guarantee you will regret that dinner.

The lesson: In a worst-case scenario, under no circumstances should you eat cats. (Although I have heard they are good oven-baked with BBQ sauce. Heehee) No matter how hungry and tempted you are, don’t do it. I doubt if anyone will have enough sense to follow my advice when their family has not eaten for a week, but believe me, the surviving humans will pay dearly for your ignorance .

Besides, if you eat the Cats When the SHTF, you will miss their cuteness, comforting purrs and company…right up to the time rabid rats feast on your rotting flesh or your ravenous wife thinks you are worth more as dinner than a partner/provider.

Feel free to contact me with your comments and/or ideas for future articles (I would like to stick with little-known or never before published stuff, no over-done mainstream topics.)

Guest Author: Gar Mosey –


Cats When SHTF

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Fertilizing Your Garden When the SHTF

Have you ever thought about how you would fertilize your garden when the SHTF? There might be a time when you can’t go to a big box store and buy fertilizer. But, you can easily make a great fertilizer called compost tea! Learn how to make it in this podcast episode.

Mentioned in this Episode:

Items of Interest:

Remember, there is a HUGE selection of great preparedness content at Prepper Website!


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Desperate Times – The SHTF Haircut

It was a dark and stormy night, not outside, but in my soul! I didn’t recognize the man in the mirror. Who had I become? Maybe it was a dream, or a movie sequence, like when an actor looks into the mirror and sees a reflection of ancient ancestors who lived in a primitive time. If only I had been so lucky! No, it was me. And these were desperate times. I was greatly considering that my wife would give me a haircut. Desperate times mean an SHTF haircut!

The Bushman Cometh

Listen! I know some of you reading this are rolling your eyes about now! Don’t be so condescending. Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones. Or maybe your momma didn’t love you. Maybe you have a perfectly round head! Whatever! Things aren’t as easy for me. The deck is stacked against me. Let me explain.

There are a couple of issues I need to deal with concerning hair. First, I have thick hair (I see you rolling your eyes again). My hair also grows really fast. With these two things coupled together, my nicely manicured suburban hair turns into a fro. The only way that I can manage it, is with a lot of gel and hairspray. I know, I know. Call the whambulance!

Just Get a Buzz Already!

Another issue that I face, that no one knows, but it is now getting out there in the open (I fell like this is a Dr. Phil episode), is that I have a weird looking head. I have crevices and bumps all over the dome (I feel so exposed now).

This means that I can’t just buzz my hair all off. I would scare people! This isn’t Halloween season and I don’t need to be looking like Friday the 13th here without the mask! i can hear the news reports now, “we have a real life COVID-19 cell walking around Houston.”

Waiting SHTF Out

I tried waiting it out, hoping that the Coronavirus would somehow miraculously go away and the place where I normally get a haircut would open up, welcoming me with open arms and an open chair! But as the days continued on, I lost hope and realized that I needed to resort to an SHTF haircut!

What was I to do?

Video and the Internet to the Rescue?

Well, sort of. I saw a video where a girlfriend, who seems to be a hairstylist, was talking about how to give a very basic men’s haircut. The video was sent to my wife. I mean, she crafts and stuff.

She watched the video and looked up some other ones too. With a sly smirk on her face, she asked me if I was ready.

You know that pit in the bottom of your stomach? Well, mine filled up with anxiety and stress. Should I just change my name to Werewolf Todd or should I brave the knife? I mean, the clippers!

My Life Flashed Before Me

I won’t lie, I was worried. I wanted a big mirror in front of me, like I’m used to. But instead, I had to stare off into space or my kitchen, imagining the holes in my hair and the bald spots I would end up with.

I acquired a nervous laugh. I couldn’t sit still. My wife kept slapping the back of my neck like that first barber my grandfather took me to when I was a kid. Surely Amazon has full-faced N95 masks that I could order?

SHTF Haircut for the Win

Well, my wife has a way of surprising me. She does it all the time! I mean, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t perfect! At least I wouldn’t immediate it! But it was good enough to be able to style my hair like normal. I wasn’t going to scare the neighbor kids after all.

We had a lot of fun….at my expense. She said it was the most fun she had during our Coronavirus Shelter-in-Place.

SHTF Haircut
Before PIC – Checkout the Fro!
After SHTF Haircut
After Pic – The wife did a great job!

Some Help for Your SHTF Haircut

So this next part isn’t for you neanderthals that just shave off every last bit of hair on your head. This next section is for those of you who are still holding out, hoping against hope. If you trust someone with some scissors or clippers around your neck, you might be able to get some fro hair relief too!

The video below gives a good overview/tutorial on how to give a basic men’s haircut. I hope you find it valuable!

Tools for Your Scalping!

Lastly, my wife wouldn’t have had “fun time with Todd” if she didn’t already have some basic tools. This whole roller coaster ride was possible because she already had some clippers, scissors and a cape. She also used my beard trimmers.

If you don’t have what you need to cut your victim’s husband and kid’s hair, this kit has everything you need, 10 comb attachments to guide the clipper as you cut & style for multiple lengths, scissors, comb, cape, cleaning brush & oil & a storage case. The kit currently costs less than $30 and has a total of 4 Stars with over 900 reviews on Amazon.

So are you brave enough for a SHTF haircut? I almost wasn’t!


Desperate Times – The SHTF Haircut Read More »

The Unconsidered Impact of Emotions During Survival

With all the focus of survival being on food, water, and gear, many people neglect that our emotions are going to be a wreck!  Some will be able to deal with their emotions better than others, but every family or group will have to deal with the emotional impact of survival at some time or another.  And they need to know it will be challenging!

Mentioned in this Episode: 

Items of Interest:

Remember, there is a HUGE selection of great preparedness content at Prepper Website!

The Unconsidered Impact of Emotions During Survival Read More »

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