I have noticed that a lot of people have expressed frustration with getting their spouse or partner to prep. When I was interviewed by Todd Sepulveda on The Prepper Website Podcast, I was asked how a guy can encourage his wife to prep. This got me thinking more on the subject and like almost everything I think about, I talked to Matt some about it.
Just for the record, Matt and I were raised in homes where preparedness was just part of everyday life so for us it was never a bit issue so we had to put ourselves in the shoes of others to figure out how to help those that are struggling with getting their partners to prep. So here goes.
Start out by putting back extras of items you use every day. DO NOT START OUT BUYING EXPENSIVE GEAR
Food and household items that you use all the time are great starts to having some preps put back.
After all, these are items that will get used and you are going to buy at some point anyway.
If you look at your spouse and say “Hey I think it would be a good idea to start having a more stocked pantry just in case we can’t get to the store or there is bad weather”, it is going to have a lot better results than if you start out encouraging them to prep by saying “I think I am going to buy that night vision scope in case SHTF.”
Seriously, if you say that your significant other might think you are making up an excuse to get something expensive that isn’t going to benefit the household except under very special circumstances. Save the scope for further down the road after you have the basics covered.
Set a budget for preps each month or discuss your spending if you happen to have a little extra to put towards things.
Little steps lead to big results when it comes to prepping. Take a look and see what you can afford to set aside each month. Remember that just spending $5-$10 here and there will start to add up to a much higher level of preparedness. In my area, a 10 lb bag of rice is around $5-$6. A 6 pack of lighters is $6.
If you do better with your budget one month then maybe you can do a little more. Just make sure that you are on the same page with your significant other when it comes to how much you are spending out of the family finances for preps.
For some people, it is easier for them to set some rules that go beyond just a set figure that is budgeted for preps. You may want to have rules like you need to talk to each other before making prep purchases over $50 or something like that. The important thing is to be on the same page when it comes to what you are spending on preps.
Find a side hustle to earn extra money to put towards preps.
When Matt and I were at Prepper Camp we sat and talked to a fellow that bought knives and axes and then engraved them and sold them for a premium. He used the money to finance the preps he wanted.
That is just one example of a side hustle. There are all kinds of freelance jobs that can be done online. Maybe you like to do handyman jobs sometimes on the weekends?
How about writing? When I was getting started in the world of online writing I worked for agencies that sent work with good guidelines. The Problogger job board is a great place to find writing work.
Look at your lifestyle and see how you can reallocate funds towards more beneficial things such as preps.
How often do you eat out? Have you both been talking about getting into better shape but life has got away from you?
Consider this example. (This is just one, I bet you can come up with a lot of other ways to reallocate but I want to show you how small choices produce big results!)
If you eat out a few times a week and it costs an average of $40 perhaps you could cut out one of those meals and cook a healthier meal at home for $15? That would save $100 per month or $1200 per year that you could put towards more useful things.
Now think about how many extra calorie restaurant meals can have hidden in them.
If you cut 500 calories off that meal by eating at home, you will both weigh 7 lbs less at the end of the year. $1,200 extra to spend and being in better physical condition sounds pretty good to me.
Have fun learning skills together and if you have kids, include them when possible.
Prepping can feel like you are taking away from time together if you are running off by yourself. If you have kids it may feel like you are taking away from time with them.
The fact is that preparedness is something that is good to learn together and the sooner you start it the better.
Matt and I were taught quite a few things when we were younger, before “prepping” was a well-known term. Prepping can actually bring families together and encourage them to spend more time with each other.
Here are a few prepping activities that are options for couples or families to do together. I bet you can think of a lot more!
Take a hike together with a field guide in hand and learn to spot edible plants as well as deadly ones
Go to a U-pick berry farm and pick berries. At the end of the day, freeze them, make jam, or freeze them and make jam later if the day gets away from you.
Learn how to make fires using various methods and under different conditions
Practice tying useful knots
Learn how to signal using flags and other methods.
Practice basic whittling techniques. There are a ton of simple kits and softwood available on Amazon to get started. This is a great rainy day project.
Don’t get too hardcore on the first camping trip
I recommend a single night or two overnight car camping trip for those that are just getting out for the first time or taking along young kids. This allows you to take some luxury items. The worst thing you can do is get too hardcore on a first camping trip. That can make everyone never want to do it again.
Stress the importance of preparing for the most likely scenarios such as wind and snowstorms, flooding, power outages, extreme cold or heat, etc rather than the more “far out” scenarios like an EMP, nuclear war, extreme pandemic situations, etc.
Things that happen regularly in an area are more likely to get reluctant people to prepare than something that sounds really far out there. Consider the most likely natural disasters in your area and weather-related events and go from there.
If you start spending time building faraday cages in your garage to prep for EMP before getting your significant other on board with having a 72 hour kit for the most likely natural disaster, you might scare them away from prepping. NEVER GO FULL TINFOIL HAT RIGHT FROM THE START.
Talk about something else once in a while. Have other things you do besides prep.
Prepping and survival is a big part of our life here. It can be hard sometimes to not let that take over basically everything especially in the uncertain times and political climate we are all living in. You have to have more in your life than just preparing for SHTF or a long emergency. I like to read and a lot of what I read is for research and to keep my mind sharp since I am not in school anymore.
But I do make sure to read a variety of books. I often have a fiction and a nonfiction book that I am working on and the fiction book is not prepper fiction either. I have read very little prepper fiction and I do not watch prepper or apocalyptic tv shows. I grew up without a tv in the house most of the time and I gravitate towards books.
Matt and I have sheep and recently started on establishing a herd of babydoll sheep. We have a 2-acre vineyard that we have invested an enormous amount of time and energy into. It is a huge risk. Most people that start vineyards have a ton of money to throw at hiring labor and building things.
The article you are reading now, for example, will add some money to our budget and all that is going towards a new tractor. I have been working for months typing and throwing money towards that. For the average person starting a vineyard buying a $5,000 tractor is a tiny expense. For us it is very signficiant. We have no retirement fund, pension, etc. If we fail, we fail but is what we have going on besides prepping for SHTF. You need something and what your goals and dreams are shouldn’t take a backseat to prepping.
Don’t forget to prep for comfort.
I don’t care if I get some feedback from the hardcore types about this but you need to prep for comfort. So here I am going to talk about my Beauty Box for SHTF.
Look, even if I could afford a $50 facial I wouldn’t do it. I don’t need to pay someone to do what I can do at home for a few bucks. I know I use over $1,000 worth of cosmetics and beauty products per year if I paid full retail price. I added it up and on average I pay around 20% of retail for what I use and sometimes less. I do this by watching out for Beauty Box deals at a site called My Subscription Addiction. It is how I finally got my skin clear after years of trouble with skin problems likely related to my Dad’s exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. With the boxes, I can afford nice products that work.
So encourage your spouse to put together a luxury stash. Set a budget that you can afford. Want to jump-start that? Spend $10-$15 on a beauty sample box and see what she thinks. If your a woman trying to convince a reluctant husband or boyfriend to prep, there are outdoor gear boxes and other nice things you can do to encourage them to have a luxury box. Or maybe just tell them to spend some money on small things to stash back in case times get tough.
Go for it. Prepping doesn’t always have to be about beans, bullets, and bandages, regardless of how important they are when SHTF.
I’m going to be real here. There are times when at night you will find me in a flowery bathrobe, having spa time, and listening to a SHTF School course courtesy of Selco and Toby.
Find out what aspects of prepping most motivate you and allow your significant other enough time to explore different areas of prepping so they can discover what they enjoy and interests them the most.
Everyone has different traits. Some of us have great interest and/or skill in somethings than others. This is a very important concept.
During a long emergency or SHTF, there are many different skills and interests that will hold extreme value. Sometimes it is better to know a little about everything but specialize in one or two areas.
If a person doesn’t do this then they risk spreading themselves too thin and maybe not being that great at any one thing. Someone may discover that they really like cooking, canning, sewing, getting out in the woods and gathering firewood, or any other number of skills. This applies to men and women alike.
Listen to each other.
Being prepared can be hard because regardless of financial resources, there is a lot to think about. Listen to each other’s ideas when it comes to preparedness but at the same time be able to handle a constructive critique of your ideas while offering the same benefit to the other person. I throw all kinds of ideas out there but I know that on further analysis they might be really stupid.
The point is that it takes that to come to the really good stuff sometimes. Learn to not take a critique to heart too much and to not be overly critical when the other person has a mediocre idea. You can offer advice without being incredibly rude or cruel if you take the time. It is far better to say you want to think about something or take a look at some articles or other material than to flat out attack and be rude.
Evaluate the state of your preps together once in a while.
It is important to be on the same page. You should both know what you have on hand in terms of preps and discuss what you want to do in the future or what you want to change. That is basic consideration but at the same time, it is important for the other person to know what they have just in case the other is away.
Would you know what preps you have in your home if your spouse got caught away from home during a disaster that made it take a few days for them to get home?
What if they got trapped somewhere for an extended length of time during a longer event?
I could talk about a lot more on this subject but I think this may be enough to help you get your significant other started if there is any hope at all of them either being tolerant of your preparedness mindset or joining in more enthusiastically to your endeavors.
If you are a single and looking prepper.
First of all, I feel for you. The dating world from an outsider’s perspective seems pretty darn intimidating. Matt and I met when we were 20 and have been together for nearly 16 years now so I am just going on what I see and hear from others that are “out there”. We were friends for a year nearly before we became more.
Be careful how much you reveal to someone on the first few dates but reveal enough to get a sense of who the person is. You don’t have to agree on every little thing but on some of the larger things you probably should. I have heard some preppers say that church is a good place to meet someone.
That may be so for some but at the same time don’t assume that everyone at a church is there for the right reasons. There are good people there for sure but out of 100 people, I bet there is at least one that is probably someone that you don’t want to mess with and is there for the wrong reasons. The same can be said of any group bound together by something they have in common.
I am not trying to bad mouth religion, I am speaking from personal experience. I sat in a church pew with my Dad watching her carry a cross behind the preacher she was having an affair with. Tough stuff. As I said, not everyone is there for the right reasons. Give yourself time and get to know someone and that they can be accepting of your beliefs in faith, prepping, and overall life philosophy.
Meeting people at bars and restaurants doesn’t always yield good results either. I don’t actually know of anyone that met their significant other at a bar or restaurant unless they were both working there.
There are all kinds of groups out there that can help you meet like-minded people. As a prepared person, you might want to join a hiking group or take some classes to learn skills. Give yourself time to meet the right person. It often happens when you least expect it. It sure did for me and 16 years later we are here in our cabin in the hills of Carolina.
Be true to yourself