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Recession-proofing your portfolio and your life is something that few people do when everybody feels good. That’s a shame because times of extreme optimism – when protective measures are relatively cheap and abundant – are the best times to build your financial fortress.

Raising cash is one way to brace ourselves against an economic contraction, and I’m certainly not against amassing a “rainy day fund” if that’s feasible. Hoarding cash isn’t possible for everyone, however, so I’d like to suggest a half-dozen cost-effective protective strategies that you may be able to implement right now.

First and foremost, you might consider owning some silver, which is much cheaper than other precious metals on a per-ounce basis. As I’m writing this, silver is trading at around $17 an ounce, and due to its many industrial uses, you can count on silver maintaining its value irrespective of economic cycles.

Courtesy: New York Federal Reserve

Next, you can stock up on durable necessities: paper goods, canned food items, flashlights and batteries, tools, tape, and first-aid supplies are smart things to have in the home regardless of the economic outlook. If stagflation (recession plus inflation) occurs, you’ll be glad that you obtained these essential items while they were easily affordable and available.

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Another step you might consider is taking advantage of low interest rates and consolidating your debts. While this isn’t the place to discuss debt consolidation in detail, at least understand that it may be possible to lower and simplify your monthly payments – as always, though, be sure to read the fine print.

Here’s an underappreciated idea: enhance your skill set through informal education. You won’t get far in the formal educational system for less than $200, but that shouldn’t stop you from availing yourself of the affordable (and sometimes free) Internet-based resources that don’t come with a degree but can enhance your knowledge base – and your value as a job candidate or freelancer.

Courtesy: ZeroHedge

Speaking of freelancing, if you don’t have a side hustle already, it’s probably time to develop one. When recession strikes and the traditional job market dries up, you may be forced into the gig economy, so now’s a great time to hone your side-job skills and expand your network.

Finally, you can purchase small amounts of dividend-paying stock shares every month. If expensive stocks like Amazon and Google are out of your league, that’s okay because solid, time-tested companies aren’t always represented by pricey assets. When your favorite dividend aristocrats (the ones that consistently increase their quarterly payouts) go on sale, you can buy and hold a few shares and collect the dividends as economic conditions ebb and flow.

With the foregoing cost-efficient strategies, peace of mind doesn’t have to be expensive – indeed, a small investment during the best of times could be your sole salvation in the worst of times.

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