Being a prepper is no easy task. It requires careful planning as well as the ability to think ahead and evaluate potential risks.
Yet, it’s also pretty much guaranteed that you’ll bump your head or run into some snags along the way.
While it’s important to make sure that you have enough food, water, and supplies to last you through an emergency, some mistakes are so easy to miss that they can foil the plans of even the most skilled preppers.
In this article, we will discuss some common mistakes that preppers make that can be valuable experiences to learn from.
Over-Stockpiling Food You Don’t Really Like
Have you ever made a grocery run and stocked up on too much food you don’t really like?
You probably know how great beets are for you so it seems like a no-brainer when you see canned beets are on sale and decide to stock up. However, when it comes time to eat them, they just don’t seem as good as they did in the store!
Related: 23 Overlooked Survival Foods You Need To Add To Your Pantry
This is an all-too-common prepper problem that many of us have probably faced at one time or another.
Fortunately, there are some simple tips to help you make the most of your food purchases, even if it is something that isn’t necessarily your favorite.
- Add small amounts of surplus food to foods you enjoy. Hide the offending foods in things like meatloaf, salads, casseroles, etc.
- Rotate your stockpile – That way, you never have cans that are too old in your supply. That 10-year-old can of carrots that’s starting to bulge a bit is probably not going to help you when SHTF.
- Trade cans with other preppers.
- Eat them anyway – at least as much as you can stomach it – all food is tasty food when you’re hungry enough! Still, food fatigue is very real, so be sure you’re getting enough variety in your diet to stay healthy.
- Find a way to cook the food to make it palatable. (use spices, honey, salt, or whatever you need to make it taste good)
Bugs In Your Flour And Other Grains
Storing grains like flour can be a tricky thing. When you get bugs in your flour, improper storage techniques are the usual culprit. Still, even if you store everything properly and up to code, there is still a chance you could open the bag to a bug-filled surprise.
This is because bugs can lay bugs in flour pretty often, and it can happen before your flour is even processed and packaged for sale.
This isn’t just a problem unique to flour. Most dried foods are breeding grounds for moth larvae, mealworms, aphids, and other usually harmless insects.
In fact, it’s so common that the FDA allows up to a certain small percentage of insect parts to be sold in most of our food.
Still, tiny insect parts are one thing… Live bugs, on the other hand, are an entirely different problem. So, what can you do? Do you need to throw the whole bag away?
Most preppers would say it depends on the bug or pest. However, most of the time when you get a bag of flour with a few bugs in it, the bugs aren’t likely to be poisonous or dangerous. If you find yourself in a similar situation, you have a few options:
⇒ Why You Should Freeze Flour Before Storing It
- Sift out the bugs then use the flour as you normally would.
- Add bay leaves, cloves, or cedarwood to your bag, this will kill the bugs or prompt them to evacuate your flour bag.
- Conduct routine inspections of your food stockpile. Check your food storage – like mylar bags and airtight containers – for holes, leaks, or cracks.
- Eat it anyway… Desperate times call for desperate measures, right?
- Diatomaceous earth can dry out and kill pests while protecting grains like flour, rice, pasta, and more. Plus, it keeps the moisture content down!
Stocked Up On Gear Right Before A Big Drop In Price
This is a common mistake almost everyone experiences at one time or another.
Nothing is worse than spending a considerable amount on new supplies or survival gear only to find the price dropped the next day, or you found it cheaper somewhere else.
What can you do in this situation? Depending on the items in question, it may be worth your time and effort to try to repurchase the item at the newly discounted price.
If this is the case, you might have a few options to get the most out of your purchase.
- Cut your losses and chalk it up to bad timing and luck. Try independent research to anticipate price drops in the future.
- Go back to the store and ask if it’s possible to do a retroactive price match on the purchase if within the timeframe for returns. However, depending on the store, don’t be surprised if there’s some policy prohibiting this option.
- Return the goods for a refund if possible and repurchase them, either at the same store or at a neighboring location.
Forgetting To Manage Supply Inventory
For preppers, one of the most important aspects of being prepared is having a well-managed supply inventory.
Whether you keep a spreadsheet, a physical list, or a combination of these, organizing and maintaining your food, gear, and supplies is essential for any prepper.
Not only will keeping inventory help you to rotate food and gear so that they don’t become unusable when you really need them, but it can also help you to identify which items are running low and need to be restocked or fixed.
Related: 6 Places You Can Go Dumpster Diving For Your Prepper Stockpile
Failing to manage your supply inventory can lead to wasted resources, time, and money. To ensure you get the most out of your supplies with zero waste, there are a few habits you can adopt. These tips can help you avoid this common prepper mistake.
- Take inventory of your supply, gear, and food stock on a regular basis. Most people do this on a seasonal basis as the need for supplies can change depending on the season.
- When taking inventory, check for signs of moisture, pests, spills, and other vulnerabilities.
- When tracking your food supply, take notes about the types of food you’ve eaten the most of, and what ends up staying on the shelf. This can help you be aware of what you consume and what you need to keep an eye on in the future.
- After you use any of your supplies, write down how much is left, even if you have a backup. You don’t want to be in a situation where you think you have something only to find out you only have less than you need.
- Create a system of organization – whether that’s a spreadsheet or a notepad for gear, or a stackable cans system with the dates clearly marked for cans – so you know what needs to be used, how often you use it, and what you need to stock up on in the future.
- Put new cans and items in the back of your stockpile. Since you’re more likely to use the ones in the front, it can help you stay organized, use what you have, and avoid unwelcome surprises.
From pests invading the flour stash or buying way too much of one food type to buying cheap gear or letting fear and panic get the best of you – new and experienced preppers alike are sure to make their fair share of mistakes.
While this list can’t possibly cover all of the myriad mistakes preppers might make, using the tips above can help you make the most out of your time and supplies to help be better prepared when it really counts.
What common prepper mistakes are you glad you’ve made or learned from?
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