For most people, "precious metals" are gold, silver, platinum, and (sometimes) palladium, and even copper.
For preppers, the list is incomplete without lead.
Lead, as in ammunition.
All government-issued money has a real value of 0. It's only worth anything as long as people believe it is worth something. While people will still take it in trade, you might as well use it, but as soon as people stop accepting it, you also need to stop accepting it in trade for labor or products. You'd be working for free in that case. I've found that this is a hard concept for some people to understand, but it's true.
In this case, you can trade for food, toilet paper, water, firewood, or anything else you want. The problem comes when what you need isn't what someone else has to trade. If you don't want a goat, but goats are all they have to trade, what do you do? How can you trade with that person then?
This is why you need pocketable money. If government money is no longer accepted as money, you'll need some other kind of pocketable money. It will be easier if you already have some metals to trade.
(what is money? http://blog.kentforliberty.com/2009/11/requires-no-government.html )
Just as you don't only carry $100 bills or only carry pennies, you need different "denominations" of money depending on what you're trading for.
Gold is good for big items. Silver is better for most everyday trades. Silver is more manageable. Copper, too. And ammunition is sometimes even better.
If you're a gun person you have probably noticed how hard it has become to get ammo. Wouldn't you accept ammo in exchange for work or stuff? I would. Even ammo for guns I don't have, just because I know it still has value as a trade medium. Someone wants it, even if I don't.
To prepare for the possibility of government money becoming worthless, I'd recommend getting precious metals of any type whenever you can. Beware of "gold" and "silver" that originates in China; they are a hotbed of fake coins. I know-- I got a fake Morgan "silver dollar" off of eBay that seems to link back to China. Get ammunition for the guns you have first, but if you see a good deal for some ammo that someone else might need, don't automatically reject it.
And once the value of federal reserve notes falls below what you're willing to accept, stop accepting them. Insist on real money instead. "I'll trade you two 'junk silver' dimes for a sandwich"-- and if you're up to date on what things are worth, you'd probably accept the trade.
If you focus only on guns and ammo, you are not prepared. If you focus only on stockpiling food, you are not prepared. If your focus is too narrow on anything, you are not prepared.
Prepping means you are trying to be ready for whatever comes. You don't know if it will be a xombie apocalypse or just a supply chain collapse. You have to be ready for either one-- and both at the same time. You have to be ready for a failure of anything you need for survival, without regard to "why"-- just that it is happening.
You can't foresee everything that might cause there to be no food available to buy, but you can do things to make sure you'll be OK. You can't predict what might cause hordes of predatory creatures to swarm your property, but you can be ready to defend against them, whoever and whyever they are there. You can't know for sure why there's no electricity in the grid, but you can make sure it's not a problem for you.
Prepping is the responsible thing to do. If you are prepared you ...
You don't have to outrun the bear; you only have to outrun your hiking companion.
Yeah, that's a cynical way to look at it, but there's truth in it.
With prepping (in the event of TEOTWAWKI), you may not have to survive on your preps until you are 90 years old, just outlast those who didn't prep. Once they die off, survival may get easier.
I know-- it would be great if you were able to keep everyone alive into the distant future. But that's just not going to be possible, is it?
Once the marauders and beggars have Darwinized themselves out of the population, it will be easier to grow your own food. You'll only have to worry about deer and raccoons, not Naked Apes (which is a really good book by Desmond Morris, by the way).
So, while it would be nice to have preps to last until you die of old age, and be self-sufficiently growing your own food, making your own soap and cloth (or buckskin), realistically, at least have enough to outlast those who would be the biggest threat to your ...
I've been doing something non-prepping this past week. Maybe even anti-prepping, as in it may be a step backward.
I rescued a kitten who found me along my morning walk. He was about 5 weeks old, sick and starving, and was barely able to come toward me. I couldn't ignore his cries for help.
So I've been spending money I don't have to spare-- and just about all my spare time and energy-- bringing him back.
And it's working.
He's still got a respiratory infection and eye infections, but I've got him on antibiotics and he's improving. He's eating and playing really well. No longer is he skin and bones; I can pet him without feeling every vertebra and rib.
Sometimes you've got to do the right thing even if it's not smart.
If anyone wants to chip in for kitten medicines and food, you can find ways on the side bar of my main blog: https://blog.kentforliberty.com/2021/08/kitten-update-2.html