Imagine a world where money keeps losing its purchasing power, and all your favorite items now cost way more than usual. This is what happens during hyperinflation.
The United States has been experiencing one of the worst inflations in several decades. In February 2022, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the most widely used measure of inflation, rose 0.8%, up 7.9% over the last twelve months. This is the highest rate the country has seen in 40 years.
The high inflation rate is not limited to the United States; several countries worldwide are also experiencing it. Moreover, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), elevated inflation will persist.
The IMF projects that global growth is expected to moderate from the 2021 rate of 5.9 percent to 4.4 percent in 2022—half a percentage point lower for 2022. High inflation has resulted in price surges, and many are worried about it transitioning to hyperinflation.
How to survive hyperinflation, and what should you buy before it hits? This article discusses all these and more. Let’s begin!
Hyperinflation describes rapid, excess, and out-of-control general price increases in an economy. So while inflation measures the pace of rising prices for goods and services, hyperinflation is inflation that is rising more than 50% per month.
Hyperinflation is rare for developed countries, but it has occurred severally throughout history in countries like Germany, Russia, Hungary, and Argentina. The United States has never yet been a victim of hyperinflation. But it came close twice during the Revolutionary War and Civil War, when the government printed currency to pay for its war efforts.
So, imagine buying the same groceries for $500 weekly and then the price increasing to $750 the next month and $1,125 the month after. This economic situation has several implications for a country’s economy and creates panic.
The rising price causes people to hoard goods, including perishable items. This, in turn, creates shortages, and it also leads to the depletion of cash or savings in the bank.
In addition, homes lose their value as money has far less purchasing power. So how do you prepare for and survive hyperinflation? What should you buy?
We’ll answer this shortly, but first, let’s see why hyperinflation occurs.
Hyperinflation occurs for several reasons, but we discuss two of the most common factors below.
1. Excess Money Supply
Hyperinflation happens mostly in times of great economic turmoil and depression. Economic depression is an extended period of negative growth rate. It lasts for years and is characterized by high unemployment, company and individual bankruptcies, lower productivity output, and less credit.
To combat depression, governments, through the central bank, release more money to the public. The extra money is ment to go to businesses and consumers to improve investment and spending. However, if the increased money supply is not backed by economic growth as measured by the gross domestic product (GDP), it creates hyperinflation.
2. Loss of Confidence in the Economy or Monetary System
Hyperinflation occurs when citizens lose confidence in their country’s currency and the central bank’s ability to maintain the currency value. This is common in times of war.
Companies selling within and outside the country request a risk premium for accepting the money. However, they also raise their prices, creating hyperinflation.
Also, when the currency is seen as having little or no value, people start hoarding items, especially valuable commodities. As a result, the high price causes a scarcity of necessities like food and fuel. The government then releases money to stabilize prices and create liquidity, worsening the problem.
There are several things people prepare for in life, and hyperinflation is one of them. Even if there’s a low chance of hyperinflation happening, high inflation still hurts economies and finances. So, you must take proactive steps before the situation arises.
Waiting for the excessive inflation increase only reduces your purchasing power. It might become hard to afford the things you need and also difficult to find them. So, preparing for hyperinflation helps you protect your financial stability.
The following are ways to prepare for hyperinflation:
Finally, know that hyperinflation is a systemic problem, so there’s little you can do to change it. The best course of action is to adapt to avoid its effects as much as possible.
What should you buy before inflation hits? Should you go for the best prepper food first or make other strategic and informed choices? Below, we cover what to buy before hyperinflation hits.
Suppose you have plans to buy a home and saved for it. Buy it before hyperinflation. If you delay, prices will get inflated, and the median market price will get higher than it is now.
The property price increase is largely due to the increased price of raw materials. If you already have a down payment on a house, your mortgage payments will likely remain the same. But if you can pay it off before hyperinflation, it is advisable to do so.
The value of precious metals, especially gold and silver, increases during hyperinflation. This is mainly because the value of these metals doesn’t change like cash. As a result, they always appreciate while currencies can depreciate.
This largely covers food items and other necessities. Knowing how to survive hyperinflation means understanding the type of food to park and how long it will last you and your family. There are certain types of supplies you must have.
We cover some of them below but read our article on prepping for beginners for more detailed information.
Dry foods always make it into the survival food buckets. The United States has been experiencing food shortages since the early days of COVID-19. This affected dried items like pasta, beans, rice, and spices.
The war in Ukraine means that this situation may persist for a while. The increased inflation is also a major factor. So, stock up on dry food items. While most of them, like pasta, have expiry dates, they have a long shelf life, unlike canned foods and other perishables.
Other food items to purchase when preparing for hyperinflation are wheat, corn, potatoes, and dairy.
Another essential commodity to buy before hyperinflation hits is canned foods, including vegetables, fruits, and meats. These foods are easy to store and use in different ways. For example, you can dry or buy dried meat.
Dried meat can last up to a year if refrigerated. However, vegetables and fruits won’t last that long. Also, ensure the canned products have a long expiration date. If you buy products that would expire in a month or two, it defeats the purpose of stocking up before hyperinflation.
Keep in mind that canned foods are more expensive than what you’ll buy from the farmer’s market. But if that’s what you’ll eat, ensure you stock up.
It is an excellent idea to buy seeds and grow your food if you're into gardening. However, there’s a limit on what you can grow. For instance, you can grow vegetables and herbs. But you can’t plant rice or beans in your backyard garden. So, grow what you can and buy what you can’t.
A Survival Food Kit
Survival food kits are food buckets with essential nutrients, and they cover breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The kit from Valley Food Storage was made with simple and clean ingredients and it can last for up to 25 years.
So, if you’d rather avoid the stress of grocery shopping during hyperinflation, you can order a food kit. There are different sizes available, so consider the size of your household and how long you want it to last. You can use our survival food calculator to get an idea how much food you need to have ready.
When preparing for hyperinflation, your budget determines how much food you can store. This is why we do not recommend stress buying. Instead, if you have a family, sit with them, and talk about your food options, preferences, and what to spend money on.
Keep in mind that while food may be scarce and prices increase during hyperinflation, grocery stores likely won’t close down. Therefore, prepping reduces what you need to buy but does not entirely eliminate purchasing food items.
Include baking supplies in the list of what to buy before hyperinflation hits. Purchase baking soda, flour, yeast, and salt. These items can last a few months before going bad if you store them in a cold, dry place.
Craved/daily items are not food but commodities people can’t live without and use daily. Examples are toothbrushes, detergents, toothpaste, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. Even if you don’t smoke, you can buy and sell cigarettes to those who do when scarcity peaks.
Don’t forget to stock up on coffee if you are a drinker. If you have children, buy snacks, diapers, and a first aid kit. The latter is important because you must look after your health even in times of inflated prices and scarcity. So, purchase over-the-counter medications, vitamin supplements, and immune boosters.
Hyperinflation causes an increase in electricity bills. The best way to get ahead is by investing in solar power, especially if you live in a place with lots of sunlight. Get solar power tools and solar-powered appliances. This will keep you less reliant on electricity providers and help you save money during hyperinflation.
Hyperinflation often affects people who keep cash and those who earn fixed salaries the most. As their money depletes, they might resort to other ways to get funds. This is why there is unrest during inflation or hyperinflation.
Historically, there’s a relationship between crime and high inflation. Therefore, you need to invest in security tools to protect yourself and your loved ones. If you don’t have one, buy a home security system, tasers, and pepper sprays. Also, your house can be a target if words go around that you have stocked up food, so take security seriously.
Aside from all we’ve discussed, you can purchase certain assets that resist inflation and keep you financially buoyant. So, consider investing in:
Furthermore, car prices go up during hyperinflation, so you might consider making a down payment now if you want to get one. If you already have one, buy parts and store them. It is wise to buy engine oil and extra tires.
Also, ensure you have enough storage space for the items you buy. If you don’t, make a shed for large items. Alternatively, clean out your cabinets and rid them of things you no longer need. Then use the space to store your food and other items.
Finally, don’t go into debt in trying to prepare for hyperinflation. It won’t help to sink into a financial hole while trying to avoid one in the first place. Instead, create a list using the economic principle of the scale of preference, and work from the most important to the least.
You may never live through hyperinflation, but being prepared does not hurt. Again, while you cannot control the economic situation of your country, you can limit the harm you suffer as a result. So, follow our list of what to buy before inflation hits, but also make sure to prepare for everyday emergencies. Have a bug out bag list and go through it. Put together your 72 hour food kit, and get a start on prepping for any emergencies that might come up!