There are many of us who have been prepping for awhile a few years to a few decades, those who have started in the last few years have probably run into some or all of these same issues when they first started. This post is to help those who have started not make the same mistakes I did. This list is not all inclusive but based on my experience and mistakes. No one likes to look stupid, however I would rather look stupid for my early mistakes and have you learn from it than lose the time and money by keeping my mouth shut. No prepper started off knowing everything and being “right” all the time, we all learned and I continue to learn, I am still a student of the process!
1) Prepping in Fear
All of us had a epiphany moment, an awakening of sorts where the idea of storing away a few things didn’t sound so crazy after all. For some it was because a disaster hit them, for others because of a disaster that hit someone else (9/11, Katrina, Sandy, etc). There are very few of us in modern America that just “lives that way”, I grew up in what could be called a moderate prepper household, we didn’t call it that but did it because that’s how it had to be under the circumstances and where we live, that wasn’t my epiphany moment however.
I had talked about this before but I was into prepping for awhile then fell off for a year and got back in the saddle so to speak in 2011. I made many mistakes, I had been prepping but worked overseas and didn’t have a real place of my own so I had NO food storage. So when i got back in I was prepping out of fear, I went out and bought shopping carts full of canned foods and went to the first wholesale seller of bulk food i found and loaded up buckets. Now I am not sorry I got all of that, but I am sorry I didn’t do it with a rational head. I was convinced the debt talks were going to derail the economy, etc etc without actually having a conversation with myself as to what the smartest move was going to be. What I did was stupid because I spent more money than I needed to, money that could have bought MORE food or gone into other preps. I wasn’t thinking clearly, I was freaked out, while the scenario isn’t far fetched and will play out at some point the timing wasn’t correct, but I was fixated on it. I have seen it before where people are convinced a Coronal Mass Ejection is going to hit THIS YEAR and they go out and get crazy, or when Obama was re-elected, that meant the collapse would happen in months, etc etc.
When you prep out of fear you cut the corners that help you to be smart with your money, most of us don’t have a lot laying around, so it all needs to stretch as far as it can. Sit yourself down and tell yourself the world isn’t ending tomorrow, be smart about it and don’t prep out of fear, you will only regret it later once you get a clear head.
2) _____ Is going to be the end of the world
We all have our “pet” scenarios that bring us to prepping, as I said some because of Terrorism, Natural Disasters, Solar Storms, Economic Collapse, etc. I’m not saying you are “stupid” for believing this or that, not at all I have my own “more likely scenario” however as I stated above, don’t get so fixated on one thing you neglect others. Don’t become so enamored with surviving a solar storm you spend your savings on faraday cages and buried HAM radio gear that you only have 3 months worth of food on hand. This does happen.
Look at General Preps first, what will I need in ANY scenario. Mostly that is food, shelter, water and defense. Food to feed you long term and food you can grow. A home and/or bug out location to shelter you and your loved ones. Water that is stored as well as the availability to purify water sources in the area. A way to defend you and your family as well as what you have stored to ensure your survival (firearms). If you have those four things covered and covered well you will be fine in ANY of the scenarios above. Once you have adequate and even above and beyond to do that then you can start looking at the “specialized” gear for the scenario you are worried about, whatever that may be. I see this mostly from EMP folks, but i have seen it from others like those worried about the dollar crashing they buy a crap ton of gold and forget that they just might need food as well. Once again, it does happen. General prepping will make you better off than having massive solar arrays and gas masks any day of the week.
3) Fixation on one aspect of prepping
Many of us have a “favorite” aspect of prepping or a favorite prep that we end up become fixated on and spend much more of our prep budget on than anything else combined. Many times this is more of a man problem and more often than not it involves firearms. I’m guilty of it in a fashion, I bought guns before I was involved in Preparedness however after I was for awhile I used it as an excuse to buy this or that gun or accessory. Continuing to use guns as an example, yes they are ‘cool’ however they are not the end all be all of prepping and in the end do you really need 4 AR-15′s a HK91 and a Mini 14? You need to diversify even in that section of prepping, as for guns make sure you have a good hunting rifle and shotgun, a home defense shotgun, not just a bunch of modern rifles that look ‘cooler’. This isn’t just for guns though, some folks get caught up in the solar aspect and spend a bunch of money on panels and battery banks that produce way more power than you would need for a survival situation. this applies for everything and fits in with the first two things, don’t get fixated, diversify and generalize your preps.
4) I’m Overwhelmed
This happens a lot! You have your epiphany moment that gets you into prepping you start looking at prepper sites (say greatnorthernprepper.com right…c’mon right!) and prepper forums. You start to download the 14th list of EVERYTHING you need to survive and then you look at all this stuff and you think I need to have about 800lbs of various foods, I need tools, i need guns, i need ammo, i need solar panels and wind towers and the battery banks, I need barter items, i need medical supplies……..
Then you realize you have a week of food in the fridge and a .22 pistol your dad gave you, and that’s about it. You start panicking thinking you need all of this stuff NOW and then you get overwhelmed not knowing where to start and you start buying stuff whenever you see it at the store, prepping out of fear (see how it tied that in!). It happens a lot, i get quite a few emails from folks looking at the hundreds of pounds of food to store and don’t know where to start. The best thing to do is say tackle food first, tell yourself I want to get 3 months of food stored away, plan out a list of what you will need, then plan out what you will buy every other week or every week (depending on your shopping) and then see if you can do it in the time you want it in, say a couple months. Once you have that set another goal for yourself, small ones, keep building on past accomplishments and you will be there in no time. Don’t be overwhelmed by what you cant accomplish now, focus on what you can.
5) _____ Said that the world will end next week, what can I do?
You can fill in the blank with whatever name you want, from Alex Jones to some random blogger. I pick on Alex a lot, but he does bring stuff to light we wouldn’t have known about otherwise, however his business is “freaked out”. What I mean is, that his income derives from people being freaked out and buying stuff from his sponsors, its not bad to have sponsors and direct your listeners to them, that’s business, that’s fine. However YOU need to be rational and realize that if Fukushima was raining death on you, there’s not much you can really do about it (the Potassium Iodide pills can help but they wont stop you from dieing from radiation), so settle down look at other sources and once again…do what you can with what you have in a rational manner. Every day I see posts or get emails about this guy or that guy saying Obama is going to declare martial law, the stock market is about to collapse, etc. How does that affect me?
If it were true, it would affect them but I cant stop it and I cant do more than what I am doing now, so what do I do? I keep doing what I am doing, and if things change in the world I adapt to them.
I learned something overseas, Mitigate the hazards you can and accept what you cant. In other words, prepare for what you can as best you can and for what you cant don’t dwell on it.
I hope this helped, comment below and let me know what lessons you have learned!
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