4 Items Amateur "Preppers" Waste Money On
From TV shows to YouTube channels, websites, and even blogs; there are many voices out there telling you to expect the worst and to prepare for all sorts of crass acronyms. While I might not be expecting the imminent invasion of the Chinese army or a surprise EMP attack from a united Canada and Mexico trying to eliminate the middle man; I do believe the responsible thing for any person to do is to prepare themselves for unexpected times of hardship. This isn’t a new concept, but with modern technology, and the conveniences of fast, reliable transportation and fast food, it has become less practiced. Preparing for the future by keeping a stock of essential items necessary for continuing life is something everyone should do in some form or fashion. With every good idea though, a thousand bad ones rush in. I have compiled a short list of items that you may want to consider not wasting your money on if you make “prepping” a normal practice.
Item #1: Toilet Paper
I will be one of the first people to tell you that good toilet paper is important. It is one of the things that we just do not buy “cheap” in my house. However; in a situation where you aren’t certain whether you will be able to go to the store or get food in the normal ways, toilet paper shouldn’t be your greatest concern. Let’s think practically, if you are going to spend $10 at the store; you could buy a couple of weeks worth of TP, OR, a couple of weeks worth of candles that could possible be your only light source. I’ve been to countries where TP is optional. Someone in India once asked me how dry paper is hygienically superior to actually washing yourself after a bowel movement. It’s a great question, and the reason that I always keep wet wipes handy. Toilet paper is a luxury that most people see as a necessity. While it may unravel decades of training, TP shouldn’t be at the top of your list of stockpile items. There are so many more things that are more pivotal to life than toilet paper. If it is on the list at all, I’d say you have a better shot at trading it as currency in a “end of life as we know it” scenario.
Item #2: Gross Food
I see people all sorts of people stockpiling things that they know they could eat “if they had to.” Why on earth would you waste your money on sardines if you gag at the thought of them?! This is something I just don't understand. Too many amateur “preppers” buy up anything they can find to get their shelves stocked as quickly as possible. “I never eat spinach, but I found this on sale!” If your kids won’t touch a green bean with a ten foot pole; don’t buy them. It isn’t wise to waste money on what you will not eat. If the expiration date comes before the blue berets cause you to lock down your house and take a stand at your own personal Alamo, you will not eat it. Don’t waste your money. Buy things that your family eats regularly. Make a practice of rotating your stock. If you are buying things that you will eat regularly, and stocking the new stuff in the back, you’ll have a ready supply whether things get bad or not.
Item #3: Money
Gone are the days where your life savings kept in your mattress will give you security forever. People who hoard cash in every nook and cranny of their home are asking for trouble. I can think of a few words that should strike fear into those who have $10,000 scattered in cabinets, behind pictures, and in a plastic bag in the toilet tank. Fire. Tornado. Forgetfulness. You can actually waste money, saving money if you don’t have it somewhere that is safe, easy to find, and obvious. I know that that seems a bit counter-intuitive. I’m not telling you to keep your savings on the coffee table beside the remote control… But, I have forgotten that I had money in my WALLET before! I will not trust myself to hide it somewhere that I don’t have to interact with everyday. Also, what happens when Tom Clancy becomes a prophet and a foreign government tanks our economy from within the NewYork stock exchange? You might as well have invested in toilet paper…
Item #4: Ammo
I saved the one that will get me hate mail for last. Before you buy that stamp though, hear me out. In my short life, I have seen multiple “ammo shortages” and runs on guns. It’s quite silly to look back on actually. In that time I have personally bought ammo in quantities that I’m sure at one point in history would have gotten me on a government watch list. So, why would I tell you not to waste your money on ammo? First, I’m not telling you to not buy ammo. What am I encouraging you to do though is to make sure that you can store your ammo properly. Keep it dry and clean. Only buy in bulk packaging if you have a way to sort it, separate it, and store it. That bag beside the bed doesn’t protect it from the atmosphere. It is still subject to moisture and corrosion. If you are going to buy ammo, make sure that you have a way and place to store it that will ensure that you aren’t wasting your money. Having 25,000 rounds of 9mm doesn’t help you if 70% fo them cause a misfire or jam. Just be smart when storing it and shoot from it regularly to ensure that it is still of good quality.
I know that I may have, once again, provided a list that was not what you were expecting. But, I hope that it has been helpful to you. Prepping doesn’t have to be wild, or scary. You don’t have to keep foil helmets handy and have a bunker dug out behind your house to be labeled a “prepper.” It should be a part of everyday life. It should make sense. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Think in small terms first, like: “What do we need to last a week without going to the grocery store?” Start there and see where that takes you. And DON'T let your imagination or the imagination of others cause you to live in fear. Take care of your family with a clear head and conscience. We’ll talk more about preparedness ideology later. Until then, be safe and stay sharp!