Oh, I wish I knew then what I know now. Odds are, at least a few times in your life this phrase has either rolled of your tongue or crossed your mind. We were all once prepping newbies, and likely made at least a few mistakes when first embarking on a self-reliant lifestyle or diving head-first into survival shopping sprees.
Once upon a time I became rather disgusted when I realized we had wasted time or money (or both!) along our preparedness journey. The head-shaking which occurred when I wondered aloud how we could have made such a silly mistake nearly caused whiplash a time or two. I approach the concept of prepping from both an educational and insurance perspective. I thoroughly enjoying the process of learning new off grid living tips, testing my survival skills, and researching homesteading techniques.
Although I still prefer never to waste either time or money, I can now look upon the discoveries of failures with a big sigh of relief. Better to make mistakes and learn from them now, then after the lights go out.
Top 10 Prepping Mistakes You Should Avoid Or Correct Right Now!
- Do not attempt to buy everything you need to survive a long-term disaster right off the bat – unless you are a millionaire. Establish a firm prepping budget, prioritize your preps, and stick to the plan. As your self-reliance skills grow, you may find that money was blown on items you will never need or could have found on sale or secondhand far more inexpensively if you would have exhibited some patience.
- Never, ever, buy food that your family will not eat. Many times a pack of long-term storage food has a plethora of meal types which might be considered tasty by some, but not by your clan. Do some research and find out exactly how much flour, milk, and other staples you will need to feed your family for three months and then build upon your food stores from there. eFoodsDirect offers a multitude of large buckets and quantities of singular food items at great prices, buy what you like. The apocalypse will be difficult enough without having to force feed the kiddos freeze-dried spinach if they hate the stuff.
- Invest in sturdy storage shelves. You will thank me for this tip later if a prepper pal limps to a mutual assistance group meeting because an entire row of #10 can fell on his foot. Purchase strong metal shelving units or build your own out of wood. We wasted too much money on cheap shelves that seemed to fit our needs as newbie preppers, but they soon became weighted down and bowed in the middle. Shelves made with metal dividers that allow cans be rolled into place, or cardboard can holders, are worth every penny and let you know at a glance how your inventory is holding up.
- Water is more important than food, so store plenty of it. Bottled water does have a shelf life and should not be your sole source of the life-sustaining liquid stockpiled in your basement. Water purification tablets, off grid and portable water purifying items and the knowledge on how to properly use them, and rain barrel catchment systems should be near the top of your prepping list. A map to local open sources of water and buckets or canteens to pack the water home in are also a great idea if you do not have a pond or creek on your property.
- Never ever put all of your preps in one place. Assuming you and all of your loved ones will be nestled on the couch watching the world fall apart on the evening news could get you killed. A bugout bag or get me home bag in your vehicle is a good start, but the car should also carry extra gear in case you cannot make it home in a timely fashion (or at all) and need to survive on your own for longer than expected. A house or garage could burn or a basement become inaccessible during a disaster – store your preps out of sight in multiple places that only loved ones know and keep an inventory of all items. Bury some caches along your property. You secluded home or bugout location could be overrun during a long-term disaster. Hiding out in the woods until the marauders are taken down or leave on their could likely occur and you will need supplies to survive during this time.
- Cross train all family members in at least basic self-reliance skills, even if they are extremely resistant to prepping. You may be a master of all things survival, but if you cannot make it home, die during a pandemic, or are killed defending the home, the rest of the family needs to learn how to make it without your help and guidance.
- Don’t forget to plan for children, pets, and loved ones with special needs. If your children are not homeschooled, they need to know what to do when away from home when disaster strikes and have some basic supplies in their backpacks to help them during their wait or on their walk home. Food for pets and livestock and medication for loved ones not in perfect health must be factored into you overall survival plan and will likely need replenished (or natural medication substitutes found) overtime to avoid waste due to shelf live constraints.
- Get fit! Life during an after a disaster will surely be more physically demanding that our cushy lives now – even if your job requires far more than sitting at a desk all day.
- Skills are just as important as anything stored in your basement or caches. Practice self-reliance skills with family and mutual assistance group members on a regular basis. Get the kids off the couch and away from electronic devices and involved in scouting, 4H, and go camping to enhance their preparedness and survival skills.
- Always have a plan for getting home and communicating with loved ones. Old-fashioned paper maps are you friends. Both you and your spouse should know at least three routes home from work, school, or frequently visited places and have a code or symbol systems established to let your significant other or children know you altered from route A if cell phones are not working. Spray paint the “only you will understand” code on your vehicle or roadway at a set location so time is not wasted looking for a loved one on a route they were forced to abandon.