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By June 20, 2012 Read More →

Dealing with Reluctant Family

If I had a nickel for every time I saw a forum post or received an email from someone who has been fighting tooth and nail with family members about prepping…well I’d have an awful lot of nickels.  Seems like many if not most preppers have been through that particular gauntlet at least a time or two.

Make no mistake, trying to prep for a family without support can be a very daunting task.  Couple that with outright ridicule and you feel as though it is impossible.  You know prepping is the smart thing to do, but trying to convince loved ones of that just seems like a losing battle sometimes.  This creates a lot of stress and discord, which helps no one.

Let’s look at some ways to try and get them on your side.

First, lay off the conspiracy theories and stop hammering on your family about potential major disasters like the Yellowstone Caldera blowing, terrorists using EMP devices, pandemics, or total economic collapse.  You’re not going to get very far discussing the New World Order or how Executive Orders are being passed to facilitate a martial law scenario.  Believe them if you want, I’m not telling you otherwise.  What I am saying though, is by using those as your primary arguments for prepping, you’re always going to be fighting a losing battle.

Instead, talk about more mundane situations that would require the use of preps.  A couple years back, there was a major blizzard that hit the upper Midwest.  A couple hundred cars were stranded overnight on interstate highways.  Those people were just plain stuck until the snow stopped falling and plows could get to them.  Having a kit in the back seat in a situation like that would make things at least a little more comfortable.  A couple years before that, an ice storm knocked out power for weeks in some parts of the Midwest.  Not a day or two, but weeks!  No one was going anywhere any time soon.  Can’t imagine how many people were running out of food and prescription meds before order was restored.  How about potential unemployment?  In this day and age, very few jobs are truly secure.  If you or your spouse were to suddenly find themselves downsized, having food stored can provide a cushion against having to rely on unemployment compensation.

By concentrating on these much more likely scenarios, you’ll sound much more reasonable than someone who instead argues the lizard people from Alpha Centauri have replaced all our leaders with replicants.

For those spouses who are concerned about the cost of prepping, talk about how by purchasing extra food now, you’ll eat tomorrow at today’s prices.  For many families, the grocery bill is a large part of their overall budget and anything that can be done to cut it down will be appreciated.  Show your spouse how much prices have gone up in the last few years, even as package sizes have shrunk.  This type of argument can go a long way with the nickel-and-dimers out there.

Few of us would consider driving a vehicle without having it insured.  I’d say almost all of us have some form of homeowner or renter insurance as well, right?  Insurance is one of those very few things we buy and pray we never have to use.  Heck, there are many times we’ll go to extreme lengths just to not use it.  Ever been in a small fender-bender accident?  Did you or the other person make an offer to just pay for the damage out of pocket, rather than have to report the claim and incur raised rates?  Think about it — you spend hundreds of dollars a year on automobile insurance and yet you’ll gladly pay another couple hundred bucks just so you don’t have to use it.  Prepping is just like insurance in that way.  We spend quite a bit of money and hope we’ll never have to really rely on our preps.  Sure, we’ll rotate our food storage so in that way, we’re using our preps.  But most of us fervently pray we will never be in a position where we’ll truly need those preps.  Prepping is nothing more than buying an insurance policy against future emergencies.

If all else fails and your family just refuses to “see the light,” you may just have to go it alone.  At least until something does happen that illustrates you were right all along.  Until that happens though, you face an uphill battle.  Not insurmountable by any means, but difficult just the same.  If funds are the issue, meaning your spouse is the breadwinner and is in charge of most of the finances for the home, maybe look into part-time work for yourself.  Sure, flipping burgers is no one’s dream job but it can bring in a decent income stream you could devote to your “hobby.”  Learn to pinch dimes until they whimper and squeak.  Use coupons religiously, shop the sale ads, visit rummage sales regularly.  If you’re only given a certain amount to spend each month on food, learn to make it stretch as far as you can.

Whatever you do though, don’t give up.  Keep working at your preps as best you can.  Yes, one person can only do so much.  But, even one person’s efforts can provide considerably more than the efforts of no one.

Jim Cobb writes as The Frugal Prepper in every issue of Survivalist Magazine. His primary website is and he also blogs daily for His new book, Prepper’s Home Defense, is available for pre-order and will be out in October, 2012, from Ulysses Press.

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5 Comments on "Dealing with Reluctant Family"

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  1. It’s just like saving $$ for the future. People either understand and do it or they choose not to. Only until “something happens” like you say will they choose to operate differently and by then it’s usually too late.

  2. joan+21+ says:

    My husband began being comfortable with my prepping by calling it my “hobby”. Now he is really getting into it by calling it “insurance”.

  3. Ron says:

    I use the “Add it up” conversation. Doesn’t always work, but it does at least make many people think again about what you are doing and why.
      Kinda goes like this… “Let’s say the odds of a solar flare hitting us and knocking out all power for years is 10,000 to one. Okay, not bad. Now add to that the possibility of a tornado knocking out power for a matter of weeks. Still not bad odds. Now add an ice storm, how about terrorist attack, government collapse, personal job loss, hyper inflation, personal medical emergency, death of the main family breadwinner? What do you think the odds are that none of those things, or other unknowns, will ever happen to you or your family? The odds are now stacked against you, and in favor of being prepared to face at least one of these personal disasters. And this is what I am working towards. Personal security in an uncertain future.”
      Like I said, it has worked for me. Other times it hasn’t. But you just can’t get through to people that don’t want their bubble to burst.

    • Flying Haggis says:

      Living on my own now since my family has all grown up and left home , sadly they did not take dads advice about putting some tins of food away for a rainy day

      what I have reverted to is two things

      I made a 72 hour bag for my kids and their family which I know the have dipped into when their pennies have ran low and not had money to buy things etc ( but to date this has still not given the incentive to put things away ) 

      the second thing I do is have 2 boxes one on view which when they visit can see the food I have for them post event with about a weeks worth of food for them , what they dont see are the 2nd and (other ) boxes that have many many weeks worth of food and items for them 

      I would be too hard for me to turn round and say to my kids your on your own because you didnt put things away for a “rainy day ” thats just not in me ,to do that , I could not let my son’s down in a crisis as I know from past experiences that they have not let me down in a crisis

      getting your love ones to prepare can be an uphill battle but there are ways and means of compensating for their lack of preparedness


  4. George Hockhousen says:

    Absolutely great article. I am going to forward it to my wife, who, while not hostile to my prepping, isn’t exactly on board with it either.