After the stock market crash in 2008, many preppers warned that doomsday was imminent and that people should prepare while they still can. But doomsday never arrived. In fact, over the last few years things have gradually improved. The stock market is up, and unemployment is down. Because of this, some people are starting to get a little smug, saying things such as, “Looks like you did all that prepping for nothing.”
People said similar things after the end of the cold war (“that fallout shelter was a waste of money”), after Y2K (“you ran to the hills for no reason”), and more recently about Ebola (“guess you won’t need those pandemic supplies after all”). So are they right? Are preppers a bunch of paranoid wackos?
Hardly. Just because those things didn’t lead to doomsday doesn’t mean it will never happen. The U.S. economy is more fragile than ever, nuclear proliferation is still a problem, and a pandemic could happen at any time.
But let’s say doomsday never arrives. Would that mean all our preps were a waste of time? Hell no! There are many reasons why prepping is well worth the effort even if the shit never hits the fan on a global scale. Here are fifteen:
1. Unemployment – How well would you fare if you lost your job? In the United States, unemployment benefits only pay about half of what you were earning with a maximum of $300 to $600 a week, depending on which state you live in. And in this economy, it can take a long time to find another job. But if you’re a prepper, you will already have food, cash, and supplies on hand to help you get by until you find another job.
2. Financial Emergencies – Unemployment isn’t the only situation where your preps could come in handy. Life is full of surprise expenses: car repairs, medical bills, death in the family, who knows? Prepping is like buying insurance against all sorts of unexpected problems. But unlike insurance, the money you spend on prepping doesn’t go to waste if nothing happens because most preps are things you will eat or use anyway.
3. Never Run Out of Anything – Too often people run out of microwaveable meals and don’t have the ingredients to make anything else, so they just order a pizza. But at least in that case you can get someone to bring you food. What if you run out of dish soap, or painkillers, or toilet paper? Rather than having to order food or make a run to the store, you’ll already have everything you need.
4. Save Money – There are many ways prepping can help you save money. For one, when you go shopping you can focus on items that are on sale. If something you normally buy isn’t on sale, you can wait and buy more next time it’s on sale because you already have backup at home. Prepping is also a hedge against inflation. For example, if you are constantly rotating through a year’s supply of food, then you are always paying last year’s prices. Finally, as a prepper you’ll learn how to get multiple uses out of items you’d normally throw away. Doing this can be a huge money saver.
5. Retire Early – If you save enough money and learn how to be more self sufficient, you might be able to retire several years earlier than you originally planned. If nothing else, perhaps you’ll afford to retire at 62 instead of 65.
6. Car Trouble – If your car breaks down and you’re stranded somewhere until help arrives, imagine how much better your situation will be if you have bottled water, snacks, a flashlight, blankets, a solar charger for your phone, and other gear in your emergency vehicle kit or get home bag.
7. Ordinary Violence – When I was six years old I lived in a pretty safe neighborhood, but one night our neighbors got high on PCP, went crazy, and kicked in our front door, guns blazing. Literally. Fortunately, the man with the gun was so confused that he actually handed it to my dad. No one was hurt, and eventually the police arrived and arrested them. But that story could have ended very differently. The reason I share it is to remind you that violent crimes happen everyday, even in areas that are relatively safe. But as a prepper, you’ll learn how to secure your home against invaders and defend yourself if they somehow get in anyway.
8. House Fires – As I said in this post, every year there are over 350,000 house fires in the United States. But if you and your family have fire extinguishers and an escape plan, you’ll all have a much better chance of avoiding injury or death.
9. Medical Emergencies – If there are several hospitals in your town, you might not think medical supplies are very important. But if you have a good first aid kit and know how to use it, you can vastly improve the injured person’s chance of survival while you wait for the ambulance to arrive.
10. Natural Disasters – Floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes… they happen all the time. Every year thousands of people die in these sorts of disasters and the rest of the world barely notices. Although it’s possible will never arrive, the chance of natural disasters striking hundreds of towns this very year is 100%. What if your town is next? But if you’re a prepper, you’ll be able to bug out in time or ride out the disaster until things return to normal.
11. Power Outage – When there’s a natural disaster, the worst most people experience is a short power outage. But what if the power is out all day? Or all week? Would you be able to light your house, cook your food, and stay warm without power? Power outages are much more comfortable when you’re a prepper.
12. Stay in Shape – This depends on the type of prepping you do. But if you work in the garden, or go hunting on a regular basis, or build things for your homestead, you’ll be much healthier than you would be if you sat on the couch every evening.
13. Peace of Mind – This is one of the most important benefits of prepping. Whether arrives or not, at least you won’t have to worry about it as much. There’s an unfortunate stereotype that makes preppers look nervous and stressed out. But actually, if you know you can handle almost anything life throws your way, you’ll be much less stressed out than the average person.
14. Improve Self Esteem – Having the supplies you need and the skills to use them can not only bring you peace of mind, but make you proud of your efforts. One of the great things about prepping is you actually have something to show for it. And your self esteem will be much higher if you feel confident rather than helpless at the prospect of disaster.
15. Bond With Friends and Family – Prepping is something everyone can work on together. It’s not just about stocking up on food and supplies. It’s about practicing survival skills, building things, and going on adventures such as hiking and camping. All these activities can bring you and your friends and family much closer together.