For the last six months the back of my mind has been dominated by concern about the next recession. Now, I don’t know if this is going to happen in three weeks, three months, or three years, but I do know that is important that we prepare for bad times. And I honestly don’t need to justify my concern based on complex economic theory or political analysis. My basic concern is that what comes up must come down, and the fact that I have enough decades watching good economies come and go.

In simple terms, we have seen it all before and it shouldn’t surprise anyone when they happen, even if we couldn’t predict the timing. It also seems clear to me that we should always do a bit of preparation for those rough times and we should do it when things are going well. Here are a few things that you can do right now to prepare for a recession:

  • Get out of debt. I realize this is not an option if you have a house or just bought a car, but your credit card and other consumer debt is always fair game to get rid of. And if you can do something to pay off some of the principle on your house or car, that will help as well.
  • Build a supply of canned or other storable food. During even a small recession, many folks loose a job. Sometimes this is only for a week, sometimes it can last years, either way, not always worrying about where your next meal is going to come from gives you the time to make a recovery plan and time to implement it.
  • Update your resumes. If you have a resume mostly ready to go before you need it, you can start applying for jobs as soon as you get home. And you will notice that I said resumes? You likely have a set of skills that will cover more than one job. In a recession you don’t have the privilege of only taking the job you want the most, you will be better taking whatever job you are offered and running with it until times get better. If you have a couple of different resumes ready you will be able to apply to whatever job you need to quickly and with less stress.
  • Plant a garden now! If you are a new gardener you should start with a small 4×4 foot space. You should have a plan to add more space as you get experience and confidence. Pick a spot that has at least seven hour of sun a day if possible. If you don’t have space you may be able to get some food production going in a pot or by sharing space with a neighbor that has more room than they can handle.
  • Plant some fruit trees, if space allows, and learn to take care of those fruit trees. Fruit is great at providing calories that are otherwise hard to grow on a suburban or city lot. There are a few tricky things with fruit: it will usually take at least three years to get a harvest, pruning and other maintenance take practice and know how, and space. These reasons make it all the more important to start now and make a long term commitment.

If you look at the suggestions above you will notice that non of them are extreme, none of them make it likely that you will be cast on Doomsday Prepper. These are everyday things that everyday people can do to prepare for a recession. And they can serve you well in everyday life whether or not the next recession has a big effect on you or your family.