If you have been preparing for any length of time, you have most likely come across the prepper saying, “Buy Once, Cry Once.”
What this basically means is, “Don’t be cheap with your preps!”
Buying wisely isn’t only about saving money, though that could be a factor in your decision. Primarily, it means being smart when buying and buying the best quality that fits your budget. Remember, your preparedness gear is what you’re going to be using to survive with. You don’t want to be in a survival situation and have your gear start failing.
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It also means that you shouldn’t go into debt to buy preparedness gear or use it as an excuse to buy that Remington 300 H&H Magnum rifle, when all you really need is a .22LR rifle. It can be a challenge to buy quality items when you’re on a budget, but it’s important that you don’t buy something cheap and think that it’s better than nothing.
In fact, the “better than nothing” stuff is usually much worse than having nothing. Storing poor quality items can lead to a false sense of security, and finding this out at the point when you need to rely on these things is not the best way to learn. At least when you have nothing, you know that it’s a shortcoming and will compensate for it.
The equipment you buy needs to be rugged and capable of withstanding hard, daily use. If you’re afraid to use it now or tend to “baby” it, you really should ask yourself why you have it.
One clue you might have that you bought inferior equipment is the hesitation to actually use it. If you find yourself saying something like, “I don’t want to use it because I’m saving it for a real emergency,” then you may have a problem.
Rugged, high-quality gear can withstand daily use. For example, if you’re afraid to use your “survival knife” to chop firewood because you’re afraid you’ll dull it or mar the finish, you have the wrong knife. Survival and preparedness gear should be able to be used, and in some cases abused, without the fear of ruining it.
Rob Hanus is the author of “The Preparedness Capability Checklist: A Planning and Evaluation Tool for Becoming More Self-Reliant,” an easy-to-read book that offers the absolute best method for intelligent and deliberate prepping. Rob is also host of the Preparedness Podcast.
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Marjory Wildcraft is the founder of The Grow Network, which is a community of people focused on modern self-sufficient living. She has been featured by National Geographic as an expert in off-grid living, she hosted the Mother Earth News Online Homesteading Summit, and she is listed in Who’s Who in America for having inspired hundreds of thousands of backyard gardens. Marjory was the focus of an article that won Reuter’s Food Sustainability Media Award, and she recently authored The Grow System: The Essential Guide to Modern Self-Sufficient Living—From Growing Food to Making Medicine.
Very practical advice, and very affirming… these are things that we know in our subconscious, but often we want to “save money” instead of buying quality. Buy quality once, or buy a new tool every couple years. Quality items are worth the investment upfront. Knowledge is just knowing the facts; wisdom is applying that knowledge in such situations. Thanks for this reminder!
Hi Happy Trails, glad you liked it. I recall a passsage from the book “When Money Dies” which is about the hyper-inflation in Weimer Germany in the 1920’s. There was a section that talked about how people preferred to buy three cheap pairs of shoes rather than one good set. I was so surprised at how impractical it is to be surrounded by junk… yet that seemed to be what people did in an emergency. We do tend to get crazy with abrupt change. So I am particularly grateful for this post to remind us all to stay sane, and buy the best quality you can.