Why Preppers Should Spend More Time Learning (and Less Time Shopping)

Why Preppers Should Spend More Time Learning (and Less Time Shopping) | Why-preppers-should-spend-more-time-learning | Preparedness\Survival
Hey – you, with the shovel.  Stop building that bunker. I want to ask you a question. Also, you – the folks with the shopping cart full of shelf-stable food. Hold on a minute.
How much time do you spend learning?
And by learning, I don’t mean some required on-the-job training or skimming over an article here and there. I mean a time that you set aside on a regular basis, whether it is weekly or daily, to focus all of your attention on something you need to learn.
Many people, once they get out of school, don’t spend a lot of time in study. As far as actual, scheduled study time, it’s gone along with their childhoods once they get their degree or diploma. But recently, when I asked the community what you felt you should focus on to further your preparedness efforts, a huge portion of you said, “Skills and Information.”
Becoming adept or knowledgeable is not going to magically happen without some concentrated effort and some resources. Just owning some books on a topic isn’t enough. You have to delve into it deeply and try it out if you want to be able to depend on that skill or knowledge during a difficult situation.
And best of all, it can never be taken away from you. No government officials doing so “for the greater good.” No jerk whose entire survival plan revolves around taking what you stored. No natural disaster that destroys your homes, your preps, and all your worldly possessions. In a long-term scenario or exteme situation, the only way to be truly prepared is to be able to independently provide for your own needs, without relying on the government, the stores, or the supply chain.
Once you’ve learned something – really learned it and put it into practice – it’s yours forever.
If you’re on a budget, you’re in luck. It often costs very little to obtain the knowledge. Between books, local classes, and online courses, you can get a ton of information and practical steps to take for a very nominal fee. And, sometimes, it’s even free. Of course you need supplies, but stop shopping for a little while and focus on increasing your knowledge. Bonus: Your future purchases will be made with more discretion due to your new information.
But it won’t happen without some determination and some time blocked off specifically for that purpose. You have to learn like your life depends on it.
Because, one day, it could.
First, I’ll provide some of my favorite resources and then I’ll tell you my secrets for making learning a priority.

Build your library

Most of the time, people in the preparedness world like to have hard copies of important information. This way, if the power goes out and you can’t access the internet or recharge your Kindle, you still have access to vital advice.

Some of these books are for just such an event, while others are guides to building your self-reliance skills.  Commit to picking up a good book each pay period until you have a library to reference during any type of scenario. But don’t just buy it and stick it on a shelf. Read that book and put some of the ideas into action. You may not have time to sit down and read 200 pages in the midst of a crisis, right?

My own books are indicated with a star. *

Be sure to check out used bookstores, libraries, and garage sales, too. Look for books that teach self-reliant skills like sewing, gardening, animal husbandry, carpentry, repair manuals, scratch cooking, and plant identification. You can often pick these up for pennies, and older books don’t rely on expensive new technology or tools for doing these tasks.

Bookmark some websites

The internet is a wonderful place, and best of all, a lot of this knowledge can be found for FREE! The more you know about crisis situations, the more ready you will be to face them.

Some sites are friendlier to beginners than others, so if you stumble upon a forum where people seem less than enthusiastic about helping people who are just starting out, don’t let it get you down. Move on and find a site that makes you feel comfortable.  If you see them utter the words, “If you aren’t already prepared, it’s too late,” run, don’t walk, away from them. No one needs that kind of doom and gloom. It’s stressful, unhelpful, and honestly, kind of mean. Plus, I firmly believe it’s never too late as long as you just get started.

To get the most out of a website, I strongly recommend subscribing to the newsletter. For example, I provide information to subscribers that isn’t available on my website, plus I share a lot of personal stories about how preparedness and frugality have helped our family live a comfortable and secure lifestyle. As well, when I find a really cool offer or discount, I can let you know about it ASAP. (You can subscribe to it here and get a free bundle of PDFs of the information readers have found to be the most helpful and inspiring over the years.)

Following are some of my favorite sites, and the link will take you to a good starting point on these sites. In no particular order:

Bookmark these, subscribe to the newsletters, and learn for free!

7 Ways I Make Learning a Priority

You may notice that there are a couple of days per week on which I don’t usually post articles or send newsletters. That’s because, on at least one of them, I learn. I set aside the entire span of my workday for it, too. I don’t mess around. Here’s what my study schedule looks like:
  1. I block off time for it. I have “work hours” even though I’m self-employed because I find it makes me more productive. I get up early, feed animals, grab some coffee, and get to work on the things that require the most concentration. Then, by the time my daughter is up and over her morning muteness, I’m finished with the things that require my undivided attention. I treat Learning Day exactly the same as any other work day.
  2. I catch up on newsletters.  I don’t usually take the time to read newsletters the day they come (there are a couple that are so good I have to, but mostly, I save them in a file on my email. Then, I sit down with my coffee and read them all.
  3. I keep a link document. As you can imagine, with the amount of research I do, I read many articles per week. However, there are dozens more I want to read but just don’t have time at the moment. Instead of losing them to the vagaries of the internet, I have a document to which I paste links all week long so that when I have time, I can sit down and read the articles. Once I’ve read them, I delete them from my list.
  4. I take online courses. Man, I love the internet. I can learn about things that would have cost thousands of dollars and time in a classroom before. Almost everything I learned about homesteading or running an easy-to-use website originated from an online course. On my designated learning day, I catch up with any webinars or assignments.
  5. I listen to podcasts or videos. If the information is presented in a format that I can listen to, I generally do that while I’m doing laundry or working in the kitchen. Those links go into my link document too.
  6. I take notes.  I keep two learning journals. One is for preparedness/homesteading information and the other is for website and business-related stuff. I take notes of the things that inspire me or seem the most applicable to my situation.
  7. I implement what I’ve learned. At the end of my learning session, I make a plan to implement the things I’ve learned. Maybe I add a button to my website that makes it easy for folks to print off the information. Perhaps I figured out a good way to plant a certain vegetable, so I order the seeds. You get the idea.
Now, you may not have an entire day to spare but I’ll bet you could take a few hours away from other activities, right? Having the information at hand can help, but often, in a crisis, seconds count and you won’t want to waste that time looking things up in a book.

Finally, you have to actually do stuff.

You can read and listen to podcasts until the cows come home, but until you actually put what you’ve learned into practice, it will be of as much use to you as the difference between an isosceles triangle and a scalene one – something you learned but never applied.
  • Take a prepping course and actually follow the to-do lists and do the challenges – there is a section each week of low-cost tasks and the challenges don’t cost a penny.
  • Take the master gardening class, make a plan, and produce the best garden ever.
  • Go take that First Aid course and brush up on your skills regularly.
  • Learn 5 ways to light a fire without matches and actually practice until it becomes easy.
  • Involve the family – you can make this fun!

Become a prepared, skillful person takes time. If you’re really serious about it, you’re going to have to commit to more than just stashing away some buckets.

Make learning a priority. It’s the least expensive but most important prep you’ll ever make.


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About The Author

Daisy Luther lives on a small organic homestead in Northern California. She is the author of The Organic Canner, The Pantry Primer: A Prepper's Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and The Prepper's Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health and preparedness, and offers a path of rational anarchy against a system that will leave us broke, unhealthy, and enslaved if we comply. Daisy's articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

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