I was recently asked by someone in a conversation “What is a Prepper”? I started to answer the question with a knee jerk reaction being that a prepper is someone with a cache of bullets, band aids and beans stored away in the event that the world shows signs of coming to an end via economic collapse, EMP events, Madrid earthquakes or other major disasters. After a long pause, my definition came out of my mouth and it was that a prepper is simply one who prepares.
This led to a short conversation spurred on by the person asking what they are preparing for. We talked for a little bit and ended the conversation both a bit confused because they didn’t understand why someone would can meat when they can freeze it and I couldn’t understand how they haven’t heard about a power outage lasting for more than a week. It was not surprising to see our conversation go in that direction and end the way it did given that upwards of 95% or more of the population just don’t see that there is any reason to think that society can break down, but what was surprising was the thought process I had that followed our conversation.
Make no mistake about it; there will be a crash of some sort and depending on how far we fall will determine how bad it is. We are a hand to mouth society far removed from the habits of our ancestry who stored food in their cellars, produced food in fields and gardens and had food producing animals out in the back 40 to sustain them. Today procurement of food is completed via going continually to the grocery store, eating out and ordering in. Virtually no one is paying attention to how long a person’s family will last if that supply chain is disrupted for any reason.
So, what is a prepper? That is an excellent question with limitless answers and in hindsight, although my initial definition is correct because although we as preppers are preparing for something, we are also preparing for the worst. People with auto insurance are preparing for a car crash or accident. People with life insurance are preparing for death. People with crop insurance are preparing for a devastating hail storm. People with house insurance are preparing for a fire. While all of these things are bad situations, these people wouldn’t fit in the category as a prepper. With proper insurance the majority can weather the storm and life goes on.
I think what separates the prepper from the average Joe who buys insurance is the lifestyle of a prepper. Preppers just think differently than most people. Preppers are independent thinkers who instead of wanting to be taken care of, we want to produce and provide and sacrifice the now for the future.
With the dollar continuing to be devalued through QEinfinity, people losing gainful employment or becoming underemployed and underpaid just to make ends meet and put food on the table, many are finding that there is too much month left over at the end of the money. Choices have to be made by preppers yearly, monthly, weekly and even hourly on what to do with the limited resources we have at our disposal.
I suggest to all preppers that they implement a prepper filter into their decision making. Think of it as a hopper where all of our hearts wants and desires are dropped into the top of the filter including bills, food expenses all the way up to the new Harley. There are stops along the way for each item where it either passes the test or it gets spit out the side. For each item, decisions need to be made. Whatever you want, put it through your personalized prepper filter to see if you really should do or purchase it.
Create your own filter questions, but before you do, I encourage you to write down what your goals are. Everything should be judged with the #1 question being “Is this going to help me accomplish my goals?”
After food, water and shelter are taken care of; here are some examples of questions to ask before you make a purchase.
- Is this necessary? Don’t fool yourself when asking this question. Some things seem necessary, but life would go on without them. Cable TV, smart phone…etc. A vehicle is a necessity, but a beater will get you from point A to point B and settling for a lesser car can put thousands in your pockets that can be used for prepping.
- Can I get it cheaper? Before you purchase a new pair of jeans for $30 to $50 (or more!) have you looked at garage sales and thrift stores? Buying a pair of $5 jeans at a thrift store just saved you $25 that can be used to purchase over 30 cans of food marked down to 80 cents in the weekly sale.
- Will this be able to be used prior to a SHTF scenario AND afterwards? Purchasing something that can be of use now and will still remain useful afterwards is the key here.
- Are there cheaper options available? Sure, the shiny new decked out shotgun is sweet, but could I find a used one that I could pick up for less?
- Will this purchase take up useful time and replace it with useless time that cannot be replaced? For example, to some, gaming systems are fun, but they take up hours and hours of your time and in the end, you haven’t gained a skill or accomplished anything, you’ve just grown older. Avoid time sucking activities that have no meaningful return on your time investment.
- Can I learn something from this? Buy a canner and learn the skill of canning. This is a lesson that will save you money, will grow a yearning for learning how to garden and become more self sufficient and will save you a lot of money by being able to save food that might be thrown away before it becomes spoiled. Buy a book on woodworking utilizing hand tools instead of the latest science fiction novel. Prepping skills learned are an investment.
- If it is necessary and I find it at a good price, can I purchase more? This can help with preps as well as save money in the future.
- If I need this item, but can’t afford it right now, what am I willing to give up to be able to put myself in a position in the near future to be able to afford it?
- Who says I need this? Too many decisions are made to “Keep up with the Joneses”. Children are excellent at playing the emotional strings because “Everyone in my class is going to the concert”. No decision should be made because someone else is doing it. If you have plenty of disposable income and extra, by all means, get $2,000 front row tickets! But if it means you will have a great time and an empty pantry, get the artist’s CD and call it good. Unless someone is actually paying your bills, their opinion on what you do or spend money on doesn’t matter.
- Can this hobby be used in a practical application? Scrapbooking may be fun, but what does it teach you that will be useful some day? I’m not a scrapbooker myself so maybe there is something I’m missing, but I know of people who spend hundreds of dollars doing this activity.
- Does this person identify with my goals, beliefs and will be an asset? Let’s face it, you end up like who you hang around. If being prepared is your goal, you need to guard the gates of your association and limit it to people who don’t take every chance they can to take verbal pokes at your prepping. Find people who are encouraging to your goals. People who have skills they can teach or are hungry to learn from your knowledge.
I have heard the excuse many times from people that they cannot afford to prep, yet they have a satellite dish, the most expensive smart phone with data package, an X Box, drink coffee from Fourbucks every morning and I could go on and on. I truly believe that everyone has within their capacity the ability to prep.
Where we are today is a result of a series of choices we have made in the past. The great part is that today is the first day of the rest of our lives and where we end up in the future will be the result of choices that we make between now and then. Everyone makes mistakes, especially yours truly, but moving forward, setting goals and filtering lifestyle and financial decisions through a personalized filter will give us the best chance to be as prepared as we can be.
I have said in the past that prepping is not a destination, it is a journey. Everyone is at a different point on their journey, but we are all on the same path either learning from those ahead of us or encouraging those behind. Don’t forget to have fun along the way and enjoy these days of plenty, but don’t lose sight of your goals in the process.