As you might imagine, I talk or otherwise interact with a lot of preppers and survivalists pretty much daily. I’ve always encouraged people to ask questions and I’m determined to try to help as best I can. I don’t know everything, of course, and I’m still learning every day myself. But, I feel we can usually work together to come up with a solution.
Quite often, I’m approached by someone wants to be better prepared but they’ve become frustrated due to obstacles in their way. We’ll call those hurdles. Here are the most common hurdles and some suggestions on how to deal with each of them.
Yes, prepping costs money and most of us aren’t recent lottery winners. However, quite often I hear this complaint from people who, for whatever reason, feel they need to buy everything all at once and, if they can’t, they just give up. Not a very smart approach, once you stop and think about it. That’s like interviewing for a job you really need, but telling the interviewer that if you can’t start out as Vice-President, you’re going to pass on the whole deal.
In order to add funds to the prepping budget, one of two things needs to happen.
A) You need to increase your income. You could do this by working part-time outside the home or perhaps turning a hobby into a home-based business, such as writing, woodworking, crafting, or car repair.
B) You need to reduce your expenses. Most, though certainly not all, people have at least a few things they can do to cut down on expenses, such as reducing the number of drive-thru meals every week.
Few people can sit down and write out a check to buy everything they feel they could possibly need for the next few months or longer. It just isn’t feasible. That’s why most instructors like myself suggest you go about it a little at a time. When grocery shopping, add just a couple of things to your cart each time. Your pantry will increase faster than you think. Start with the basics like water and food and work your way up from there.
In the grand scheme of things, skills are more important than stuff. Study books you get through the library, watch videos on YouTube, and practice diligently until you are proficient. Find out if your employer might cover the cost for you to take a first aid class so you can help out if there is a workplace emergency. Talk to neighbors and see if one of them might teach you how to can food and, in return, you can bake them a pie or chop some wood for them.
[For whatever it might be worth, I did write a whole book on the financial side of prepping, aptly titled Prepper’s Financial Guide.]
The point is this — don’t dwell on what you can’t afford to buy right now. Focus on what you can do to improve your overall preparedness.
Lack of family support
It can be exhausting to try and get your family prepared for potential emergencies when they are seemingly fighting against you every step of the way. However, try looking at it from their perspective. If prepping dominates every single conversation you have with your spouse or significant other, I guarantee you they are tired of hearing about it. Dial it back a notch or two. When you do talk about prepping, keep it low key and free of wild predictions of the coming zombie apocalypse.
Sometimes, putting a financial spin on prepping can help get spouses on board. Explaining to them, and using real life examples, of how you can eat tomorrow at today’s prices by stocking up during good sales can go a long way toward getting the “buy in” from them. A great example is loss of employment. Many of us have either gone through a job loss in the last couple of years or know someone who has. The impact can be devastating. But, I know several preppers who made it through and kept their families fed because of their food storage and such. Remember, it doesn’t need to be a true end of the world for this stuff to be handy to have around.
Another point to consider, though, is the impact your prepping might be having on the family as a whole. If it has become all consuming on your part, it might be reasonable for your family to feel as though something isn’t right. Communication on the part of all involved is key to resolving any conflict. I’ve said for years that while prepping is important, it shouldn’t dominate your life. Prep to live, don’t live to prep.
Can’t find local preppers
Many people have woken up to the realization that long-term preparedness requires a team approach. Community survival planning is the way to go. Of course, that means you need to be in touch with others in your area who are of like mind. Over and over, I hear how preppers just can’t seem to find anyone in their local area who is interested in disaster planning. Look, there are over 3 million self-avowed preppers in the United States. There are countless more who might not think of themselves as preppers but are taking active steps to be better prepared for emergencies.
If you can’t find a single person who is interested in prepping, the problem lies with you, not with them. Sorry, I know that sounds harsh but that’s what it boils down to, really. One or more of the following likely applies to your situation.
- You interact with exceptionally few people in your daily life. If you only ever speak to the same three people every day, you’ll need to expand your horizons a bit. Either that or quit complaining.
- You tend to be more than a little passionate about the subject of prepping, which in turn makes people uneasy. Take it slow and easy when broaching the topic of prepping. If you go from zero to TEOTWAWKI in 0.6 seconds every time, yes, you do indeed sound like a whack job.
- You just flat out aren’t trying very hard and expect people to find you instead. Face it, you’re probably going to actually have to leave your house once in a while. Visit some community events where preppers are likely to be in attendance, such as farmers markets and such. Go out to gun shows. Attend local classes on topics like gardening and food preservation (you can find these classes at your library or through the park & rec department).
Let’s face it, none of us are getting any younger. Many of us have health issues, too, either age-related or otherwise. Diabetic, overweight, diet issues, heart problems, just generally not in great shape. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve seen people post on social media comments like, “I’m doomed” because of their age or health problems. That drives me nuts, to be honest.
Rather than throw your hands in the air and give up, see if you can work around the problem. Perhaps there is a tool or gadget that will compensate for lack of strength or dexterity. Maybe talk to a family member or friend about teaming up to accomplish certain goals. If you aren’t physically capable of bugging out on foot, plan to shelter in place. Hell, that’s what you should do anyway for most situations.
Do what you can to improve your heath and physical condition. Quit smoking, improve the diet, get the heart rate up on a regular basis. Talk to your doctor to make sure you don’t overdo it, though. Giving yourself a heart attack is a move in the wrong direction.
The takeaway here is that we all face one or more of these hurdles on a regular basis. When faced with one, you can let it stop you in your tracks or you can find a way over or around the obstacle. The choice is yours.