“Money makes the world go round.” “Money answers all things.” These are common sayings that describe the power and influence that money has in this world.
Being that money is so important many of us lack the attention to detail that it deserves. We quickly spend it almost as fast as we get it. Others spend more than they actually receive. Then finally there are those that just cannot earn enough of it.
Unfortunately, there are people who are affected by handicaps and illnesses that prevent them from earning enough money. However, many of us improperly spend. This is only to our detriment as a prepper if a collapse scenario was to ever happen.
Yes, having survival skills among others is necessary in order to survive a true collapse scenario. But it still takes money to build knowledge and develop those skills effectively. We could sit home in our basements with glow faces as we watch YouTube all day learning as much as we can. However, when it comes to building skills knowledge has to be put into practice.
This is why it is important for preppers to wisely spend their money. I believe that many of us are making mistakes unknowingly. Most of the time it is not intentional. So I wanted to share my opinion on the most common money mistakes that decrease preppers’ survivability.
6 Money Mistakes that Decrease Preppers Survivability
1. Getting Caught Up in the Fads
Prepper Facebook groups and forums are full of posts from people sharing their bug out bags and kick ass gear. We like to share with our friends and family the sweet piece of gear that we have attained. It has really become a trend.
Don’t get me wrong. I like to have some bad ass looking gear. However, that shouldn’t be our focus. Our focus should be to attain items that serve a purpose in helping us survive. Otherwise, we can be spending money on gear that we don’t need only to catch the envy of someone else. Then when SHTF you will muttering to yourself that you should’ve spent your money on something else.
2. Buying the Wrong Gear and Supplies
This goes in conjunction with the previous mistake. Too many times we purchase gear and supplies for threats that are not likely or severe. We don’t make these purchases according to a strategic preparedness plan.
Sadly, many do not have a preparedness plan to base their purchases. So we tend to wing it. We purchase items we can get when we see them. As a result, we become partially prepared in many areas instead of fully prepared in the important areas.
Not only should we be purchasing items according to a strategic plan but we need to focus on quality. It is important to do research before making a purchase. Otherwise, we could be spending money on a piece of junk instead on something that would have truly assisted in a collapse scenario.
The great thing about technology is that information about items is readily available. We’ve also become social about purchases. We like to share experiences with particular items online. This is especially true when we buy a piece of junk and want to make sure the company feels our wrath over the internet.
This is why I try to do reviews on gear and supply that I actually use and would recommend. This in hopes that it will help the preparedness community by making informed purchasing decisions. Typically when I buy something on sites like I Amazon I look for products with an average of 4 stars. They also need to have a few hundred reviews from customers. This will help you to ensure that you are not wasting money on items that are not helpful.
3. Not Developing and Sticking to a Budget
Many of us find ourselves in debt because we are quick to buy the newest and nicest thing. Then we stress ourselves out trying to pay our weekly bills. Today’s survival should be much more important than surviving a future event that might not ever happen.
We need to strive to get our expenses under 80% of income. This will give a cushion to save and be prepared for any expensive emergency. If we live from paycheck to paycheck then we are only placing ourselves at a disadvantage in our preparedness plan.
How to Get Your Expenses Under 80%
It’s in our nature to want the newest and nicest thing. We feel a sense of entitlement because of all the hard work that has been put in. This type of thinking influences us to buy things we can’t afford. Sometimes it even influences us to get into loans.
At that point, we are just working to pay bills. We don’t get a chance to truly enjoy the fruit of our labor. Instead, stress becomes overwhelming on a day to day basis not knowing how to pay the next bill. There is a saying that “The borrower is servant to the lender.” By going into debt we put ourselves into financial bondage.
The alternative is to strive to become self-sufficient. We shouldn’t be dependent upon working the rest our lives to make someone else rich. Therefore, we need to identify ways to get us 80% in expenses.
The biggest challenges for most of us are credit cards, school loans, and car payments. Debt is one of the biggest threats that we are facing in this fiat currency. The fiat currency only thrives off of debt. It drives the economy. This leaves millions of people in debt living only to pay their debts.
However, rich people don’t use debt. They use cash to pay for everything. In earlier times, if you had to take out a loan you were considered scum. Nowadays it is considered weird if you don’t.
Paying Off Debt
So when it comes to debt you don’t need to finance an $80k truck. This is especially true if you are only making $30k per year. Instead, you should consider buying a used or new truck with cash.
I know, it’s hard to keep up with Jones’s who have the bad ass truck next door. You don’t want to be seen coming home in your beater. But at least this will help you get from point A to point B safely without constantly worrying about debt.
When paying off debt you need to use what is called the Snowball effect. List out all of your debts and arrange them from the smallest debt to the highest. Write out how much you pay per month. Then after putting together a budget, you can use your discretionary spending to pay off the smallest debt first. Once that is paid off then you focus on the next debt. This will help you to quickly pay off debt and build momentum.
Downsizing is another great method to consider when trying to get expenses under 80% of income. For example, it wouldn’t be wise to be spending $600 per month on a jacked up truck while only making $30k per year. Dave Ramsey, the author of Total Money Makeover, recommends that the budget for transportation should only be about 10-15% of a budget.
In order to track expenses, a budget is necessary. This can be typically done by writing monthly expenses on a spreadsheet. A great free tool that I use is Mint.com. It can be done all online. This tool also gives advice on how to budget better and invest.
The biggest enemy to budgeting is impulse buying. This is especially challenging online when we see awesome deals for sweet prepper gear. At the blink of an eye, it can be bought. Sometimes payment information doesn’t even have to be entered in if it is saved in Amazon.
In order to avoid impulse spending, we should allocate money to expenses immediately after getting paid. Bills should be paid immediately even if it isn’t the due date. This will reduce the temptation to spend the money on something else.
Another way to combat impulse buying is by leaving credit/debit cards at home when going out. This is especially challenging to me when I go to the gun store. As soon as I walk in I feel like a kid in a candy shop.
So before going to the gun store I only take the money needed to buy what I had planned. For the most part, I don’t go to store without a plan on what I want to buy. You may like to window shop but I don’t trust myself enough to do that.
4. Making Purchases Out of Fear
Unfortunately, the preparedness movement has been invaded by babbling fear mongering baboons. Their only intentions are to get rich off of the fears of others. You will oftentimes hear wacko radio hosts and websites proclaim that the collapse is here. They proclaim in order to survive the collapse, you will need to buy their product. This is only designed to entice you to make a quick purchase without thinking.
Purchasing decisions shouldn’t be based out of fear. They should be strategic by basing them on a preparedness plan built upon a threat assessment. Without conducting a threat assessment it is impossible to get a clear idea of realistic and severe threats. Threat assessments not only help to identify threats but to prioritize your preparedness plan around them. In The Strategic Prepper, I explain how to conduct a threat assessment so that you can prioritize your preparedness plan.
5. Neglecting to Spend Money on Training
Gear and supplies will not save you during a collapse scenario. Your knowledge and skills will. You can have tons of gear and supplies stored up but becomes useless if it is destroyed or stolen. This is why it is much more important to gain knowledge and develop skills now.
In a collapse, it will be important to know the basics of gathering and hunting food and water. The next important thing to is to be able to safely prepare the food and water for consumption. Otherwise, you are just digging your own grave.
There are many others skills that are important to know. Not only for your own survival but also bringing value to a survival group. A survival group is going to place more importance on someone with knowledge and skills than on someone who just has a lot of stuff with no knowledge or skills. The more valuable person is the more options they receive.
Not only are skills important to develop for a potential collapse scenario but also for everyday situations. For example, what is the purpose of having a whole artillery if you don’t know how to properly use them? Being able to properly to defend yourself and others is important as we live in a crazy world.
Contrary to popular belief, developing skills can’t be done by being glued to YouTube all night. It may be helpful in increasing knowledge. However, skills are only developed when knowledge is put into practice. So this means getting up to go to the gun range, self-defense training, survival courses, etc. Getting training from others may be expensive but how much is a life worth? To me it is priceless.
6. Relying Solely on Fiat Currency
There has never been a fiat currency is history that has survived. Even the Great Roman Empire collapsed because of their fiat currency. The Roman Empire began diluting silver and gold coins by adding other elements to them. However, they would still assign the same value to them. This caused merchants to charge higher prices because the value of the currency decreased.
The same thing is happening today. It used to be that the U.S. dollar was backed by the gold standard. That ended many years ago. Now the government just prints money and assigns a value to it.
U.S. coins used to have a real value associated with it. Many of the coins produced before 1965 would have 90% or more silver in them. Now most of them have less than 40% silver content.
So the value of the currency has decreased. What you were able to buy with a dollar a few years ago can no longer buy you that same item. This ties in with inflation.
At the moment of this writing, the U.S. is in more than $19 trillion in debt. Realistically this cannot continue. It will eventually crash and become worthless just like what happened in Rome.
One way to safeguard against an economic collapse is by investing in precious metals, especially silver. The value of silver has remained consistent with inflation. In fact, when trouble with the fiat currency rises then the value of silver increases. This is one of many great reasons why preppers should invest in silver.
When the dollar inevitably becomes worthless merchants will only accept currency that contains real value. Initially, they will accept junk silver and then eventually minted bullion. So this is an important factor of the budget that should be considered. I recommend purchasing at least $20 worth of bullion each week. This is until it is affordable to purchase more.
Realistically, you will want to eventually have 6 months worth of expenses saved in precious metals. That way if an economic collapse happens then you are able to survive until able to grow and raise food. There are many bullion dealers out there but I recommend SD Bullion. You can read this article on why.
Altogether, this would be my opinion on money mistakes that decrease preppers’ survivability. Feel free to leave your feedback or suggestions below. Your feedback helps the community prepare the smart way now so that we can thrive later.
Photography by B Rosen