What to Own When the Dollar Collapses

Hello there! Some of the links in this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

The value of the dollar remains as long as people trust it.

However, with uncertain times can come uncertain changes in value. Some currencies have already lost that trust and left people struggling, but what if that happened to the American dollar?

And what would you want to own if the dollar collapsed?

The best goods to own when the dollar collapses are water, water purification, shelf-stable food, fuel, and ammunition. These items will always be highly desired and valuable for bartering.

Let’s learn more about these survival goods below.

Water & Water Purification

Water is the first thing that you want to get because it’s the first thing that your body needs in a survival situation. There are lots of ways to get and store water. We’ll go over a few of your best options.

One of the easiest ways to obtain water for personal use is by collecting rainwater. Be careful though! In lots of places, collecting rainwater is illegal. Rainwater is especially good for watering plants and homesteading, but while the market is alive and well, the local authorities can penalize you for this kind of thing.

For trading purposes, bottled water comes in a nice package and is convenient to carry. Packaging is important for bartering situations. You need to be able to pick up and carry what you trade so that you and your trading partner can exchange goods and leave.

For personal use, a good and cost-effective means of collecting potable water is to save the plastic bottles from soda and juice, fill them with water, and store them someplace safe. Other more serious options include mylar bags, water barrels, and water crates.

Or you can take the more long-term approach and invest in a tried-and-true water filter like the Berkley Water Filter System. However, it’s always best to know how to create a natural water purification system using sand, rocks, charcoal, and a few other items lying around the house.

Shelf-Stable Food

Next on the to-do list is to build a long-term food storage so that you can have the energy to provide for yourself and your family when the market crashes. Without food, your body will grow too weak to function within a few weeks, so it’s important to have a backup plan. We’ll talk about a few of your options.

One obvious choice is to stockpile canned goods. Canned goods provide a safe and reliable source of nutrition that has a very low chance of carrying disease. Canned goods are also cheap and require very little energy to procure– not so with some of your other options.

Another, more costly option is to invest in supplies of dehydrated foods. These dried foods can come in packages that are arranged to feed a person for extended periods of time. They are certainly shelf-stable but keep in mind that most of them require hot water to rehydrate them. If you don’t have that water for rehydration, you might not have as good of a time choking it down, if you choose to eat it at all!

A slightly more time-consuming option is gardening and pickling your fruits and vegetables. This may not prepare you for the near future, but pickling and preserving foods provide a steady income of stable food for later. Pickling and preservation is also a skill that’s worthwhile to have during times of economic collapse.

The last option is the more unreliable one– hunting and fishing. The amount and type of game that you catch depend on where you are and what season it is. If you live somewhere like Arizona, this option will be less viable than if you live someplace like Tennessee.

Hunting and fishing also require some preparation and access to land, but if you are a seasoned hunter or fisherman, this can be a valuable resource for you if the dollar goes bad. Fresh meat and fish can be salted and stored in a larder. Bones can be roasted and boiled into a broth, and furs can keep warm or provide some much-needed bargaining material.

If you choose to stockpile foods for trading, think about storing things with a lot of calories. Items like powdered mashed potatoes, peanut butter, tuna, and beans will be more valuable than canned green beans or corn.


Fuel is the next thing you will want to stockpile mainly because of its usefulness in transport and trade. Fuel is going to be of special interest to those who live in big cities so that you can bug out of town if you need to. There are a couple of precautions you need to take when storing fuel.

Fuel is only good for so long, and if you live in a city as we said before, then you’re going to want your fuel in portable cans or jugs. The key is putting a gasoline stabilizer in your fuel so that it does not solidify over time during storage.

When the time comes to bug out, simply load your fuel in the back of your vehicle, and drive off. Make sure you’re not leaking!

Related Post: How to Store Gasoline Long-Term

If you live in a more rural area, another option is investing in large storage tanks for your vehicles. These tanks put a lot of fuel in one place and make dispensing fuel easy. The danger may lie in the size of the tanks. If you do not bury large tanks underground, they may bring more trouble as a safety hazard than use as a fuel source.

If you need to bug out, remember, everyone will want your fuel. You would need to be careful with whom you choose to trade. If everything goes fairly, you will be able to get almost anything you want with a few gallons of fuel.

Firearms and Ammunition

Going along with the same process of stockpiling fuel, ammunition will be an invaluable resource if the dollar goes south. The price of ammo has done nothing but rise as the years have gone on and the regulations pile up. You’ll need ammunition just in case you need to defend yourself, and it will be good to have for bartering, too.

The thing about ammunition is that there are lots of different kinds, and it can get complicated. If you buy ammunition for self-defense, you will want to get something that isn’t too expensive but still has some ballistic force, like 5.56 for M4s. For small game and rodents, pellets and .22 long rifle will do just fine– for birds, birdshot, and so on.

The most popular kinds of ammunition will be the best for trading, so if you choose to buy ammunition only for bartering, buy 9mm, .22LR, .308, 12-gage shells, or .223. Just keep in mind that if your bartering partner has a weapon and no ammunition, you may make your way into an unsavory situation if you aren’t careful.

Other Goods to Own When the Dollar Collapses?

Of course, there are more options for ensuring your money– like gold and foreign stocks, but as the saying goes, you can’t eat gold. You may also consider stocking up on items such as alcohol, cigarettes, and prescription medication. But with highly valued items like these, you run the risk of encountering unwanted trouble with “sin tax” type items compared to bartering with barebone essential goods. Also, items like cigarettes will not hold much value to non-smokers.

One of the difficult things to remember as you begin to make your preps is that the value of items depends on the people with whom you trade. Some people have an alcohol dependency, and that makes alcohol extremely valuable. Items like food and water, however, sustain you if you need them and provide value to all potential barter opportunities. Now, how much of each item should you have?

If you are only looking to sustain yourself and your family, follow these guidelines.

  • For water, 1 gallon per person per day.
  • For shelf-stable food, at least 2000 calories per person per day.
  • For fuel, the amount it would take to travel 500 miles.
  • For ammunition, 300 rounds per person at a bare minimum.

There cannot be set values because there is no telling how long things stay bad. For bartering purposes, it will be useful to procure the easiest and cheapest resource now so that you can barter for what you need later.