In the three years prior to Y2K, I spent thousands and thousands of dollars (which I didn't have at the time) to prepare for it. Thanks to the billions and billions of dollars spent by governments and corporations around the world, it was a non-event. I now try to make my prepping activities a part of my general lifestyle, not to get ready for a specific event. I budget for supplies, I incorporate my preps into daily life, and the ultimate goal is to have whatever I need If It Hits The Fan, but also that those things that I have done also contribute to my ongoing happiness and success.
"Didn't you learn from Y2K?" "Why are you wasting your money?" "You'll never use that stuff!" "What are you going to do with that much food?"
If you are a prepper, you've heard these same questions and statements. They often come from friends or family that buy a new car every couple years, take frequent vacations, are always going out to eat, have toys like ATVs, boats, and jet skis, all of it "paid" for with credit. "I can make the payment, why shouldn't I buy that...?" They might have enough food in the house to make it until next payday, but Visa is on standby if they don't. When a disaster hits, whether large-scale affecting everyone, or a very personal one, these people are not ready and must depend on the kindness of others, or more likely, the government (which we know is really us, but they don't see it that way).
I look at people like this in several different ways. If they are close friends or family whom I love and care about, I have to determine if they are at least open to changing the way they live. I can't jump right into, "So what are you going to do when the electrical grid collapses due to an electromagnetic pulse attack?" That will convince them that they've been right all along and I'm paranoid. Maybe I'll mention that we are working our way out of debt by following Dave Ramsey's principles and I'll offer to lend them a copy of "Total Money Makeover." Perhaps I'll reminisce about the last time we lost power for 3 days in an ice storm and how cozy we were with our generator running the house and how nice it was not to have to worry about fighting the crowds for a loaf of bread or gallon of milk. If they are resistant, the best I might be able to do is put away a little extra when I can with the plan of distributing it as charity during a time of need. I also need to make it clear to them that if disaster strikes, they cannot come here. We don't have room and we can't provide for them. If they seem like they might be interested in hearing more, I think it is best to move gradually. Let them guide the conversation. Ask them what they did during the last "xyz" situation. Suggest they listen to The Survival Podcast or read Making the Best of Basics by James Talmage Stevens. The key is to not scare them off and to let them explore this way of life at their own speed, offering guidance and collaboration when needed.
The next group of people is the casual acquaintance. Someone I work with or who is a friend of a friend. I used to talk openly about my preps with any and all who would listen. I was often met with "I'm coming to your house when it gets bad." I warned people off with offers of ammunition, one bullet at a time. As I've matured, I realize how bad that image was to the preparedness movement. I've also realized that I am not the only one who approached the situation that way. Nowadays, I just don't bring it up. If someone reads between the lines, or stumbles upon this blog, and realizes what I do, then they are probably already leaning toward preparedness (if not already actively involved in prepping). Perhaps that person will soon become a close friend and trusted prepping partner.
The last group of people is the total strangers. I actually feel pretty good about talking to these folks. They don't know me, where I live, or where I work, but they are in my community and I'd rather them be able to take care of themselves than depend on the government to help. That is part of the reason I do this blog... to reach people who have some interest or concern with preparing their families, but don't really know anyone to talk to directly. I recently chatted with a fellow at Wal-Mart who was buying his 12 year old son a Mossberg 20 gauge shotgun. He very proudly told me that the boy took two deer last year with a 20 gauge single shot. If I had a business card showing my blog, along with a couple of other resources, I could have passed it to him. As it was, I congratulated him on his son's achievement and thanked him for passing on the traditions to a new generation. I'm hopeful that this blog will serve as an introduction to prepping for many who are not yet ready to dive in head first, but who know things can go bad and have a feeling that they must do something.
Really, to the novice, one way to approach prepping is to ask if they have car insurance. Some will say that they have the bare minimum because the law requires it. You probably won't make much headway with that type. Others will say that they have very high coverage to protect their family's assets in the event they cause an accident. These are the folks that will get it. Prepping is another form of insurance, but where you really hope you never have to use your car insurance, prepping can be done in a way to insure your family's assets during disaster or personal crisis, but it can also improve your day-to-day life. Eat tomorrow on today's dollars. Grow a garden to lower your food bill and give your family healthy, natural food. Learn how to build or repair things that you need around the house. Have guns and fishing gear for recreation or providing food. Collect Silver Eagles and pre-65 U.S. coins because they are neat, and they store wealth or can be used for barter. It goes on and on. Prepping is just another form of insurance, but one that can save your life, not just pay for it.