A Cashless Society and the Implication for Preppers

by Joe I. (aka village idiot)

For the past few years, the US Government has been trying, through fits and starts, to implement a policy whereby all its payments are made electronically into bank accounts or onto electronic debit cards. The Government recently announced that Social Security payments would all be either electronic entries in bank accounts or EBTcards by sometime in 2013. Payments to retirees are already electronic entries for the most part, and VA checks and other governmental payments will follow suit.

All these actions have supposedly taken place in an effort to save money, yet the savings are minuscule compared to overall spending, and it would take a great leap of faith for one to believe the government is in any way concerned about cutting spending. All evidence points to the contrary, so budget savings are likely a cover for the real reason behind these measures. The private sector has also had a hand in the push for the cashless society, and with the introduction of credit and debit cards have made great strides in the elimination of cash.

For banks and other financial institutions, the less cash they have to handle, the more profit they make. It takes less personnel, less space, and it is easier to handle electronic transactions as opposed to counting, distributing and storing cash. Almost all transfers of funds between financial institutions are already electronic.

There is less and less physical cash circulating in the economy, and the trend is headed toward zero. As preppers, we should be aware of what is happening, and what the implications will be when and if our society becomes basically cashless. Identity theft, fraud, and hacking are already costing society hundreds of billions of dollars, and they will continue to grow in a cashless environment.

Law enforcement will be adjusting resources to deal with these issues, and less money and personnel will be allocated to fight traditional crimes of violence such as assault, burglary, and theft. There will be choices for us to make if we wish to remain viable and independent, and if we wish to maintain our privacy.

I do suggest that people who receive retirement or assistance from the government get the checks delivered to their home if they qualify. Usually, handicapped and sick people can get checks rather than debit cards if they can show a hardship. Naturally, there are forms to be filled out, but it might be worth a try.


One of the major problems for preppers in a cashless society will be remaining anonymous and preserving operations security. And not in a military sense of the word, but just day-to-day living and working. In a cashless society, every single transaction of life will be recorded on a computer server somewhere.

What and where you buy food, water, supplies, and all the accoutrements of life will be recorded, and it is very likely that there will be computer programs and algorithms that will automatically flag people who buy certain things or combinations of things that are not approved by a new breed of bureaucrat acting on a bevy of new regulations.

Certain foods, additives, beverages, antiseptics, medicines, and possibly the quantities purchased could be used to identify behaviors and traits in an effort to identify people who might be preppers. For instance, perhaps large purchases of garden seed would set off an alarm somewhere.

II. Freedom of movement

It will be impossible to move around the country without leaving an electronic trail, even if one doesn’t want to. Purchasing gasoline, buying plane or train tickets, restaurant and hotel transactions, and all aspects of travel will leave a trail easy to follow. Of course, travel alone probably wouldn’t have any implications for preppers.

But visits to certain areas will likely get one scrutinized, depending on whether there is tax havens in places one travels, such as certain parts of the Caribbean, or whether one visits some destinations in Latin America or Asia.

Of course, the average prepper won’t have to worry about tax havens and international travel, but some preppers will fall in this category. I don’t want to be too paranoid here, but I do want us as preppers to think about the long-term trends that are now developing and the new regulations being implemented by our government, such as the seizure of passports if one owes back taxes.

III. Healthcare

Another dangerous trend now occurring is the government takeover of healthcare. For years, the payment of insurance, fees and other costs of healthcare have moved more and more into the electronic arena and away from cash. Hospitals and other medical facilities have been in the process of putting patient records on computers for years, and now the government is forcing doctors to make patient’s records into electronic files.

It’s likely that one won’t be able to receive medical care in the near future by paying cash. And records will be made of every visit to the ER, every visit to the doctor, every visit that has anything to do with medical care, with all these records available for government regulators to see. Government programs such as Medicaid and medicare are taking more and more of the overall budget, and sooner or later rationing will have to take place.

The prepper’s strategy here will be to store certain medicines such as antibiotics and other critical drugs, but also to learn remedies that were successful in the past but have been lost in the Age of Modern Medicine. There are numerous books on the subject, and a google search will reveal thousands of possibilities. The Doctor’s Book on Home Remedies is one I like, but do the research.

People who know and practice home remedies will be in great demand in a cashless society. And make friends with a doctor, if possible. I have a personal friend who is a GP, and he is a prepper, although he doesn’t advertise that fact. And I have a nephew in medical school, a niece who is a radiologist and her husband is a nurse.

Given these facts what is a prepper to do? Here are some suggestions that will help, and hopefully allow a prepper to prosper, in no particular order.

A. Gold, silver, and junk silver coins.

A good strategy is to have a small amount of 1/10 oz. gold coins for wealth protection. One can also purchase 1 oz. silver eagles or maple leafs as both are well-recognized in No. America. The most important silver purchase if one lives in the United States are 90% silver coins that were issued before 1965. They are commonly called junk silver. The dimes are the most convenient, but quarter and half-dollars are useful as well.

Let me say that no one should buy any precious metals until they have their other preps in line. And remember, a prepper uses precious metals for insurance and protection, not wealth building. Precious metals are volatile, and trading in and out of them is best left to the experts. Always take delivery of any precious metals you buy. If you don’t have them in your possession, you don’t own them. Most companies have the option to pay you dollars in lieu of the metals if they so desire.

B. Bartering

A great way for preppers to prosper is to build up bartering networks. There is an art to bartering, and one gets better at it if practiced. I go to gun shows quite often and enjoy trying to trade and barter for ammo and supplies. Other places to barter are farmer’s markets and small businesses. Any small business that is locally owned should be on your radar as a barter opportunity.

C. Gardening and animal husbandry

A no-brainer, as raising food will mean one doesn’t have to get it elsewhere. Food security will be the most important aspect of life for preppers. Food storage will last for whatever time period one has prepared, but for the long-term only gardening and animal husbandry will provide a secure source of food. Raising chickens for meat and eggs is probably the most efficient use of resources, but goats for milk and meat pay big dividends as well.

D. Water

Of course, water for survival both for animals and humans is a must. A local, reliable water source is the single most important thing a prepper can have. It can come from a well, pond, creek, spring, lake, reservoir, or river, but the water must be potable. One has to have filters, chemicals or boiling available to them for purifying water, or a combination of the three. Water must be assumed contaminated unless it has been tested or has been consumed from a well for a lengthy period of time. Store plenty of water, but know that one can’t store enough water to last long-term.

E. Hunting, fishing and gathering.

There is no reason that preppers shouldn’t be taking advantage of hunting and fishing opportunities. Most states have generous bag limits for game and fish, so harvesting game that is plentiful, lean and healthier for you is a great strategy.

Fishing can also provide healthy protein, and with little expense one can store fish, either by freezing, smoking or pickling. Another strategy is gathering. Fruits, nuts and berries are mostly bought in grocery stores these days, yet in the past most people planted fruit and nut trees. They grow wild in many places now, so looking for old home places and cruising public lands can help one locate fruits and nuts.

Take a drive in a state or national park or preserve in the spring, and it is easy to identify the trees that are in bloom. Mark them for future harvest. It is not ethical to gather fruit and nuts without permission on private land, but most people would rather see someone use a product rather than see it go to waste. So ask, and give some to the landowner or manager of the property. You will not be disappointed.

F. Networking

Right now is the time to get to know people in your community who could be of assistance in hard times. Get to know your doctor or dentist, make friends with the local farmers at the farmer’s market. Support these farmers if they grow something you don’t, or if you need extra.

Even if it costs a little more, spend a little extra and help the local farmer. Support people who grow organic, or use heirloom seeds for their crops. Shop and get your prescription drugs from a local pharmacist, not Wal-Mart or Walgreens.

Think local first, and if you can get it locally, do it. Make it a habit to visit with older people in your community, either by going to nursing homes or elder centers. Just about every city or small town has these facilities.

The elderly are a wealth of information on farming, ranching, gardening, sewing, soap-making, candle-making and many other activities that were common years ago. Seek out that information. You might just make a new friend as well.

G. Miscellaneous

I would just like to finish with a little advice. Don’t give the appearance of wealth, and don’t stand out. Be humble, be friendly, be helpful, and be a part of your community. No man (or woman) is an island. No one person will thrive in the new economy, but a collection of like-minded individuals can make life decent and livable, and survivable.


  1. Genealogist58 says:

    Great article Joe and we are heading toward a cashless society . A recent Zero Hedge post mentioned that the Federal Reserve could aim for a negative 9% and the only thing standing in that way is a flurry of paper cash . A few things to keep in mind , even though the stack of egghead writers in the Wall Street Journal are all speaking of the ills of cash our government cannot get rid of the penny . With 48% of all transactions in America done in cash , the chances of eliminating paper is very slim .
    Could the mint stopping printing the $100 bill , no I don’t think so . The electorate are beyond fed up and they see the number one selling items in Japan , Germany and Switzerland are home safes . All to be stuffed with a very limited paper cash . Why those countries ? Because they all have gone negative with bonds. Could I see a paper $100 bill having a higher value than $100 , of course , supply and demand .
    It should be noted that in Germany that has had two failed currencies in less than 100 years does a whopping 89% of all transactions in cash and credit card usage is very low . You know the end game is here , so get your cash in your hand otherwise you will lose it to our banking betters.

    • Genealogist58 says:

      Before I forget there are more places that will not except the older $100 bills . If given those without the embedded metal strip at the bank you will have a harder time getting rid of them. Ask for new $ 100 bills only.

  2. Barter town- seriously though, have been building networks for years…barter, trade and understanding how to get what we need is essential- solid article!

  3. mom of three says:

    All great information!!! As far as a cash less society, you would have to adjust to make it your norm don’t buy in bulk and make less trips to town spread it out. Don’t buy over the Internet thing’s that would target you. I know many people who all ready live this way and have a hard time with money. I like to use money and for me I am accountable for my spending , and savings. I have a debit card, but I have choose to keep it at home and only take it if I know places won’t take cash or I need it to make reservations as we travel. When we go to a cashless society, I will have to really keep tabs on my spending:)

    • If you buy in bulk now, then add little by little in the cashless society, you should go unnoticed, and at the same time, be resupplying your bulk items. Those who don’t do this will try to buy in bulk because they didn’t have the sense to buy now and they will be flagged. I don’t buy anything on the shoppers cards or credit or debt cards.

  4. Electronic deposits and deposits on cards is not always a plot though I do believe that the government either does or will track spending habits at some point. I work for a large corporation and except for in California where it is not legal to do you get a choice of either direct deposit or deposit to a debit card for your pay check. One big reason that they do this is to assure that people get paid when they are supposed to. The checks that do come to the people that want paper come fed ex and if for some reason they were lost,late ect people would not get paid on time which violates multiple laws and could spark lawsuits. Say you had to have your electric bill paid by a certain day or it was getting turned off and that paper check was late,since most get paid on a Friday best case scenario would be getting paid the following Monday and having to spend several days without power. This could cause inconvenience,sickness,loss of food stored or even death in certain situations. So just to finish, everything is not a plot, some things do have a reason behind them

    • When I worked for the green shirts we got paid 2 days sooner and we recieved a paystub in the mail. One thing though is that the computer system that they have is the best system radio shack sells back in 1990. So there is a trade off.

  5. You can no longer get VA or SSA or SSI benefits by check. You now must have a bank account for direct deposit or a card that can be loaded with the money every month. If you are too disabled to get to the bank, the money goes onto the card. No more choices. If you refuse they will appoint you a fiduciary who will handle the money. If you need a fiduciary, you are labeled a ‘mental deficient” and are considered to much of a risk to have a gun. So there go your choices. I am my husband’s and one of my son’s fiduciary and have been told by both the Social Security Administration and the VA that all money is direct deposited into a bank account. When my husband sees a health care provider at the VA or his acupuncturist, his travel money is directly deposited, after they get the OK from the providers that he did show up for the appointment and they have a travel voucher in hand. The VA clinic has those ready for me to sign. The acupuncturist sends the info into the VA for verification of appointment kept, and then they send me the voucher. I then have to send the voucher back, signed. All this has to be within 30 days of the appointment, not the verification. Then, if it passes muster, I receive the amount in the account. There goes OPSEC. I have no hopes in hell of having a private life. So I do what I can to keep myself under the radar by complying quietly to many of the ‘recommendations’ and shouting to high heaven at home about the injustice. I also pick and choose my verbal battles with TPTB so that I can at least have a semblance of control. I realize that I may only be fooling myself, but it keeps me sane and rational.

    • I have my SS, my retirement and my military retirement direct deposited. I then go to the ATM and take out $300 or so whenever I need cash. The problem isn’t the direct deposit and it doesn’t really track you anymore than cashing a check if they gave it to you that way would track you. As long as the ATM will give me cash, I don’t care if they are $20’s, $10’s or $5’s as long as it’s cash. So if they stop printing $100’s, $50’s and even $20’s I don’t really care.

      • Kinda funny how racial minorities can`t have id to vote but can have id to get benefit and bank accounts to receive said bennies.

  6. Lots of good ideas in this article. I think the biggest cost of cashless transactions for preppers will be the loss of privacy in our purchases. NSA will know where & when u bought that box of ammo, that prepper item at Walmart or your local pawn shop, & that gun u bought from a private citizen. So it will be fairly easy for NSA to track preppers along w/ countless others. Part of the rationale being used is that cash is preferred by criminals including drug dealers. I wonder what percentage of US citizens are on a govt watch list??

    • Probably way more than we realize. A friend found out she was on a watch list and was denied a passport. Her crime? She opposed the Keystone XL pipeline and bought concert tickets online for a concert held in support of the opposition. She was told that if she kept her nose clean and didn’t oppose anything else she might be allowed to have a passport. And this is someone who has never broken any laws and is a respectable self-supporting citizen.

      • There’s a LONG list of things that can get one put on a watch list. I suspect that most of us are on a watch list for following & posting on prepper sites like this one. But I was allowed to board a plane last summer.

        • try to see what happens when someone tries to board a plane with a american rifleman magazine and copy of field and stream.Throw in a bible for good measure.

      • I hate to say this but your friend is not telling you the truth. IF she is on the watch list she did more than buy tickets to a concert.

        • Waynette Miles says:

          She said her friend opposed the Keystone Pipeline as well as buying concert tickets to a concert supporting the opposition of it.

  7. Son of Liberty says:

    From a biblical perspective, a cashless society will become the norm for the ‘anti-Christ’ to implement a requirement that no one can ‘buy or sell’ without the ‘mark of the beast’ (Rev. 13:16-17).

    In doing extensive reading on the matter I’m convinced there will be a limited number of places on the earth, (remote, small enclaves/communities, backward countries, or the ‘place prepared by God in the wilderness’ [Rev 12:14-16]) where some form of currency, barter, or trade will be able to be used. But by and large, the world will be on a ‘cashless’ basis. And as it looks now, the ‘credit/debit card’ will be the form of financial transaction medium that will replace cash.

    Blessings on each and all of you/us.

    Son of Liberty

  8. In my state the daily limit and possession limit on fish is the same…..5 per day means that is all you can catch, and 5 is all you can have in your freezer at any one time….of course when TSHTF all bets are off as there won’t be conservation officers to check on you.
    As to the “cashless society” both my VA check and social insecurity go to the CU….NO choice…..ah well it won’t matter in the end.

  9. An eye-opening topic & article.
    I understand that our preps should come first before investing into gold & silver, but we ( wife & I ) had an opportunity to obtain a modest amount of each at a very good deal.
    ( Today/Now is different where we really concentrate on other points of this article )
    One I’ll say was an amount of scrap 10K/14K gold headed to a refinery during a dip in the gold market years back.
    It was faster & easier for them to let me get it than to wait for a gold spike/ insure the shipment/ship/ wait for the return payment.
    Sure, this isn’t for everybody to do……..there’s a lot of pure garbage fake jewelry out there.
    Something else was to concentrate on silver rounds & bars for the bulk building than to obtain U.S. silver Eagle mint coins.
    A 1-Oz silver round/bar is cheaper than a 1-Oz U.S. silver Eagle.
    A 10-Oz silver bar is cheaper than 10 1-Oz. silver rounds/bars.

    ** I Don’t remember the exact costs, but it costs around 10-cents to make a 5-cent nickel today.
    Our Nickel of today is on the way for being replaced just like the Pre-1965 silver coins did. ( Junk Silver )
    We’ve socked away some bank boxed rolls of them just for a future change. Besides the space & weight of these things, it’s still worth the cash exchange.
    My dollar bill may become worthless but my 20 nickels will hold their value if not increase in value.

    By no means am I trying to persuade ANYONE on how to do your money! We were blessed with the opportunity and we wanted to be wise about a move to possibly help our future. It took time & effort to do on our end.
    ( we’re getting old……….I’m half way to 90 & my wife is on her 3rd tour of being 29 )

    Has anyone else head of our nickel being replaced ?

    • Chuck Findlay says:

      I understand that our preps should come first before investing into gold & silver.

      Yes and no on that. Several years ago I was living on a very small and sporadic income. I had little money to live on let alone buy preps. But I still bought a bit of silver, not much but it felt good to have what little of it I did have.

      My point is that a person should not forgo silver as it could be important to have. Even a few ounces of it could make a difference.

  10. j.r. guerra in south tx. says:

    A cashless society, computer content oversight and surveillance cameras everywhere. A totalitarian’s dream society.

  11. Chuck Findlay says:

    I don’t know if a cashless system will work as well as TPTB think it will.

    There will always be work arounds to it. It may be that you need to develop a fake persona that seems to be part of the system (Heck I do this now) or that you just deal with the black market (I do a bit of this) or be part of the barter network (I also do this.) Or some other work around that will come about.

    But working around it will coat more as the risks for all involved are higher and the cost of doing business on the slide are higher. I accept this as part of being a free person.

    Freedom is never free, but it does come with rewards…

  12. Genius Obama sent $400M in cash to Iran on pallets on a plane. Its not dead yet.

  13. If it does come down to a cashless society, I believe a lot of us will start resorting to bitcoin. More and more gun dealers are beginning to accept it now.

  14. Chuck Findlay says:

    Using Bitcoin to buy a gun makes no sense as you have to fill out forms and go through gov background checks. You can’t fly under the radar and buy a gun from a gun shop.

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