A Silver Conversion Exercise, by M.J.

As an intellectual exercise, I converted the price of some of my recent purchases from U.S. dollars to ounces of silver. I did this out of curiosity to see how well I would do in a precious metals-based economy.
I used the spot price of silver per ounce that was quoted at www.apmex.com on 09-16-2023: $23.31. The other spot prices for that day are as follows:

Gold: $1,937.50 per ounce
Platinum: $945.70 per ounce
Palladium: $1,286.00 per ounce

  • Here’s what I bought:1 gallon of 30% vinegar: $21.07, or 0.90 ounces of silver. (Regular grocery store vinegar is 5% and costs about $4.00 per gallon, or 0.17 ounces of silver.)
  • 10.8 pounds of baking soda: $11.98, or 0.51 ounces of silver. Last year, that same bag was 12 pounds. Yay, shrinkflation – another corrupt result of the use of fiat currency.
  • My most recent grocery bill, which included some ground meat, some vegetables and fruit, and some household supplies, no alcohol or cigarettes: $122.05, or 5.24 ounces of silver. I’m single; I haven’t met my wife yet and I have no children. How much it will cost to buy food for a family on a weekly basis? 10 ounces? 15 ounces? 30 ounces (now I feel betrayed, with the Federal Reserve as the financial Judas) when children become teenagers? Yikes!! These high prices are one reason why many women must work to support the family, instead of having the option to be homemakers. Inflation is a much more insidious destroyer of family relations than popular culture. Remember, you don’t have to watch a raunchy or violent movie or television show. You don’t have to buy your child a smartphone or a raunchy or violent computer game. But inflation is shoved down our throats 24/7 by the Federal Reserve.
  • Recent day trip (round trip, no hotels or camping) of roughly 280 miles, which cost about $37 in gasoline: 1.59 ounces of silver. That’s very good when you consider that driving that far beats walking that far! Still, I’m glad that I don’t have to drive that far on a regular basis.
  • Installation of new vinyl yard gate and fence, parts and labor, plus removal of old gates and old lamp: $1,119.22, or 48.01 ounces –three pounds — of silver.
  • Replacement of my car’s power steering fluid pump, parts, and labor, with some discounts, back in August: $780.77, or 33.49 ounces of silver – a little over two pounds. My car is 25 years old and this is the first time that pump has been replaced. I go to that particular service station because they’re AAA approved and they’re within walking range of my office; all I have do is drop off the car and walk to work. However, there are a lot of street bums and derelicts in that area; I certainly wouldn’t like to carry that much silver around in that area. At least I can ask my bank to cancel my credit card if it’s stolen. That’s one faint cheer for the current fiat system.

Lessons learned from this exercise:

  1. Get a job with a better paycheck ASAP! That will allow me to save more money in the form of fiat cash and precious metals. Most of my silver collection is American Silver Eagles, but after calculating how much some items would cost in silver, and bearing in mind JWR’s recent comments about the government being less likely to confiscate silver, it may be time to buy some larger bars of silver.
  2. If there’s anything that needs to be done or purchased that might cost a lot of money, do it ASAP before inflation becomes worse! The conversion factor will be very different if inflation really takes off.
  3. In addition, do stuff ASAP in case the situation gets so bad that products or services I need aren’t available even if I’m willing to pay with precious metals. This might be more riots, which I anticipate for the 2024 election, or a war against China or Russia or North Korea – or all three. Or it might be more lockdowns in the name of “public health”. Democrat leaders love “public health”; it sounds scientific and caring at the same time. Science and caring have turned into Trojan horses for despotism.
  4. Do as much as I can for myself. I’m already my own cook, gardener, and house cleaner. I should learn to do more stuff with my car, but one of my car-minded friends advised me that replacing the power steering fluid pump is best handled by professionals. At least I can change my car’s tire, and the spare is a real tire, not a doughnut. I can also jump-start the battery. The biggest car expense money saver for me is my hybrid work schedule; I don’t have to drive every day.
  5. As of now, money is in a decimal notation. Prices usually look something like this: $16.99 or $23.34. It’s hard to imagine translating prices like that into the weight of precious metals – ounce, half-ounce, quarter-ounce. Using the metric system might offer more flexibility for prices, but that’s never caught on in our country. (One ounce = 28.34952 grams, according to this calculator.) Furthermore, even those of us who have studied precious metals are still used to thinking in terms of dollars and cents. It seems easier to just sell precious metals in order to obtain dollars for cash or electronic payments. But will we be able to convert our precious metals into cash? There have been some closures of precious metal dealer bank accounts lately. It’s possible that this is the start of an Operation Choke Point campaign to make it harder for us to use precious metals as an alternative method of wealth preservation.
  6. There are two precious metal dealers within walking range of my home. I live in a good neighborhood, but I still wouldn’t want to go near those shops to sell my precious metals if hyperinflation breaks out and crime goes through the roof. I could sell by mail, but then I would have to worry about the shipment being stolen, and I would still have to leave home to go to the post office. Most of the material I’ve seen on precious metals doesn’t go into these problems; the precious metal proponents seem to assume that law and order and mail services will always be working. I think Commander Zero is right: Precious metals will come in handy in a situation between what we have now and Mad Max.


I’m glad I thought all of this through. It was a learning exercise. What I learned mostly boils down to better job, more savings, and don’t procrastinate with any major purchases or housework. The clock is ticking; I don’t see a return to sanity and peace in our country anytime soon.

For much more detail on the pernicious effects of inflation, including its damaging and corrupting effects on families, education, health, and government, I highly recommend The Fiat Standard by Saifedean Ammous.