What to Buy Before Hyperinflation Hits Your Budget Like a Runaway Train

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Are you concerned about continuing shortages this year and into the next? Are you wondering what to buy before hyperinflation?

You’re not alone.

I think those are some of the biggest questions on people’s minds right now.

First, take a breath. The most important thing is don’t panic. Food is not running out tomorrow and you have time. In fact, the old British wartime slogan, “Keep Calm and Carry On,” is the perfect motto right now.

Secondly, if you haven’t already, educate yourself about what hyperinflation is and what it could look like if it hits the U.S.

Having said that, it’s time to make some lists and calmly focus on stocking some essentials.  

image: woman's hands cutting in half a ten dollar bill with black-handled scissors representing hyperinflation

Will food prices go down soon?

Although there was debate between different groups about whether the inflation we’re experiencing was transitory or persistent, most have swung squarely into the persistent camp. Transitory inflation suggests that the price increases observed would be temporary and eventually subside, while persistent inflation implies that higher inflation would be sustained over the long term. Despite fluctuations in the prices of certain common food items, such as eggs, persistent is where we’re living right now.

Have a look at these screenshots of Year of Year commodity prices as of July 14, 2023. You’ll see some things have actually decreased from this time last year. Commodity prices don’t automatically mean the prices increase for the products made from said commodities, but there is a correlation.

commodities chart1
commodity eggs

You can examine the commodities chart here.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) hit 9.1% in June 2022, a 40-year high. Since then it has decreased for 12 consecutive months. The CPI is currently 3% as of June of 2023.

Tips Before You Begin

  1. Don’t go into debt in an ill-advised panic. It won’t help your family if you are paying ever-higher interest rates on credit card debt during a difficult financial time. Just do what you can.
  2. Make lists and then be prepared to go to multiple stores for specific items. Shortages seem to come and go, so be persistent. If you have a solid list, you’ll be much more efficient and less likely to give up in the face of some empty shelves. 
  3. Prioritize what you believe are the most important items for your family. Some families need baby formula and diapers, while others need Ensure and, er, diapers. Every family’s needs are specific so decide what YOUR family needs and then decide how much fits your budget. 
  4. Prepare some storage space ahead of time. Have some empty bins or shelves available before you start stocking up. It helps keep supplies organized and increases your efficiency. It also helps you to keep from overstocking in fear. Know what and how much you need, put it on a list and stick to your list.

Storing the Basics Before Hyperinflation

Ideally, you want to have at least a month’s worth of food on hand. It can be more or less depending on your budget. (I cannot stress enough that it should be food your family will actually eat.)

If you’d like some guidance in how to do this quickly, this article walks you through how to stock up on three months worth of meals.

Having said that, there are certain categories of items to stock up on before inflation. I think everyone is going to want to have some of these on-hand during shortages. Items such as:

  • Dry Goods Shortages of dry goods, like pasta, rice, beans, and spices, cropped up during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, thanks to supply issues and continued high demand, we’re starting to see some shortages again. This is the time to add basic staples to your pantry. Here are some creative ways to incorporate pasta and rice in your menus. Buy what you can when you see it.
  • Canned foods, including vegetables, fruit, and meats are easy to store and useable in a variety of ways. Individual ingredients require more work to make into meals, but they expand meal options, which is why knowing how to cook from scratch is critical. Buying processed foods is more expensive and limits variety. However, if that’s all your family will eat, then by all means, stock up! Be aware that processed foods are in shorter supply right now so it may be cheaper and easier to source basic ingredients.
  • Baking Supplies You’ll want to add to your stock of ingredients for baking like flour, yeast, sugar, baking soda, and salt. The shortages on these staples ebb and flow so you might as well tuck away a few extra. And if you can’t find it on the shelves, The Survival Mom can tell you how to make yeast.
  • Freeze Dried Foods  There are many good freeze-dried foods on the market these days. These store for many years and last up to a year even after they are opened. This is an ideal way to compensate for shortages at the grocery store. They are, however, fairly expensive right now, so you’ll have to decide if they fit in the budget. Here’s a list of the food storage companies The Survival Mom recommends and why.
  • Seeds  One good way to ensure you have plenty of food on your table is to grow your own. Gardening requires some forethought, time, and healthy labor, but there’s nothing tastier or more satisfying than eating something you’ve grown. If you think you want to try a garden this year, I recommend ordering some seeds now to avoid the spring rush. Gardening takes some time to learn so find some videos or books or local classes to help you get started. These tips from a master gardener will also help.

Buy Extra of the Items You Use Everyday

Other items to stock up on before inflation include extra over-the-counter medicines, vitamin supplements, and immune boosters in case there is yet another wave of Covid. Shortages on pain relievers and flu medicines continue to happen predictably and inconveniently at the start of each covid wave. An even better strategy is to learn how to stay healthy in times of scarcity.

Finally, if your budget allows, have at least one extra of your favorite household goods. In addition to sporadic shortages, everything from diapers to detergent to chocolate promises to be more expensive in the coming months. Some of our largest food and household makers have announced multiple prices increases in 2022 so buying these sooner rather than later will actually save you money. 

Other Supplies You Should Consider Buying Before Hyperinflation Hits

While no one has a crystal ball to predict exactly what will be in short supply in the coming year, we can make some good guesses based on specific issues that cropped up in 2021. 

  • Anything that Uses a Computer Chip  Chip production is at maximum capacity while demand continues to increase thanks to electric vehicles and 5G technology. If you’re planning on purchasing a new car this year, you’ll need to plan for higher prices and longer wait times. This issue will persist until new production facilities are built so in the meantime plan ahead for any car or electronics purchases. TIP: If you have any skills related to automobile rehab, check out nearby auctions and look for vehicles whose repairs you know can be done within a reasonable budget.
  • Wheat  Global supplies of wheat are lower due to weather and high demand, driving up the price. Buying wheat berries and learning to make your own bread and baked goods makes sense now more than ever. Another strategy is to learn to use more oats or quinoa in your diet.
  • Corn  There was not a reduction in the corn harvest in 2021. However, high global demand and shipping costs caused the price of corn to rise along with everything else. The real culprit for us in 2022 and beyond is commercial fertilizers that have increased in price anywhere from 100% to 215%. Corn is the most dependent on fertilizers, but most commercial crops will be affected. Corn is actually used in a surprising number of products (like diapers and drywall) so expect a trickle-down effect. For personal use, there are alternatives to commercial fertilizers.
  • Meat  Processing shortages and shipping costs contributed to rising prices on all meats last year. This year that will continue as the cost of feed (corn) continues to rise. The best advice here is to buy local. Find a rancher or local supplier to buy from directly and cut out the middleman. Go in with another family or two if buying a whole animal is too much. A “half cow” should run anywhere between $1300-1800 or so.
  • Potatoes  The rapid shutdown of all commercial markets for potatoes forced many potato farmers to destroy their harvest in 2020. These actions left holes in the potato supply even as demand rebounded. Supply should catch up with demand after the next harvest, but until then potato products may be harder to find. Buying a large bag of rice or cans of beans can help compensate for fewer potatoes in your diet. Freeze-dried potatoes are also an option.
  • Dairy  Dairy costs will also continue to rise in 2022 due to higher feed and shipping costs. This may also translate to a shortage of supply if farmers need to scale back on production due to higher costs. Buying powdered milk or shelf-stable boxes of milk can bridge the gap if there are temporary shortages in your area. Another idea is to order milk delivered from a local dairy. It probably won’t lower the cost, but might be a more reliable source if you experience shortages at your stores.
  • Paper Products  There isn’t really a shortage of paper plates and TP, but they continue to fly off shelves every time a winter storm or new variant is announced. Do yourself a favor and tuck some extra away so you don’t have to fight those crowds.
  • Tires  A global rubber shortage has tire manufacturers scrambling to ensure they can produce enough tires. If you know you need new tires, don’t procrastinate, get them now. If you know you’ll need tires in the next year, plan ahead either by buying and storing them or ordering ahead in case there are delays.
  • Car Parts  Another victim of our global supply chain chaos is car parts. Dealers and service providers are experiencing difficulty in sourcing the parts they need to fix cars.  If you have a vehicle that needs regular maintenance, order parts now and store them or plan ahead for longer wait times. Storing an extra quart of oil or two might be a good idea as well.

Prep More Now So You Can Worry Less Later

Don’t put off preparing your family for unforeseen circumstances. Here are even more ways to get ready for hyperinflation.

The Covid pandemic and product shortages have taught us that our supply chain isn’t as resilient as we believed. Rising energy prices, high shipping costs, labor issues, natural disasters, foreign conflicts, and new variants have placed new challenges on a system designed for stability. Some planning and preparation now won’t stop things from happening, but it will give you peace of mind.

Survival Mom calls these “red flags” that need specific and urgent actions. Learn more about that with her online class, “Red Flag Survival Workshop”.

What strategies have helped you deal with hyperinflation?

Updated July 16, 2023.

22 thoughts on “What to Buy Before Hyperinflation Hits Your Budget Like a Runaway Train”

  1. Find and use a Food Salvage store, (check the dates on canned goods of course) We have really been able to stock up on dried goods and toilet paper, laundry soap, what we spend at these stores has helped us (retired) folks stay comfortable. Check out your area for Store near you.

    1. I used to shop at a store like this in Phoenix years ago! It was quite an adventure — brands I’d never heard of before.

    1. There doesn’t seem to be an end to the inflation we’re experiencing. Hope this article gave you some ideas for moving forward.

      1. Hi. I run a small group of people trying to become more self sufficient and prepared. I was wondering if I could use this article in a class for them?

  2. Consider items you may not necessarily use as a means to barter. For instance, I don’t smoke but I have a couple of cartons of cigarettes (vacuum sealed)that could be very useful in a barter situation.

    1. My husband and I were just discussing this, Valeries. We thought about those tiny single-serve(?) alcohols. The right one could be medicinal also.

      1. Cinnamon Grammy

        Regarding medicinal alcohol. A friend said that the Amish friends of her parents bought five cases of alcohol – probably vodka. Reason – medicinal.

          1. Unflavored vodka is a good base for mixing with medicinal herbs. It has no flavor or color, so it acts as both a preservative and draws the good properties out of the plants.

  3. This weekend, Boneless Pork Loin was on sale at my local grocery store for $1.79/lb. That was the normal price 3 years ago. Today a good buy is $2.50/lb. They had a limit of 2 per purchase. So I went to the store twice, now I have 4. The weekend before it was Pork Butt for $1.29/lb. (normally around $2.00+/lb) and I got 4 of them. An extra freezer is so great to have.
    I’m always buying extra (2x or 3x) of items that go on sale. My Prepper Pantry is pretty well stocked.

    1. I’ve experienced something similar this week. Chicken breast on sale for $1.99/lb. Limit 2. I’ve gone twice so far and have fortunately been able to purchase the limit. Hoping I’ll be able to do this a few more times before the sale ends.

  4. Might I add: stock up on quarts of oil for your vehicles, snowblowers, generators etc. As well as, make sure you have various extra parts for your equipment that may be hard to get later. Filters, gaskets, spark plugs, shear pins, belts, extra chain blade for your saw, etc. It seems crazy to stock up in these things because we’ve always been able to run out and get them at a moments notice, but we see now how fragile our supply chain really is!

  5. Might I add: stock up on quarts of oil for your vehicles, snowblowers, generators etc. As well as, make sure you have various extra parts for your equipment that may be hard to get later. Filters, gaskets, spark plugs, shear pins, belts, extra chain blade for your saw, etc.
    Also…try to get extra parts for your toilets, sinks etc. It seems crazy to stock up in these things because we’ve always been able to run out and get them at a moments notice, but we see now how fragile our supply chain really is!

  6. I also want to point out parts for your lawnmower, hubby is trying to basically rebuild his riding lawnmower, with the push to go electric for lawn equipment the parts are getting more expensive and harder to find for the gas versions.

  7. I would recommend purchasing food storage items like canned goods, boxed meals, and dehydrated foods. These will help you to have a stockpile of food that you can use in the event of an emergency.

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