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TADPrepper

Pantry packed with canned goodsMost of our friends haven’t bought into this prepping thing. Phil and I have discussed the objections people have to prepping and have found that they break down into a few basic categories. We thought we’d share them with you along with our responses.

Objection #1: I don’t believe in the zombie apocalypse

My response: Neither do I. But I look at the world and I see a very fragile place. There are so many things that could go wrong – wars, natural disasters, economic uncertainty, nasty diseases… the list could go on. These are all plausible things that could directly impact my life. When I consider those things, it only makes sense to me to prepare for the eventuality that something will go haywire at some time in my life. Phil boiled it down to a single reason in this blog: Why Bother to Prep? For a bit more detail on the kinds of things that some people are prepping for, check out this blog: What Kind of Event Are You Prepping For?

Objection #2 – Sacred Version: I trust God to take care of me. The Bible promises that He will provide for all my needs. Why should I prep?

My response: I trust God to take care of me, too. However, the Bible also says that if we’ve been warned about something, we’re responsible to take action. I can’t do everything one might need to do to be prepared for every potential emergency. I trust God to cover those things. He will provide for my needs. But prepping is not a whole lot different from buying house or car insurance. I trust God, but I also spend a lot of money on insurance for my car, home, and health. Through the money I spend on prepping, I am preparing to improve my circumstances in a future that might be very different from my present. Beyond that, though, is a much greater reason for being a prepper. I am prepping so that I can show God’s love to those around me during times of upheaval and stress. Because I’ve bought extra food and extra Bibles, I can share tangible support and spiritual comfort with others. God uses His Church to bless others. I want to be a vehicle for God’s blessings to others. If you aren’t able to meet your own needs, you can’t be in a position to help others.

Objection #2 – Secular Version: I trust the government to take care of me. They won’t let anything bad happen, or if it does, they will fix it quickly and take care of me in the meantime.

My response: I’ll go against the grain of many other preppers here and say that I believe that our government has our best interests at heart. At least, I believe that their intentions are good. But there are two major problems with this. First, the government’s vision of “my best interests” doesn’t always line up very well with mine. The government increasingly wants to take by force of law from those who have earned and saved, and give it to those who haven’t earned or haven’t saved. Obviously, from my answer to the “sacred” version of this objection, I want to do this, too. But I want to be the one who gets to decide how, when, and where my stuff gets distributed, and who it goes to. I trust myself to do this more efficiently and effectively than the government. Second, the government increasingly wants to disarm its citizens. More good intentions, but with disastrous results. Every person has the God-given right to defend themselves (see this excellent article). Too often, the good intentions of government produce the exact opposite results. When things get bad, I want to be able to defend myself, not wait for a cop to show up. When things get really bad, the cops won’t be able to get to you anytime soon.

Objection #3: I can’t afford to be a prepper

My response to this is four-fold:

  • First, remember that any prepping you do is better than no prepping. Don’t feel like you have to go all out or it’s not worth it. If I had that perspective, I’d be in tears most of the time. There are so many areas to prep in and we sure don’t have enough hours in the day or money in our pockets to be as prepared as we’d like to be. But I know two things: Doing something is better than doing nothing, and God is faithful. I trust Him to cover what I can’t do.
  • Prepping is about more than spending money. I appreciate that finances are quite lean for many people – being self-employed, our income fluctuates significantly. Or as Phil puts it, we go flat broke every couple of years. During our “broke” years, we spend more time learning and practicing than buying. During our “not so broke” years, we do more buying and storing. The things we buy and store help get us through the lean times. We’re prepped for it. You can do many prepping things that cost little or nothing. Learning to consume less and make the most of what you have is prime prepper training.
  • A lot of prepping can be done for not nearly as much money as you think. Every week at the grocery store, buy two or three of something that you would typically buy one of. Store the extras away from your “every day” supplies so that they don’t get used immediately. Those extra purchases won’t add much to your total bill, but you’ll slowly begin to develop a “convenience store” in your own home. When items go on sale, buy five or six of them instead of two or three. If a disaster strikes six months from now you may not have a month’s worth of food, but you’ll have enough for several days, and several days is better than no days. Several days buys you a little time to figure out what’s next. It reduces your stress in a stressful situation. Those are good things.
  • Add prepping to your budget. Find ways to save money for prepping. Prepping is like saving. You save a little each month and it adds up. You save first and budget around it. Phil and I sometimes make a game out of saving for prepping. What can we do (or not do) this week to save money? That saved money goes in the prepper money jar.

Objection #4: I don’t have time for prepping!

My response: I feel your pain. But you gotta make time. As with money, start small, but start. Making a decision to be a prepper is the place to start, then develop a plan – a written plan – of what you want to buy, learn, and do. I’ve said it many times, but it bears repeating here — we haven’t done nearly as many things as we’d like to, but because we’ve made the decision to be preppers, we’ve done a lot more than we would have otherwise. And everything you do puts you ahead of the game.

Objection #5: There’s too much to do. I’m too overwhelmed by it all, so I do nothing.

My response: Noooo! Don’t let the overwhelmed monster get to you! Seriously, I totally understand. Phil became interested in prepping first. (Speaking more truthfully, I would say that Phil felt God’s prompting to seriously step into prepping.) One day he told me there was something he wanted to talk to me about. We sat at our dining room table and he started talking. I quickly agreed with him about the need to prepare for a future that could look very different, but I’m a practical person. “So what do we do?” I asked. He started talking and I started outlining. I’m a planner by nature so outlining things to do helped me get my arms around it. But we had only started our discussion on things to do when I became quite overwhelmed and fearful. That was our signal to end the conversation. We prayed and set the discussion aside for a day or two. Then I was able to come back to it without being afraid or overwhelmed. Start in one area – water or food. Look for blogs on that subject. We gear The Approaching Day Prepper toward beginning preppers (because we still consider ourselves beginners). Our Getting Started blog links you to many of our beginner blogs. Or check out other blogs listed on our “How to Begin” page.

Objection #6: My spouse doesn’t agree with my desire to prep

My response: This is a tough one, but not something that can’t be overcome. I would start by going back to Objection #3 and using the approach of buying multiples of food and household products that you use on a regular basis when you see them on sale. Food prices are escalating. Stocking up on stuff that you already use when it goes on sale is something that even an anti-prepper can see the wisdom in. Use opportunities to show your spouse how nice it was to have something that you needed on hand. For example, it’s a holiday and all the grocery stores are closed. Wasn’t it good that we had an extra jar of pasta sauce in our home “convenience store”? Find things that plug into your spouse’s interests and encourage them to accumulate more things along those lines that could be useful in prepping. For a non-prepping wife, it could be food or sewing or some hobby that could be adapted for prepping. For husbands it could be tools or building supplies or sports equipment that might have a prepping value.

Prepping is rarely convenient. Even if you’re on fully board with it, there will be times when you have objections of your own for doing what needs to be done. Keep your focus, lead a balanced life, ask God for wisdom, and do something. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, but do something that will make you better prepared than you were yesterday. You can’t steer a parked car.

BudgetingToday’s article is by Gale Newell, a young woman who is taking positive steps toward becoming self-sufficient. Gale has written for a number of prepper blogs and submitted the following article to us to help us get control of one of our most important resources — our money. This may become the first installment in an ongoing series on financial issues from a prepper perspective. I’ll turn this over to Gale now, and chime in with my own comments below hers.

Budgeting for Prepping

Paper currency will always be a major factor in your life, unless you plan on disappearing into the mountains to live the rest of your life in a cave. Some of us (including me) hope to do this someday, and live a self-sufficient life. Even then, someone will probably find you and want money for something. Until TEOTWAWKI comes and the foundation of our society crumbles, paper currency will continue to hold value in our world. So, what can you do now, as a prepper?

Step 1: Keep track of all of your expenses. There is still a lot of value in balancing your checking account. In addition, recording all your transactions in your checkbook’s register allows you to double check everything your bank does, without relying on an internet connection. A bank has thousands of transactions every day and mistakes, while rare, do happen.

I personally don’t carry my checkbook on me. While this means I can’t record my expenditures as I make them, I keep the receipts from all my transactions in my wallet and then add them to my checkbook’s register at the end of the day. It only takes few minutes and it provides me with an organized record of all my expenditures. Furthermore, it provides me with an accurate, up-to-date balance. Online banking is great, but it can take a day or two for transactions to clear.

I personally like to sit down and compare my checkbook’s register to the information available at my online banking. It’s a quick way to double check my work and the bank’s numbers. This could be seen as an optional step, and it is, but I highly recommend doing it. If everything is accounted for and looks good, it’s time to create categories to sort your finances into.

Step 2: Budget. After about a month of recording transactions, the process of creating a budget can begin. Here are some very useful budgeting forms from www.DaveRamsey.com, which can help you divide your overall budget into meaningful categories. If you are looking to cut certain expenses out of your life you could label a category “unnecessary expenses.” Once you have sorted your various expenses into their proper category, add them up. The totals in each category should give you a good idea of where your money is going.

Step 3: Evaluate. Now that you have a good picture of what you are actually spending your money on, you can decide which areas require some cutbacks. If you created an Unnecessary Expenses category, you could immediately use that money somewhere else. The Unnecessary category could be very handy if you need to save up money to put towards outstanding debts, or if all your debts are paid off, put that money towards additional preps. All you would have to do is set aside the amount you would normally spend on expenses you deemed unnecessary into something like a savings account. Any money sitting in a savings account should not be touched for any purpose other than putting a down payment on a house or getting out of debt.

Hopefully this will help readers see how staying organized and planning ahead can reduce the stress of living within the current times. Budgeting is not something over the head of a prepper. In fact, it becomes doubly important for reducing your financial footprint and making strides to getting off the grid. In a capitalist economy in which everything revolves around money, remember there are things much more important than material goods and extra stuff. Use saving money as a chance to reconnect with friends and family, not spending so many nights out or making impulse purchases.

Gale Newell is continually working on being a self-sufficient human being. She finds herself spending her summer days outdoors, whether raising food in her organic garden or playing cards with friends and family. She enjoys grilling meals on her old-school charcoal grill and has overcome an addiction to multiple television series. Gale feels freer than ever and is truly happy. She is prepared for the future and ready for whatever happens next.

Phil’s Two Cents Worth on Budgeting for Prepping (pun intended)

Gale brings up some excellent points. The late, great motivational speaker Zig Ziglar was known for saying, “Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen.” Next to tithing and providing for the needs of your family, budgeting for prepping may be the most important thing you do with your money.

Creating a realistic budget can be terribly difficult because it forces us to be deadly honest with ourselves. The things that will really kill your budgeting process are the dreaded occasional expenses. We all have WAY more of them than we are aware of. I read recently that the Back To School season is the second biggest shopping period of the year, second only to Christmas. The average family spends $600 per child on back to school expenses. Did that annual expense make its way  into your monthly budget? I just had my roof replaced a couple of years ago. It cost thousands, and it’s something that typically has to be done about once every 15 years where I live. Is that in my budget? How about medical expenses, insurance, car maintenance, saving for my next vehicle, replacing my aging water heater, or the need to travel across the country to visit a sick or dying relative? How do you budget for these kinds of things? I’m going to need to replace virtually everything that I own at some point. Do I have that in my budget? Do you?

I recommend making the most realistic budget you can possibly conceive of, then adding about 30% to it, which you stick in the bank or your private vault, and guard it against foolishness and dissipation until you really need to tap into it. Great advice, Phil. [ Note to self: Maybe I really need to start doing this myself, instead of continually being taken by surprise and driven into debt. ]

An obvious way to squeeze the most out of your prepping budget is to buy items when they’re on sale. September is National Preparedness Month. (Who says our friends at FEMA aren’t looking out for us?) You’ll find some deep discounts on prepping supplies from all of the following vendors. We’ve bought from them and are able to recommend them to our readers.:

Once again, our thanks to Gale Newell, who saw a need and stepped up to address it. I look forward to more thought-provoking articles from her in the future.