On Buying Gold & Silver for Survival Preparedness

Picture of Selco


I am Selco and I am from the Balkan region, and as some of you may know it was hell here from 92-95, anyway, for 1 whole year I lived and survived in a city WITHOUT: electricity, fuel, running water, food distribution, without any kind of organized law or government. The city was surrounded for 1 year and it actually was a real SHTF situation. Our allies were our enemies from one day to the next. Today I’m prepared and share my experience on this blog.

Survial Bootcamp

Get instant access to everything, learn at your own pace, 24 hours / 7 days a week.

Some of the links you’ll find here are affiliate links, which means we might earn a small commission if you make a purchase through them. But don’t worry! You won’t pay a single penny more!

I am very sorry because i have to destroy some popular opinions on some things, but i just have to do that. When i said and keep saying “no rules” i mean that. You can not have something like ideal preparations, you can only try to have it (and then hungry man down the road still might shoot you with his antique hunting rifle for a bit of flour).

So again on bartering and gold and silver:

No, gold and silver was not like second money, or second value during SHTF, it was not even worth like in normal times, and in most of the cases it was dangerous to have it a lot (actually it was too dangerous to have anything in great amounts and let other people to know that) If you had for example 1000 gold coins, and let s say that one coin worth 150 USD in normal times, you could think that you are rich in shtf.

But in reality it was hard to find someone who give you some food or battery or whatever useful for one coin. Gold coin was not useful for 90 percent of people, what they could use it for? Eat it? Start fire with that?

Only people which could use that gold were people who had connection to outside world, so they could use it for buying things trough their connections. In most cases they just used situation to acquire great amounts of gold for the future and in exchange for some simple things, like food, or fuel or…

They did that because they had everything else.

But thing is it was hard to make trade with people like that, because bad kind of people had connections or were gathering gold, so they can just gonna take that gold from you and give you nothing, or bullet in your head.

So yes gold was useful and not useful, it dependeds what kind of people or group you belonged to.

If we have worldwide crisis and you can not get food anywhere the first currency of choice will be food or useful things, not gold or silver. If you want gold to keep some kind of value for one day after all is over make sure you are prepped for long, long time crisis before that.

It is better to have some useful stuff in your prepping, then to waste money on gold or silver. And of course if you still want to have a lot of gold as a part of your preparations, i suggest you buy lot odd simple gold rings, or simple cheaper gold necklace, it makes more sense than to have gold coins.

In hurry it is gonna make more sense to offer “your wifes gold ring” someone for cans or something else then to offer someone some “strange” gold coin for food or one of the typical gold coins you can buy from gold sellers these days, it can raise some questions, and you do not need raising questions in situation like that. Stay low key. Be the guy with the last family jewels not the guy with gold coins from typical gold sellers.

I would say that in SHTF it is gonna be easier and cheaper to get gold then in normal times. Bartering was not a thing of some regular prices or regular places, even “expensive”things changed. Meet the guy with terrible toothache and you are only person who can do an ok tooth surgery. He will give you some gold for that if he can or a lot of other valuable things to simply get out of this situation.

As i remember coffee and cigarettes was hard to find and expensive through all of the time, everything else changed, sometimes was expensive and hard to find, sometimes not.

But important to remember is to make it easier to you, so obliviously, it is much easier to carry and trade candles and batteries than 20 liters of fuel. There is no sense of letting everybody know that you are “man for trade” and that you have a lot fuel for example, because then you might end finished robbed and probably dead.

If you can be, be a traveling trader and do not trade too often with same people if you can avoid that. People also got shot after trading with one person a few times before. Other person might just run out of things to trade and call on you to come to trade and all he has is bullet for you in exchange for what he needs (and he knows you come with what he needs).

In some hardest period cigarettes was sold at one piece, i mean you could buy one cigarette for something, it was so expensive. Same was with coffee, even some substitutes for coffee were expensive. Now you need to know that traditionally here people drink coffee a lot, so maybe some other thing is so “important” in your area, like tea, beer or something else.

But do not expect that people will loose their addictions because times are hard.

One of my older relatives smoked cigarettes while he had it, after that he smoked tobacco (pipe), after that he bought from some folks pieces of dry tobacco roots or tree, used knife to cut small pieces of that and smoked that, and after that he used some dry leafs from tree and smoke that. He never quit smoking.

So in short instead of getting gold and silver to preserve your wealth you might consider getting useful stuff and if you like gold there is always option to get it from unprepared people in exchange for useful stuff if you think you need this for times after. If you already have everything you really think you could need then gold and silver might be good, better than just money for sure.

I do not believe in any quick recovery. Even with help from other states (thank you all for that) it took long time before things became more normal again.

If things don’t get better you do not want to be stuck with gold and having to do risky trades. Do not think that other people do not see when someone is desperate and take advantage of it.

Survial Bootcamp

Get instant access to everything, learn at your own pace, 24 hours / 7 days a week.

87 Responses

  1. I agree 100%, but if you absolutely must have SILVER, at least get junk silver (pre 1964 US coins that are 90% silver). For 2 reasons. 1: There is NO sales tax on buying us coins. 2. Thery are in small amounts that are easily traded and well known, you don’t have to worry about dividing a large ingot into smaller pieces. But for “IT” I would much rather have antibiotics, food, fuel, arms & ammo ect than silver or gold. And get the components now and learn to reload various calibers… you will always be able to TEADE that skill, and it is not difficult to learn or expensive.

  2. There exist many kinds of shtf situations- personal (financial loss), micro (earthquake) and macro (war). When everything goes to hell quickly as in an invasion or siege, yes, I would agree that gold is less important than food for every day survival. But for matters such as leaving a country and restarting in another place, days before the shtf, gold or hard currency is unbeatable.

    I suppose the trick is timing the bug out, but then again, some governments (like it happened to Cubans) place restrictions on what people are allowed to leave the country with, basically a small suit case with a change of clothes. So perhaps a good preparation to have is a good passport, preferably dual citizenship, and hard currency or gold in a bug out country to start over.

    Thank you for your insight.

    1. Yes, of course this is different if you want to move. Also depends on the scale of SHTF event. Right now everything looks like global system breakdown is what might hit us. I hope there are still places to move to but if you prepare you probably better set up locally (if no armed conflict threatening your life).

  3. Never apologize for telling it like it was in your situation. No one learns anything from spewing out the standard line, hearing other perspectives is how we evolve. We may not agree with it, but its always good to have that different opinion.

      1. Simple, Brutal and Unfair. Very true words.

        My two sons and I like to watch nature shows that sometimes depict animals killing and eating other animals. My youngest (5) sometimes struggles with it because he says that its unfair to see 5 hyena’s against 1 lion, or see a lion kill and eat a new born gazelle.

        Some folks might think that I am bad for letting my young boy watch things like this, but I want to make sure that he understands the real world and not some Disney fairly tale version of it. When a lion eat the new born fawn, it is very simple, very brutal and very unfair. I explain to him that this is simple life and survival.

  4. Selco, From what you’ve said there are certain basics that people need to survive and those who supply those needs can do better than if they didn’t have those assets.
    Fire – Lighters, Matches
    Water – Clean, Purified Water

  5. It seems that if someone in a SHTF situation is ready and willing to accept gold in trade for otherwise scarce food, that someone is likely sitting on a large amount of food, and we all know the result.

    1. That person probably doesn’t deserve any different. Being greedy wanting gold and not smart enough to hold on to his food or keeping it low key. Point is, you do not die without gold but you do without food. Big difference. I would simply not trade and keep my food.

  6. dear Selco, i’m a new sub to your e-mail list…and i just want to say you totally kick ass (that’s a good thing.. i’ll try to keep the slang at a minimum)..anyways..when you gave thanks to the united states it really pulled at my heart strings..i was thinking ” finally! my government has done something worth while” ..usually they are vindictive sh*t heels looking to set up a military base in someone else’s country…the wisdom you are giving us is priceless and i just wanted to take the time to tell you THANK YOU ..i share your info with anyone who is smart enough to listen ……P.S your English is more than acceptable..way better than my Spanish…and Serbian!? hahaha forget about it..i’m not even sure what language is spoken in Serbia…thanks again man! stay safe!

  7. In a runaway inflation, gold or silver may be of value. You’d want to trade small amounts regularly for cash, then spend the cash as quickly as possible. But that works only if some semblance of an economy continues to operate. But in a barter economy, gold and silver are probably worthless.

    I’m dubious about trading ammunition for other goods. It might come back to you, from the muzzle of a gun.

    1. I’m stocking some amount of cheap ammo, variety of calibers and prepaired to divy into small quantities 5-10 at a time. Anything of barter value. I believe it to be worth the risk. I guessing if you don’t it frequently now, bartering is going to be a learned skill.

  8. I agree 100% with this Selco. It would be nice to have 1 oz gold ingots and when the dust clears you can rebuild your life. But as you are saying, during SHTF and even after, there are not alot of people who know what a gold ingot is let alone have a scale and items to check the gold but most people can tell a genuine gold chain or ring. Even if they didn’t it would be less of a risk to trade a small item than a large amount.

    +1 on this lesson.

  9. Man, you just opened my mind to soo much changes on my plans… everywhere we find people telling you “BUY GOLD”, but the real thing is what you had said… they cannot eat gold.

    Just… thank you so much for sharing your experience.

  10. Stock .22Long rifle hollow Point ammo: great ‘currency’………….how’s about 5 cartridges for one small loaf, or one bottle raw milk, or whatever. Rural people all have quiet .22s and you can’t reload for ’em: when the ammo’s gone it’s GONE. Y’all who don’t already LIVE there DO have ‘contacts’ set up in outlying rural areas, right?? ‘Weekend excursions’ establishing no-cash TRADE now (a brick of .22s for a couple of chickens? How about some eggs………??)……trading/bugout spots later. Hutterite/Mennonite/Amish need varmints ‘controlled’ NOW……………..maybe armed defense later…………Friend??

    Keep your centerfire/reloads for yourself….if somebody needs something shot, go do it for them in trade for………..auto repairs??

  11. Thank you again Selco. I study emergencies and disasters, and stories like yours are so much more valuable than statistics and numbers. Your experience has more value than money. I hope you decide to create a book or video. Maybe then more people would listen to the past, because it probably will be our future.

  12. The “keep a low profile” theme and the importance of mental toughness is crucial. Two of the most influential books in my mental preparations are “The Long Walk” by Slavomir Rawicz, and “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand. Absolutely must-read books. Rawicz’s is a great lesson on keeping a low profile and “Unbroken” is a combination of survival determination against incredible odds and how to keep faith when in the presence powerful but evil people.

    1. While gold and silver are not edible, that doesn’t mean they will always be useless. It will depend on your circumstances.

      There were a lot of Vietnamese and ethnic Chinese who got their families out of South Vietnam in 1975, rather than taking a trip to a “re-education camp,” because they had gold or dollars to bribe officials and buy the services of fishermen with boats.

      Gold and silver, or a “stable” currency (Swiss Francs for example from the past) are not a magic substitute for food and other supplies. You can never count on being able to buy what you need in an emergency. But sometimes you need portable compact wealth more than food.

      If you’re a member of an ethnic or religious minority, for example, being able to bribe your way past cops or border guards could be the difference between life as a refugee or death on the edge of a mass grave.

  13. I like what Habcan said. that’s perfect. Bunch of .22 hollowpoint ammo is great. Gonna start stockpiling lighters, also. Cheap and always handy. I figure lead, copper and brass are worth a hell of a lot more than gold and silver. Can’t eat or shoot either of them.

  14. Selco,

    Thanks once again for sharing your experiences and reflections on those experiences with us. Please keep them coming.

    “survival is often simple, brutal and unfair.” – An excellent thing to remember!

    Thanks again.


  15. Selco: Thanks for all the great advice! Your insights are very valuable! Please keep them coming. I’ve learned so much from your experience and pray for you every day!

  16. Selco – I have been saying for a long time… “Screw gold, buy lead” (Like lead bullets. They have more use than gold after SHTF.) I love your blog. Very real. Very honest!!!!


  17. Selco,

    Thanks for the info. You answer a lot of questions we have struggled with. We had decided long ago that seed saving was a better option to buying gold/silver coins, your lesson today has confirmed that.

    Please continue to share with us, it will save many a life in the near future!


  18. Selco, would you say that while gold and silver are a bad idea for when SHTF, would they be a good idea for when it is almost SHTF ?

    I mean, black clouds gather before the storm, right? Such silver and gold would be a good way to stock up on necessities on the twelveth hour, right?

    1. I prepare to not take risk or minimize risk so I get useful things now and learn skills that are useful for me and others. Yes, I guess this kind of gamble could work but you would need to have the right timing to sell and get other things… bad if you miss that moment.

      1. Waiting until the eleventh hour also means in all likelihood that one will be paying inflated prices and running much more risk of being noticed by potential thieves.

        Wheat, rice, dried beans, canned foods… All of these things are cheap today and have long storage lives. Buy plenty when it’s cheap and store it out of sight and there will be no reason to be wandering from store to empty store hoping to find something left on the shelves, while hoping not to be robbed or caught up in a panicked mob.

  19. Thank you all for positive feedback. We will have course for early birds starting hopefully late next week. It will be some hours of interview Jay did with me and also my current preparations and reasons for that (but this might come bit later, I record this weekend). We work hard right now to finish things up.

  20. Actually, if you haven’t noticed, grocery prices are already beginning to increase in value faster than gold. At least in my state. flour has doubled in price in the last year, also sugar, and many other items. Has gold increased that fast?

  21. Why would you stock gold so that you can convert it into useful supplies at the eleventh hour when instead you could just BUY those uesful supplies NOW at probably a much cheaper price.

    The most useful of supplies are usually the cheapest in normal times (weird…but factual….food, candles, matches, lighters etc. are not too expensive compared with useless crap like designer handbags and iPods and video games) but REAL quick in a situation that pendulum will swing and suddenly a box of matches and a couple of cans of chili are worth MORE than a brand new flat screen TV.

    I do think there is a place for precious metals…but only after you have a whole bunch of basic preps squared away. Also there is no need for large quantities or gold or silver for normal people…basically just enough to help you travel during uncertain times since you can’t always travel with a van full of supplies it is better to have some gold and silver stashed on your person than nothing at all….

    I don’t see gold or silver as an economic means of buying or bartering during a SHTF event. Only a way of travelling light or potentially storing wealth….if you are “normal” you have no real wealth to store besides your posessions and property and gold won’t help you protect those.

    1. I respectfully disagree here. You need to have gold and silver AND suppiles, because you will never be able to stockpile everything you need.

      For example, think of a person who is planning for a long-term SHTF scenario and is, already, more prepared than 99% of the people out there. This person has land, goats, chickens, guns, stored food for 5-7 years, etc. But the SHTF and this person has not been able to buy a horse or he has a couple horses, but needs a wagon or, maybe, he has a couple of horses and a wagon, but needs a plow. Perhaps, he has all those things, but has a kid who just got engaged or has just had a baby ….. There is never a time when someone could ever say that “I am 100% prepared for a long-term SHTF scenario” which is why you still need gold.

      Throughout all of history, an ounce of gold could always be used to trade for a decent horse or a decent wagon or a couple cows or a small flock of goats or a large flock of chickens, etc. There will always be some things that you weren’t able to buy before SHTF and gold will give you the ability to get those things later.

      It’s a bad idea thinking that you will be trading a few silver coins for a can of soup, because once that soup is gone, it’s gone and so is your silver. Of couse it would have been better to buy that soup instead of the silver! Duh! However, planning on trading a few silver or gold coins for something that can increase it’s return on capital post-crisis, like say, buying a moonshine still or a good milking cow or fruit trees, is entirely a different story.

      It can also help you get back on your feet after an unforseen disaster strikes where you could not have predicted what you would need and, therefore, could not have known to buy those things ahead of time. Whether it was a storm or an earthquake or war that destroyed a person’s home, precious metals can always help a person get back on their feet. There is a famous story of a jewish family who wanted to flee Germany, but knew it would be near impossible to get their wealth out of the country, so the man sold everything he had and bought platinum. He took his platinum and had it melted down into a set of tools. He then safely left Germany with his family and his box of shiny hammers and wrenches!

      1. Emily, thank you for your comment. You are right if there is some sort of law and order or some sort of system that enables you to trade safely, silver and gold has value.

        But we talk here about a situation in which there is no law and order and food and other necessary items like tools and resources are scarce. It all comes down to the idea that you can not eat silver or gold and you can not chop a tree with it.

        Of course there are different levels of SHTF situations, I just do not believe that gold and silver make sense in any kind of really bad SHTF situation.

        If there is a system and gold and silver is valuable then my 50 axes to chop wood will be valuable too if they are needed. But what is needed always fluctuates and depends on so many factors in your local area that it is hard to predict. So there is no right or wrong. Well informed guesses are the best we can have.

        Everyone prepares differently and my idea of preparedness is simply I prepare for the worst and if it is not that bad that’s great!

        1. Jay, which would be easier and more discrete to carry: your 50 axes or the small gold coin in my pocket? Hell, I can barely lift one axe! Now what’s someone going to do with 50 axes?

          If I could trade a coin for a wagon from my old and retired farmer neighbor (and I can do this easier in a shtf scenario when money is worthless, than now when people still use money), then my farmer neighbror can just as readily AND discretely trade the coin for a rifle from his neighbor who can trade the coin for doctor services from his pediatrician friend for his sick child…. and so it goes.

          Discretion is the best aspect of gold and silver! It is also something that nothing else can provide par value.

          1. You both are discussing apples and oranges here so to speak. There are two different situations, one where gold has value and the other where it does not. In Selco’s situation it had very little value and you had to be prepared to risk your life to try to trade with those that might give you something for it. This is the situation J is speaking of. Emily’s situation where gold can buy horses and axes is a totally different situation where there is law and order and the shit hasn’t completely hit the fan so to speak. Just a comment after reading both your posts.

          2. You guys act like there won’t be any sort of communities in a total collapse scenario. It doesn’t even have to be a small village, it could be a group holding up on a farm or a ship docked at port or a clan of some sort with a small amount of territory. There WILL be at least some sort of organization no matter how bad the SHTF. That is where you’ll need a form of currency other than supplies YOU need. Ammo, liquor, and small incriments of silver will be currency you can use without feeling the sting of it’s loss.

            If your talking about a scenario where there won’t even be tiny groups of people working together who would be interested in bartering small incriments of silver, ammo or liquor… then we’re done people, we’re finished, it won’t be worth living.

      2. Your right if the rule of law is still in play, but in a SHTF situation it is not. If you wanted to trade gold for a wagon, someone would just kill you keep your gold and sell the wagon to the next person with gold. As for the Jewish family the rule of law was in place, you could not walk up to a Jew and shoot them at that time, later you could and all those tools and money could not save his family.

    2. The problem is that people have been clamoring on and on about “end times” and “shtf” for hundreds of years. Occasionally it does happen in isolated areas. Selco had to deal with very rough times and was on one complete end of the spectrum where gold and silver were not valuable. The problem is, the other 99.9999% of humans in the world will NEVER need their stockpiles of food (or even gold). So it makes a lot of sense to have some food AND some PM’s as an insurance policy that the extremely rare event will occur. But to decide to NOT have PM’s because that 0.00001% chance could actually come to fruition is insanity.

      The world is not black and white. It is painful to see so many humans who can’t understand this basic concept.

    1. Dogs and cats disappeared during my time. I think they were eaten unfortunately. If you live in a rural community this might turn out different though. Depends how desperate people are…

  22. Today I rode 40 miles (X number kilometeters? Maybe 60? I dunno) on my heavy cargo bicycle to sell some silver, I had some sterling silver from some candle holders I paid $5 USD for, and two “silver eagles” which are 1 troy oz. “fine” silver put out by US Mint, I got in payment for two old multimeters and some other old junk, I had to try 2 places because the first one was closed, I think they’re going to go out of business.

    I treat silver like a hot potato, one oz. is $32, I can buy 300 rounds of good .22 accurate hollowpoint ammo for that, or 550 rounds+ of cheap but OK ammo still hollowpoint, hypersonic so I don’t like to buy it. I try to get silver cheap-cheap or trade for something I don’t care about (like multimeters that belong in a damn museum).

    Think about it, one round of .22 is one deer, one raccoon, etc.

    So it will be one good .22 round for one loaf of bread etc. Around here, corn bread which I love, but tortillas, made of nixtmalized corn, are healthier. You can get a deer or a turkey with a .22, or a feral dog or a coyote. A good round of .22 is valuable.

    This site is GOLDEN and by that I mean, worth a VERY GOOD meal!

    1. I know almost nothing about hunting or shooting. But I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t be expecting to take a deer with a 22. It would be illegal in normal times to even take the shot (I think) and an act of desperation and almost a sure waste of ammo and the deer even in SHTF.

        1. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY I know or have ever communicated with about hunting has ever claimed or admitted to hunting deer with 22lr. For one, it’s inhumane. 22’s do NOT cause the massic shock trauma that larger bullets (30-06 for exampe) cause, they bounce off bones and cause mid-range blood loss, taking a long time to bleed out. If you don’t strike in the perfect spot in the vitals, the animal takes off and either survives the attack or dies hours/days later after getting far away from you.

          I own 22’s… great rifles, cheap ammo, fun to shoot, accurate. However, I do not have my head up my rear like 22 fanboys seem to have. The round just does not cause the shock damage that larger ammo does, and it does not have the range. There’s a reason police and military don’t use it.

          1. We’re not talking about hunting in a planned, regulated, and scheduled season, but taking game as targets of opportunity, whenever and wherever. While a .22 LR is certainly not a standard deer caliber, the .22 WMR (aka .22 Magnum) in the deer-poacher’s choice of weapon in the Mid-Atlantic US states. “Spot-lighting”, “shining”, “jack-lighting” is generally performed using a scope, and a spotlight, in the dead of night. Deer (or other critters) come out at night to feed, the spotlight is shined in their eyes, the animal “freezes” (most times) and stares at the light, and the poacher shoots the animal right between the eyes.

            Each year, the Pennsylvania Game Commission auctions off guns and equipment seized from poachers and other wildlife violators. Every year, the items on the auction lists are predominately scoped .22 WMR rifles and portable spotlights.

            In a post-SHTF situation, large game (various types of deer, turkey, even bear) will disappear due to unregulated hunting. Squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, beaver, muskrat/nutria, raccoon, pigeons, doves, crows etc. will be the available wild game protein (and, yes, I have eaten everything listed above at least once).

          2. I agree with your thinking “out of the box”. We all need to think about SHTF like special situation, and some things (lot of things) from normal time simply not gonna apply.

  23. My thoughts on the precious metals’ role in a SHTF scenario is one of mitigating the devaluation of assets during the demise of a currency. The metals would not be brought out and traded but rather deeply hidden for the duration of the event. In a previous post, Selco described a person burying his gold and then forgetting where it was but was able to later retrieve it. Converting one’s evaporating wealth into food, ammunition, and metals (in that order) would be prudent as would consuming them in that order.

  24. In the near future there is a a significant probability of high inflation, hyperinflation, and US fiat dollar collapse. As in the example of the Weimar Republic Hyperinflation (1922-1923), gold and silver were valued very highly. There is no reason to doubt their value in the USA given the same economic crisis.

    Preparing for survival should include ALL possible situations. Of course, I agree that gold and silver will not be of any use if a doomsday meteor hits Earth, or a widespread nuclear war wipes out 99% of the planetary population. However, during hyperinflation a loaf of bread may cost $1000, but it is available in stores for purchase. History tells us that both gold and silver have been valuable rocks of stability for over 6000 years! I have seen no compeling reason why these two precious metals shouldn’t be treasured by humanity for another six millenia.

    Anyone who lighty dismisses gold and silver from their rightful place among a well-stocked survival stockpile, is leaving a wide gap in preparedness planning.

    1. I don’t think anyone is saying that gold/silver has no place in preparedness. The point being made here is that supplies will retain more value during a true SHTF situation and should take priority over precious metals in your preparations. After you have that covered then any excesses (if you are so fortunate to be in such a position) can be used for precious metals for the post-SHTF recovery. Of course if you are rich and have the means then gold over any fiat currency makes sense.

  25. In this country, ammunition would be the currency of choice. Most of us are armed, but don’t keep stores of ammo on hand. If order broke down beyond the point of recovery, gold and silver would be worthless, but a cardboard box of 20 rounds of .223 Remington would be worth more than its weight in food. If you’re going to invest cash in anything, put it into ammunition.

  26. As always, Selco, great article. I am very fortunate in that I have a decent amount of savings where I can buy a great deal of preps….food for three for six months, seeds to grow, plenty of weapons/ammunition, multi-method water purification/storage, plenty of antibiotics/medical preps, et cetera. However, cashing out my 401K and using up other investments and converting them into gold and silver (80% bullion/20% scrap gold and “junk” silver) for me is simply a way to store my wealth for after SHTF. I realize that may be 10 to 20 years down the road, but it will be worth far, far more than my 401K will be. Additionally, I own real estate (apt complex too big to pay off), and in a shortage of cash situation, I would like an alternative method to continue to make payments in a no-money world, and if a bank is still around to breathe down your neck for the mortgage, they’ll also be able to realize the then-current “value” of bullion.

    Alternatively, I could simply default and try to buy it back at an even lower price using bullion later. 😀

  27. The value of precious metal always stirs controversy when talking about survival.
    Your survival needs will vary according to the situation, for instance you may find
    yourself surviving a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness. Water and firewood will
    not be a problem but food and first aid supplies might.
    Think about survival as a list of priorities. You can survive three minutes without air, three
    days without water and 30 days without food. Then decide what scenarios you are
    likely to encounter and do your preparations based on your most urgent needs.
    It is impossible to be prepared for all possible events but it behooves you to try.
    You will be glad you did when you wake up one morning and find your world has gone to hell.
    In a prolonged SHTF situation like Selco endured, security, water, food, medicine, warmth
    and clothing were constant needs. Cash to buy black market items was important. Gold was
    not useful until much later and was in fact a risky barter item if the bad guys knew you had it.
    I am certain the gangs relieved anyone they found with it as well as their lives. Who knows if
    cash will be worth much if we have an economic meltdown so I recommend having some of
    both. Readers near the eastern Atlantic US can contact me if they would like to attend
    a two day survival seminar which will cover all of these topics including; starting a fire without
    matches, emergency shelter, finding food and water, land navigation and movement in hostile
    terrain, combat trauma medicine, security and weapons selection and most importantly the
    psychology of survival and developing a will to survive.
    [email protected]

  28. I agree with Miss J and a couple of others that PM’s is kind of like insurance that you get after all your basic needs are taken care of first. It should be the last thing you buy and not the first. No you can’t eat silver or gold or paper money or stock certificates or anything other than food.
    Pick the most common disaster in your area no mater the disaster you will need your basics for about 2 weeks and then build and take in consideration of unlikely disasters and build long term.

  29. First post 🙂 I found your site yesterday thanks to a prepper group that passed your link along on its mailing list. My mother’s family was an upper class family living just outside Belgrade when the Nazis took over. My mother was 6 years old at the time. Thanks to a group of gypsies that they’d fed prior to the war, they were able to survive. I grew up hearing stories of what had happened then, and after the Russians came.

    Is it no wonder that I’ve felt that something like that was going to happen here?

    Thank you for sharing the survival details with us. My knowledge of what it’s like is rather limited considering I’ve been given the 6 year old girl’s perspective on the SHTF scenario. The one thing I could gather from her stories is to never give your food to somebody else to cook. In her case, she caught some pigeons (alive) and took them to an old lady to cook them. The old lady released the pigeons and told her “pigeons walked with Jesus.” Splendid stomach filling consolation, don’t you think?

    Thank you again for the knowledge sharing.

  30. Why bother surviving through a shtf situation if you are going to end up completely poor and broke when things return to normal. The purpose of gold and silver is to bury it, imo, and use that to rebuild after the shtf scenario is over. Consider it a long term investment and compared to most items that can be bartered, it is very easy to conceal. It is simply a store of wealth and should be treated that way. Gold has little value during the shtf, but tremendous value after. So say you are one of the people who decided gold is worthless and it is all about food, water etc. You will end up a poor farmer when things are back to normal, even though it could take several years. If you had traded surplus food for gold, you will end up being a rich farmer in the end. Use your ability to barter with your surplus items to build up gold and silver, and you will end up in the end, very rich indeed.

    1. You only have to have useful things longer than those who have gold during SHTF situation to end up good after it. People will want to give you very valuable things for useful stuff… But yes, if you have everything you think you could ever need. Then why not get some gold, always better than just worthless paper money you can later use to start fire.

  31. WTF?

    This is sound advice-if preparing for a return to the paleolithic lifestyle which seemingly never ends OR a zombie apocalypse. If those here have ANY beliefs that the dust from the upcoming economic explosion will settle in few months to years time, then this is absolutely ridiculous advice and should be mentally flushed.

    Although never on a global level, economic collapse (especially via FIAT currency) has happened before with empires and kingdoms (effectively global events), countries and (euro)zones. Only a fool would not take the opportunity to hedge against: 1) Evil establishment/Federal Reserve/hyperinflation and 2) an annihilation of the human race. Additionally, precious metals’ value have been recognized by those before us to the tune of THOUSANDS OF YEARS, BEFORE THE INCEPTION OF MONEY.

    Preserve your wealth with gold and silver-the only ‘true’ money.

    1. If I’m not mistaken here we’re addressing the mistaken notion that you can use gold as currency and buy whatever you need DURING SHTF. No one is saying that gold is not the commodity of choice for preserving/transporting wealth in a pre or post-SHTF world.

    2. You speak in contradiction. If the human race is annihilated then with whom are you going to trade any gold or silver? It’ll be effectively worthless, because what few humans are left won’t have a need for shiny metal. The trade value will drop to the point of being worth whatever other rocks are laying about.

      You are talking about one specific scenario, and this discussion has basically been about preparing for the type of situation that Selco went through, which was a war. You are thinking global economic collapse, and that would have its own unique set of conditions and requirements for survival.

      Don’t be such an absolutist. That kind of thinking will make you dead.

    3. This was written from personal experience. The article has a clear message and has nothing to do with a paleolithic lifestyle. Are you worried you might loose some of your business exchanging gold for worthless paper dollars. Why is it the biggest proponents for the eternal inherent value of gold are the ones selling gold for “fiat” money?

  32. It’s the same experienced that my German grandparents related. The old man spent the worst times trading cigarettes, food, and alcohol.

    The silver coins he bought many years later as a hedge against a(nother) currency collapse.

    Thanks for this invaluable website.

  33. I would not agree totally about not needing gold and silver.
    I have gold and silver. 1 oz gold coins. Most of my silver is so-called junk silver divided in Half dollars, Quarters, and Dimes….as well as some small bullion bars by recognized mints.
    I also have, and I’m adding to, my stash of “stuff”…much/most of which has been discussed here and elsewhere. Precisely what one needs varies on ones individual situation.
    A family in an urban situation will have different needs from someone like me, a single old guy in a more remote region of the country.
    There is no “one solution” for everyone.

    And so in my opinion..
    You need BOTH “stuff”, e.g. food, water, guns, ammo, all the stuff one needs for day to day living and survival. AND

    Gold and Silver for trading as time goes on. The hard times won’t last forver…at least we hope not.
    And when somewhat “normal” times return. Gold and Silver will either be “real currency” themselves…
    you will be able to trade gold and silver for whatever the new currency is.
    Gold and silver have been used for thousands of years to preserve wealth and purchasing power.
    This time will be NO DIFFERENT…and I don’t care who tells you different.
    5000 years of human history say I’m right.
    Good luck to all of you
    And thanks to Selco for this site.
    I’m sure many will be helped.

    A “sheeple” NOT! 🙂

  34. Selco,
    I’ve read through quit a few of your blogs and am glad to see that I’ve been on the right track. I’ve been prepping for over a year and have had many discussions on the best ways to prepare. I’ve said many of the same things you’ve mentioned here. You can’t eat gold and if you have gold and no way to defend it, you’ll loose the gold and your life. Many have said food, shelter and water are the most important things to worry about first. I said guns and ammo and was laughed at, but you’ve proven my point. I’m no expert, but am an US Army veteran. I’m also a realist and look at things from an animalistic perspective, because at the end of the day, we are all simply intelligent animals. The intelligent part is arguable, too.
    What I find annoying is those that claim they’ve been a survivalist for 30 years and have all this experience, but really don’t. They claim they’ve survived several hurricanes and natural disasters and know how to survive. Surviving a week without electricity is just not surviving, it’s an inconvenience.
    I’ve run into groups that spend their weekends doing close quarter combat training. I’ve told them if you’ve reached the point where you have to do hand to hand combat and close quarter fighting, you’ve been overrun and are just prolonging the inevitable. Spend your time preparing to keep from being overrun just as you’ve stated, large groups and plenty of firepower.
    Thank you for your contribution and there may come a time in our very near future that your very words will save hundreds of lives. Thanks in advance, rot_soldier.

  35. In Selco’s situation gold did not have much value (although more than currency) but this was a very extreme situation where a city was under siege.

    Every situation is different and in the vast majority of cases I believe gold and silver play an important role in a survival plan. I used to live in Zimbabwe and the farmers there were very self-reliant. They were mostly ex-military, had guns and ammo, grew their own food, knew how to live off the land etc.

    However the Government in the early 2000’s decided that Whites Africans were no longer allowed property and started confiscating their land. A few put up a good fight however when you are fighting large mobs and the police/military it’s a losing battle.

    The land that the farmers had owned, often for many generations, was taken. All their equipment and supplies were taken. The Whites were forced to leave the country as refugees.

    A really sad part of it all is that their pensions and life savings were also taken by hyperinflation.

    The only Whites that managed to get out of Zimbabwe with enough money to start a life elsewhere were those that either saw the writing on the wall and left before things got too bad or those that had their money in gold or diamonds.

    In this situation it did not matter how much land, supplies, cattle, guns or ammo you had, the Government simply seized it all.

    The only way to protect your wealth was by having it secured in gold, off the records and not in a bank.

    People have used gold for thousands of years because it maintains its value, does not corrode over time, is divisible and portable.

    In a SHTF scenario there is a good chance you will be a refugee and will not be able to haul all your supplies with you. There is an even better chance the Government will simply seize all your supplies.

    In my opinion gold should be a part of any long term survival plan.

  36. I used to get into the biggest arguments over the value of stocking up gold and silver. I would point out that if food is scarce, no one is going to want your gold in exchange for it. Also, having silver eagles or bars would mark you to the average joe as someone who probably has more at home. I figured if it traded in prison, it would trade in a SHTF situation. Cigarettes, booze, lighters, coffee, even skin rags. The only safe gold or silver would be as you listed, mid value jewelry (wedding/engagement rings, necklaces, etc).

  37. Selco. Thank you.

    I learn something every time I come here. The idea of selling your “wife’s” ring. Even if you have a bag of them, makes perfect sense. As long as you don’t do it in the same place, no one will think you are any better off than anyone else and that might keep you off the radar of people looking to take things by force. I mean, if a guy is down to selling his wife’s ring, what could he have worth stealing?

    My wife’s an ER doc and this makes me think that stocking up on supplies that she could use to treat people might end up being the most valuable thing we could do. Perhaps barter a local clinic and treatment for things we don’t have but need.

    Good stuff!

    1. ER doctor by my opinion is one of the best man to have inside group when SHTF, of course together with all supplies.
      Great skill for group and also for bartering.

  38. better not to announce you have anything until you find out what is needed and if what you want is available and say you “might’ know where to get a small amount in exchange. dont reveal source, don’t be followed. use the buddy system.
    for gold rings to be barter material you have to agree on value, difficult without scales and knowing/proving purity… ergo standardized coinage with widely known & accepted values already attached. Fractional Silver, nickel, & copper will become the accepted exchange medium (as junk coinage falls)or not… and post-SHTF, Survivalism will be widely Practiced, or not…
    Specific parameters, like timelines, value and conditions will vary widely from location to location and region to region. Supply and demand will become more immediate and urgent – the artificial economy has skewed behavior to exacerbate the trouble coming so that the Perp Elite can come in with the solution. LIkely there will be two Markets, the NWO digital card/chip-driven system, and the black market/underground economy, the 100th monkey probably will not come out until things get much worse. Dependence on “entitlements,” paychecks, utilities, grocery stores, etc. puts one at risk. Anything can happen and many will die because of scenarios/panic / lacking mental prep and not due to lack of physical preps. one will die for lack of a .22 and one will die lacking a match. many will die in camps because they trusted gov, and many will die because they didnt trust the gov. but if you have to bug out (plan B,C,D…) you better have a water filtration method or system (and a good knife) above all else.
    Every material item you own/keep/store has its own risk/reward profile which will change depending on the times and situations you encounter

  39. I have been thinking this same thing for a long time, and have argued with several of my friends that insist gold is the way to go. I am buying ammo, cheap guns, and used generators, as well as the stuff I need for my family. It is more than likeley that nothing will be more valuable than food, water, guns, ammo and running generators.
    Also blankets, fuel, and radios could fit into that category as well!

  40. I am in the process of stocking some liquor. mainly whisky and cognac. howevrr i am realizing that most of my bottles are 1 litre sized. do you think they are too large and that i should get smaller bottles instead? or could i just repackage them for trading purposes?

  41. Hi,
    remark for gold:

    it was at the and of WW2 somewhere in the eastern Europe. Volunteer army surrended to the British and lay down all their arms. British arranged and passed this mens to the Reds who sloughtered them.

    My uncle survived just because his wife has give a golden necless to the british soldier to look for few moments away.
    What else in that position could she give that Brit soldier?


  42. I was thinking about the valuable use and need for me to get a gold necklace, bracelet. I had not seen this article before, or at least do not remember it. I joined in Feb 2012.

    Lots of great info, in article and in remarks.

    Booze is the other item I want more of. Need to get a few bottles each month.

  43. In a SHTF situation, I would have no trouble, whatsoever, trading on people’s various “addictions”. Here are the trade goods I am stocking:

    LEGAL addictions

    1. Alcohol (some decent booze, and a lot of cheap grain alcohol to dilute the good stuff)
    2. Tobacco (mainly as cigarettes)
    3. Chocolate

    ILLEGAL addictions

    1. Opiates (I have saved leftover pain-killers that were prescribed for minor surgeries, root-canal, etc. that I didn’t need for pain. Most opiates are now generics, and have low co-pays.)
    2. Marijuana (I would try to procure some seed-stock and start growing a crop.)

    I would use ammunition or weapons for barter only under the most dire circumstances, because there is too much of a possibility that said ammo could end up being used against you. Once you’ve traded it, you lose control of who that ammo will be used against.

    I’m sure Selco could elaborate on the types of folks who were in the weapons/ammo trading game in Sarajevo, and their fates.


    1. Maybe to add coffee in legal addiction part. Just store as much ammo as you can, it will be good thing for trade if you choose to trade it. Of course you gonna need to use lot of planning when you trade ammo (actually when you trade whatever) like where to trade and with who etc.
      Yes lot of folks died because some stupid decisions about trading, on the other hand some folks earned fortune with trade during the hard time, others just survived. We all gonna have chance to choose.

Leave a Reply


Related Articles

Prepping What Food To Store

What food can be foraged?

Explore the bounty of nature with me as I delve into what food can be foraged, from wild berries to edible plants and mushrooms. Join the adventure!

Read More

Join our Mailing list!

Get the latest on survival, exclusive deals and course updates.