Although we see things for what they are, preppers aren’t immune to many of the problems that regular Americans find themselves in. Even though we seem to be coming out of the great recession, too many of us are still suffering from large amounts of debt. And the problem keeps growing. Among these numbers are certainly many preppers.
But for a prepper, the decision between what they need and what they have is a bit more complicated than for the average American. For example, while many Americans consider going into debt for such things as a new TV or computer, preppers may consider taking on debt for necessities like a food cache or well stocked bug out bags for the family. When you compare the two, a prepper may have the mentality that it is okay to take on debt for something that very likely could save them down the road. But is it the prudent thing to do?
[Editor’s Note: Going into debt in order to be more prepared is DEFINITELY a valid point to be wary of. I know I’ve considered the same decision more than once in the past.]
The true cost of debt
Thinking lightly of being in debt is a dangerous mindset to have for a prepper. If you pay any attention at all to what the experts say, you should know that a prepper should work to achieve as much independence as possible. That doesn’t mean being independent of others or having a lone wolf mentality. It just means not putting yourself in a position where you owe something to others.
Being in debt now can lead you to have a careless attitude about your resources during the SHTF. In our present day money is one of our most valuable resources. If we are willing to borrow that valuable resource from another person now then how will it influence the way we look at borrowing resources during a real time of need. Now we may only have to pay interest on the favor. Under dire future circumstances the cost of our borrowing may come with grievous consequences.
The point is this. Our actions and attitudes during the present day will be the same actions and attitudes we’ll have tomorrow or next month or whenever a social collapse or national emergency hits us. Therefore you can’t afford to have a cavalier attitude about debt like most Americans.
[Editor’s Note: I’d never considered this reasoning before and it’s certainly a valid one! Know who you are now and what you’d be willing to do now because it will likely be magnified many times over in a true SHTF situation.]
Training and experience are two of a very few things that a prepper won’t have to lug with them when SHTF comes along. They weigh nothing and are some of our most valuable assets. Discipline, in this case monetary discipline, should be practiced now so it will come naturally in a future time. There are a number of monetary principles that preppers should apply now to help them develop that spirit of independence that will help them in the future.
Paying off debt is prepping. Keep in mind that paying off debt is a key part of prepping now. Once you are debt free, the money that once went for interest and payments can now go for gathering the necessary resources and equipment you will need in the future.
Get out of debt as soon as possible. If you are in debt, this should be your first priority as a prepper. It doesn’t make any sense to have the coolest gear if you are indebted to someone else. If you find your debt is more than you can manage then look for outside help in paying off your debt. The ultimate goal is to get yourself in a position where you are no longer dependent on someone else.
Learn to do without. Discipline requires that we be able to tell ourselves no. That is, we need to develop the ability to say no to those temptations that can weigh us down both financially and otherwise. In reality, the more stuff you accumulate now will only make it more difficult to walk away from if later on if necessary. Learning to say no to the temptations that come along will free us up financially to focus on more important survival necessities.
Unfortunately, Americans have grown up with an overly acceptable tolerance to debt. No one frowns on the debt people accumulate. In fact, banks and marketers go out of their way to make it ever more tempting. However, for a prepper, the true cost of debt should be more than we are willing to pay.
[Editor’s Note: This is sound advice but most of us, even preppers I’d imagine, choose to live life like most American when it comes to money. When it comes to your preps, treat them like any other wise investment: save money to buy the best gear that you can as your finances allow without taking on additional debt.]
After spending most of her career in the banking sector, specifically in debt collections, Gale Newell has seen her share of the damage debt can wreck on an individual. As a prepper herself, she advocates that the first step towards prepping is living smartly now.