Here’s a quick look at seven areas of prepping I feel are often overlooked or ignored by many preppers and survivalists. They are presented in no particular order. Are you overlooking any of these?
1) An Emergency Fund – Many preppers and most survivalists believe that the dollar is going to collapse at some point, and that paper money will be worthless. That may be true, but until then we do need money to pay bills and buy stuff. It is a good idea to have an emergency fund set aside for when you need it. Besides,even in an economic crash, the dollar will likely still have some value for a period of time. For more on money in an economic collapse, please read Fernando Aguirre’s The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse. It explains in great detail what happened during and after the 2001 economic collapse in Argentina. It will open your eyes as to what might happen in America.
Idea: If you are one of those folks getting a large bonus check from your company thanks to tax reform (over 300 large companies have announced such bonuses), don’t spend it on a large-screen TV or a trip to Disneyland. Instead, use it to create your emergency fund instead.
2) Getting out of Debt – I’ve been around the prepper/survivalist community for about 15 years now. I’ve become convinced that a surprising number of folks are actually looking forward to an economic collapse, believing that it will give them a clean slate – wiping away their debt and bad credit. With the sudden collapse of banks, mortgage companies, and other financial institutions, all their credit card debt, student loans, car loans, and even mortgage payments will vanish overnight. That’s not reality. Study history (Aguirre’s book, mentioned above, is a good starting point). When economic collapses happen, it is not a boon to the poor and indebted.
I’ve told this story before, but it bears repeating: I was the owner/moderator of a Yahoo group, Surviving the End, many years ago. One group member offered his plan to prepare: He was going to rack up as much credit card debt as possible buying supplies to survive an economic collapse caused by peak oil. He believed such a collapse would happen “within the next 2 or 3 years,” and that banks and other lenders would be unable to collect on debt. He also planned to stop paying his mortgage “about 6 months before the collapse.” I’m not sure how he planned to time the event so precisely. This was in 2006. It is now twelve years later, and banks are still collecting on debt. If he truly carried out his plan, he and his family suffered absolute financial devastation years ago. Don’t be like him. Make getting debt-free a major prepping goal.
3) Spirituality – Yes, I know a number of people will roll their eyes at this category. Being dismissive of religion is a very “in” thing to do these days (one or the reasons our civilization is in the mess its in, but that’s a different article for another day). Yet, I believe that our mental attitude is an extremely important part of prepping (see my article Prepper’s Guide to Mental Health and Emotional Preparedness ), and that our spirituality, our relationship with God, is a vwery important part of our mental attitude. My own spirituality (I am an imperfect follower of Jesus) gives me great peace and comfort, especially in difficult times, as well as a sense of purpose, focus, and an understanding of what my priorities should be. Besides, I really do believe God answers prayers and can work miracles. Check out the Peace with God website of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association. Or visit the website The Roman Road.
4) Building Community – I get the sense that there are a lot of “lone wolves” in the prepping and survivalist community. Folks that just want to hide with their families at some mountain retreat far from civilization. This is a mistake, especially over the long-term. Instead, we should work on building community – a network of like-minded folks willing to help each other. Yes, this is difficult. Start small, get to know your neighbors, make friends in the prepper/survivalist community, and work your way up from there. (Personally, I think living near a small town in a rural area, far way from any mega-city, is the best option – but wherever you choose to live, you will need other people at some point.)
5) Health and Fitness – This is a category most people acknowledge is important, but many folks still don’t do anything about it. I am constantly amazed by the number of preppers and survivalists I know who are smokers, or who are very overweight, badly out-of-shape, or who have chronic health conditions like Type II diabetes and high blood pressure that are largely self-inflicted (including me!). We all know the excuses – I don’t have enough time, I’m too busy, eating healthy costs too much, its too hard, I’ve got bad knees, I’m too old, I’m too set in my ways to change… But in the end they are just excuses. Make health and fitness a priority.
Idea: Walking is a great way to exercise for free. It can be done around your neighborhood, at a local park or greenway, or inside the local mall (many have “mall walkers” clubs). You could even takes laps inside a nearby Wal-mart, Target, or other big-box store. The best part of walking is that you can start small (maybe 10 minutes) and slowly work your way up (maybe to an hour a day).
6) Sleep – Another category that may make some eyes roll. After all, we live in a 24/7 world in which most people like to proudly proclaim about how little sleep they need to “get by.” Sleep is much more important to good health, mental sharpness, and physical reflexes than most people realize. Making sure you get enough sleep on a consistent basis is one of the best ways to prepare. This is another reason we need community. No one can pull guard duty 24 hours a day.
7) High Visibility Colors – Although black, camouflage, and khaki are all the rage, there are times when high visibility is preferred. You need some clothes, bandannas, cordage and other gear in bright, highly visible colors like Blaze Red, Safety Orange, Neon Yellow, and Hot Pink. See yesterday’s post for more on this idea.