Are you making any of these long-term survival mistakes?
Here are some commons mistakes, and their solutions, that many preppers/survivalists may be making:
Mistake: Put All Your Money Into Gold and Silver, or Guns and Ammo.
The radio and TV ads make it seem simple: buy some gold and silver, then rest comfortably in the knowledge that you are prepared for any economic meltdown or the collapse of the dollar. Gold, silver and other precious metals might be a good hedge against hard times, but
only after you have done all your other preparations. In any start of collapse, the value of money will only be one small concern out of the myriad of other, more pressing concerns. Same thing goes for guns & ammo. Nothing against having guns and ammo, but by themselves they are not
much of a long-term survival strategy. Like gold & silver, guns
& ammo only cover a small portion of the problems that you will face
in most collapse scenarios. You still need to do a lot of
Solution: Strive for Balance. Don't concentrate all your efforts into only one or two categories of prepping because they are easier or more interesting/fun than other preps. Get your
finances in order, pay off debt, learn first aid, take some permaculture classes, take
some home repair courses, buy hand tools and gardening tools, make your
home energy efficient, accumulate at least a year's worth of food,
water, medicine and other supplies, and plant some fruit and nut trees
in your backyard. Then you can consider putting some of your excess wealth into gold and silver, or add some more guns to your already extensive collection.
Mistake: Go/Stay In Debt.
I get the impression that some preppers are actually looking forward to an economic collapse in order to "wipe their slate clean," so to speak. This is highly unlikely for several reasons. Even if the dollar collapses completely and is replaced by a new currency, it is most likely that your debts will simply be re-denominated into the new currency. It won't just disappear. And in any martial law/police state scenario, some form of debtors prison is likely to make a comeback, especially for debts the government has a hand in (back taxes, unpaid fines, student loans, etc.). In fact, this is already happening in some cities and states in the USA. (See off-site news stories: Return of the debtors’ prison? and Debtors' Prisons — Again.)
Solution: Find ways other than maxing out your credit cards to prepare. And if
you are in debt, find ways to pay it off. Remember the axiom "The
debtor is slave to the lender." Too much debt causes stress and bad
decisions, yields some control of your life to others, and interferes in
your ability to make needed preparations. My article Prepping 101: Finances - Get Back to Basics may give you some ideas. If you are already struggling with debt, I highly recommend Dave Ramsey's books, website, and radio show.
Mistake: Don't Take Care of Your Health.
Let me get this straight, you say are preparing for the difficult
times ahead, but you are still overweight, badly out of shape and smoke a
pack a day? Mark this well: when rough times really hit you are going
to need your health and strength more than just about anything else. If
you aren't taking care of your health, you are not preparing.
Solution: Learn Good Health, and Get Motivated. You need to get motivated to learn what a healthy diet and healthy living really is, and get motivated to actually d it. Learning is easy. There are lots of great books, websites, and other resources out there. I list what I consider the best of those resources in my article Steps to Good Health, which I recently updated. Please check it out.
The real problem for most seems to be getting motivated to eat and live healthy. My best advice for motivation is to focus not on how difficult healthy living is, but on the positive aspects. For example, if you want to quit smoking, don't focus on how hard it will be, or the cravings you will have, or all those past times you failed to quit. Instead, focus on how much healthier you will be, and how much money you will save. After all, just a half-pack of cigarettes a day may cost you $1,000 or more in a year, depending on where you live. How nice would it be to suddenly have an extra $1,000 a year?
Mistake: Lack of Actual Experience.
Books on gardening sell like hot-cakes, but how many are ever fully
read? How many gun owners actually hunt or at least target practice?
Reading books and taking classes can help you build knowledge. But do
you have the skills and experience to put that knowledge to use? Many folks have a theoretical knowledge of useful skills, or at least the collection of books to give them that knowledge. But actually doing is very different from reading.
Solution: Start doing things now. Prepare for difficult times by actually doing things now - gardening,
hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, canning, sewing by hand, doing your own home & auto
repairs... Here's a great idea: volunteer to help build a house with Habitat For Humanity. Also, check out local gardening clubs for both training and volunteer opportunities. You will learn lots of useful skills while actually helping people in need. Put all that theoretical knowledge you've been collecting to use now, and develop the actual skills & experience you will need later on.
Mistake: Not Having Back-Up Plans.
You've decided that your going to ride out the future being
self-sufficient on your homestead. What if for some reason you can't
stay there? Or you've decided that when TSHTF you are going to bug out
to Grandpa's old cabin in the mountains. What happens if you can't get
there? You've decided you are going to raise your own food, but your
crops fail due to drought or disease. Do you have a store of food as a
back-up? Do you know how to hunt or fish?
Solution: Always have a Plan B. And a
Plan C is nice, too. My primary plan is to ride out whatever comes where I am at now. That is where I am putting most of my efforts and resources. But I also have a back-up plan (three actually) in case things become too dangerous to stay where I'm at now for whatever reasons. I've even pre-positioned some supplies at two of the three locations. And I have figured out (and actually driven) at least two alternative routes to each of those locations, in case one of the routes were blocked for some reason.
Don't just have back-up plans for your location. Have them for accomplishing various tasks, too. For example, your plans for water may include 1) your current primary source, 2) stored water, 3) a nearby creek or pond, plus having the ability to filter and purify it, and 4) collecting rainwater, plus having the ability to filter and purify it. Do the same for other tasks, such as cooking (regular stove, propane grill, charcoal grill, wood stove, etc.), staying warm (natural gas, electric heaters, propane heaters, fireplace, wood stove, plenty of insulation & warm clothes, etc.), and so forth. Have multiple back-ups for every task/system.
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