Top 10 Prepper Excuses and How to Slay Them

Approx Reading Time: 18 minutes

I’m a bit of a people watcher and love to learn what makes them tick. I have a difficult time understanding why everyone doesn’t see the importance of prepping, and how it can make an incredible difference in life today as well as tomorrow.

Why don’t more people prepare for emergencies and disasters? Many people have a list of excuses that stop them from preparing for emergencies. Those excuses include; perfectionism, avoiding responsibility, disbelief, pessimistic attitude, mental exhaustion, time, money, space, knowledge and lack of motivation.

Preparing to meet the challenges in our future makes perfect sense to me. It provides me with a great sense of peace to know that our family is taking steps to conquer the disasters that life throws our way.

We surveyed over 100 people to try to understand why many people don’t prepare to survive known threats. Our hope is that we might be able to help slay those excuses and turn them into productive, useful stories.

Our mission is to increase the number of community-minded preppers who are ready and able to help each other when disaster strikes. Understanding the enemy (excuses) helps us to slay those excuses and get results.

The Top 10 Excuses for Failing to Prepare for Emergencies

It is interesting to note that the majority of people confess that they understand that they really should be a little more prepared for emergencies. These are the 10 most frequently given reasons for not taking the necessary steps to be ready for life’s challenges.

Excuse #10 – Perfectionism

Perfection is a common excuse for not preparing. If you are using perfectionism as an excuse you may say things such as:

  • I am waiting to get enough money to build the storage room of my dreams. I don’t want to put up cheap shelves just to tear them down in a few years.
  • I won’t fill the water barrel until I know how to do it right. Used barrels aren’t good enough for my family. I won’t store water in recycled PETE bottles. I am saving up to purchase a new 250-gallon water storage tank to bury in our backyard. If you can relate to this read How to Store Water for Emergency Preparedness.
  • I am still researching the best option for a water filter. Only the best will do for my family.

“A primary reason people don’t do new things is because they want to be able to do them perfectly–first time. It’s completely irrational, impractical, not workable–and yet, it’s how most people run their lives.”

John-Roger and Peter McWilliams (Do It! Let’s Get Off our Buts)

How to Slay the “Gotta Do It Perfectly” Excuse

Perfection is wonderful if it doesn’t prevent you from getting the job done in a timely manner. It is better to have a used water barrel filled with water than no water stored at all. It is not necessary to read every document written on water filtration before purchasing one so that you make sure you have the ability to filter water if disaster strikes today.

Good enough is perfect is my motto. Jonathan, a civil engineer by trade, does not necessarily agree with me on my motto. His motto is more like if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing right. Together we strike a balance and get the job done.

Excuse #9 – Avoiding Responsibility

There is a growing trend in society where individuals do not feel the need to take responsibility for themselves or for the care of their loved ones. This category of people may express themselves using comments such as:

  • The government will take care of us if anything happens. What do you think FEMA’s is there for?
  • If something bad happens my parents or my neighbors or my church will bail us out and take care of us.
  • I have learned that if I refuse to take responsibility that someone else will and I don’t have to do anything.
  • I don’t think about disasters and economic problems. It is too hard to deal with. If I just block it out, I can allow myself to get distracted and not think about that nagging feeling that I really should prepare.
  • I just avoid taking responsibility for my future. Then I don’t have to do anything. I know it is a lie that I tell myself but it is successful in stopping my progress.
  • I don’t need to prepare. I have my guns and I will take what I want.

How to Slay the “Avoiding Responsibility” Excuse

This is probably the most difficult excuse to slay. I once listened to a city official explain how no one needs to have food and supplies stored. I could not believe that a man with such influence would tell his constituents that they, “only need about 3 days of food and supplies before help will arrive.”

I do not expect anyone else to feed or put a roof over my family. We are responsible to take care of our own needs and be self-reliant to the best of our abilities. Sometimes we all need a little bit of help. That must be the exception and not the norm.

It is physically impossible for our government or church or charitable organizations to have the resources to take care of all of the needs of the citizens of this country. There are too many people and not enough resources. Do the math. We must take responsibility for our own needs and be prepared to help our neighbors.

Excuse #8 – “It” Can’t Happen to Me – Disbelief

It is easy to turn on the news and be emotionally detached as we watch the devastation that occurs in the lives of others. It feels more like a movie than reality.

Even though the chaos in our world is quickly beginning to have some effect on almost everyone, we believe in our heart of hearts that it really can’t happen to us. If it does happen here, it surely can’t happen to me. This is just plain foolishness. We are all at risk for the challenges in life.

“Those who are prepared only have to be right once. Those who are not prepared have to be right everyday of their life.”

Jonathan B. Jones, P.E.

How to Slay the “Disbelief” Excuse

It is interesting to note that these same individuals who say it can’t happen to them will quickly follow up that statement with, “but if it does I want the first bomb to drop on my house and I’ll be gone.”

That doesn’t make any sense. More than likely, not only can “it” happen to you but you will survive and have to deal with the challenge. Why not make it easier on yourself by preparing?

Take some time to talk to real people about their experiences in life. Odds are the majority of people that you talk to will have survived some type of event; economic challenge, earthquake, hurricane, tornado, flooding, war, personal family emergency, health crisis, and the list goes on.

Excuse #7 – Attitude

Attitude can be helpful or hurtful. Are you a pessimist or an optimist? Harboring a negative attitude about preparedness is a dangerous stance to take.

I understand that Doomsday Preppers have stereotyped prepping into a crazy man’s game. But it is not for crazy people. It is for smart, well-grounded, balanced individuals.

Prepping is a life skill that our ancestors have used since the beginning of time. They just called it wisdom, not prepping. Comments from those in this category might include:

  • I won’t ever use it so why should I store hundreds of pounds of grain that will go to waste? My parents stored food and when they died we had to haul it all to the dump. It is a stupid use of resources.
  • I am afraid that my friends will label me as a fanatic if I start prepping.
  • We are all going to die anyway. There is nothing you can do to prevent that so don’t waste your breath. Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

Thomas Jefferson

How to Slay the “Attitude” Excuse

This is another tough one. Change of attitude must come from an internal source. Many times I listen to pessimistic comments about prepping and think, “you can’t really believe that!”

Showing off a seriously bad attitude is an excuse that keeps others from expecting you to do the right thing.

When I see someone who has died with food storage in their basement, I celebrate the fact that they were incredibly blessed and had peace knowing that they were ready if they ever needed it. I may die regardless of how well-prepared I am, but my preps give me a fighting chance of being around to see my grandchildren grow up.

Excuse #6 – Prepping is Psychologically Exhausting

Prepping absolutely can be mentally exhausting. There is much to learn and it is easy to become overwhelmed. This can cause prepper paralysis where you just can’t move forward and make important progress.

We frequently hear our friends say:

  • I am already overwhelmed with daily life. I don’t have the mental ability to even think about prepping.
  • There is just too much to deal when prepping. Buying stuff, learning how to use it, storing it, worrying about if I got the right stuff, or if I missed something.
  • Prepping is just one more thing to think about and to keep me from sleeping at night.

How to Slay the “Psychologically Exhausting” Excuse

Break prepping down into manageable pieces. Just make it one little slice in your pie of life. Use the free action plans at The Provident Prepper – Action Plans.

Take one thing at a time and make slow steady progress. You can choose not to make prepping overwhelming.

Take time to enjoy life. Everything shouldn’t be about prepping. There are many ways to incorporate your favorite hobbies into prepping.

For instance; learning to barbeque in your backyard is a great way to practice and prepare for cooking during a power outage. Sitting around the fireplace or wood-burning stove or a fire pit in your backyard and roasting marshmallows isn’t just for fun. It develops important skills.

“The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”

Chinese proverb

Excuse #5 – No Time

Balancing life and creating time for prepping is a challenge for even the most seasoned prepper. Do you ever find yourself using these excuses?

  • I don’t have time to spend learning everything I might need to know.
  • I am too busy to even think about this much less do it.
  • I’ll get to it later. Right now I have a ball game to watch.
  • It’s just not the right time or season of my life to take time out for prepping.

“Time sneaks up on you like a windshield on a bug.”

John Lithgow

How to Slay the Lack of Time Excuse

It is a great idea to take a few minutes and evaluate exactly how you are spending your time. Life is full of good things to do.

The challenge is to decide what is good, what is better, and what is best. The greatest success comes from focusing your time on what is best.

How are you spending your time? Is there something that you are giving a piece of your time that really doesn’t make the difference in building a better future? Are there any time-wasters that you might be able to replace with a few minutes of prepping time each week?

Excuse #4 – Not Enough Money

Money can be a limiting factor, especially when you are living from paycheck to paycheck. We frequently hear these remarks:

  • I can’t afford to buy food storage. I barely have enough money to survive this week.
  • Prepping costs way too much for my blood.
  • Have you seen how much a water filter costs?
  • Why should I spend money on a pile of useless food and prepper toys when I can take a cruise instead?

“Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.”

Norman Vincent Peale

How to Slay the “Money” Excuse

Prepping doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. I can tell you from my personal life experience of raising 11 children on a single income, that even when resources are limited, you can absolutely prepare with a little creativity.

I don’t think that I could have fed all those children if I didn’t have food storage and learned to use it. Cooking with basic staples is an incredibly healthy and inexpensive lifestyle.

Carefully evaluate your current financial situation. Where are you wasting money? Do you buy a drink or snack every time you fill up at the gas station? Do you go out to eat instead of planning ahead and packing a lunch? Is there any way that you can cut back on non-essential purchases?

Every dollar is valuable. Think about this. One evening out at a restaurant is going to cost a minimum of $20-$50. Instead, eat a sandwich at home and use that money to purchase a couple of 25-pound bags of beans, rice, or some other staple.

The price of one meal could prevent you from starving for an entire month.

Excuse #3 – Limited Space

Prepping requires a healthy supply of food and tools that take up space. This is a valid concern, especially for those living in small apartments and homes with limited storage space. Where can you find room to store the necessary food and important supplies?

How to Slay the “Limited Space” Excuse

The limited space problem can be fixed with creativity and prioritization. Carefully evaluate the potential space that you have to stash supplies. Check out how some of our friends got quite creative using small spaces to store food in the article, Ingenious Places to Store Your Emergency Food Supply.

Next, evaluate your possessions. Are you keeping things that have little or no value compared to your survival food stores? Is it possible to part with a few sentimental space hogs by taking a photo for memory sake and then send it off to a second-hand store or sell it at a yard sale for prepping cash?

The laws of physics must be obeyed and that makes limited space a valid concern. However, you do not have to allow it to be a limiting factor. Get creative and learn to make the best of the space you have to work with.

Excuse #2 – Knowledge

Prepping can seem a bit overwhelming due to the amount of knowledge that you need to accumulate. Some of the most common responses include:

  • Where do I start?
  • I don’t know what to do or how to prepare.
  • Who can I trust? There are too many conflicting voices.
  • I need some handholding or coaching to succeed.

How to Slay the “Knowledge” Excuse

Honestly, that is why Jonathan and I started our blog and YouTube channel. We want to help our friends know how to prepare for the challenges that lie in our future. We have walked the path and have learned valuable lessons and gained a tremendous amount of knowledge. Every day we learn new things, many of them from our students and readers.

We hope that you will join us on our journey and subscribe to our YouTube channel. You can purchase our book, The Provident Prepper: A Common-Sense Guide to Preparing for Emergencies, to help get you started.

It is a great resource but you can also learn so much just by reading our posts and watching our videos. We have created free action plans on each of the important prepping categories that you can get absolutely free here. Money does not have to be a limiting factor.

Acquiring knowledge and experience will give you the wisdom required to face these tough challenges with the physical and mental tools required not only to survive but to thrive. You can do this!

Excuse #1 – Lack of Desire

The number one excuse for failing to prepare is a lack of desire. Prepping is just not a priority and hasn’t made it to the top of a long list of things to do. Some of our students confessed to being too lazy to prepare.

How to Slay the “Lack of Desire” Excuse

Some will try and motivate others to prepare by using fear tactics. We don’t feel that fear is the best reason to prepare. It can be extremely difficult when your spouse resists prepping and you feel strongly that it is the right thing to do. Check out our post or video, Preppers without Partners.

We prepare out of love for our family and because it is the wise course of action to take. I wish that I had a magic bullet to motivate everyone to get a little more prepared for the challenges ahead. I will do everything I can to encourage but ultimately that desire must originate from within the individual.

What’s Your Excuse?

Even the best preppers can identify with some of the excuses we identified. I know that I do. In fact, in some ways, I think that I can identify with using each one of these excuses at one time or another in my life.

Small, steady steps win the race. When you find yourself using excuses, it is important that you change your thought process and turn that excuse into a useful story.

  • Excuses prevent you from taking the needed course of action and solving the problem.
  • A useful story identifies the excuse, evaluates the situation, and refuses to allow the excuse to prevent the problem from being solved.

For example;

The excuse – I don’t have enough space to store a year supply of toilet paper for my family in my apartment.

The useful story – Space is limited in my condominium and I will not let that prevent me from having the supplies I need. I evaluate every option and take advantage of high space over the inside of the bathroom door to stock the toilet paper out of the way.

The excuse – I don’t have money to purchase food storage.

The useful story – I carefully evaluate my budget and discover that by taking my lunch to work every day I can save $30 a week. I use that money to purchase valuable survival staples including; rice, beans, and rolled oats in bulk. By incorporating these inexpensive staples into my diet, I can save even more money to add more variety to my food storage.

What motivates you to prepare yourself and your family?

Take a little bit of time to consider what motivates you to prepare. Are there any excuses that you need to change into useful stories?

Preparing for Tomorrow Makes Perfect Sense

As sure as one day follows another, there will be disasters, emergencies, and challenging times in our future. Taking reasonable steps to prepare for the future will free you from the anxiety and emotional trauma that is experienced by those who choose not to prepare.

Start now to acquire important tools, learn, practice, and experiment – chances are if you don’t do something in the next few days, you will be among those who are distraught and paralyzed by fear. Do something small such as cooking one meal with basic food storage. Small steps get the job done.

We are an example of ordinary people who make preparedness a priority. We have learned a tremendous amount over the years and prepping has been a blessing in our lives.

Use your creativity and get excited about the learning process. The burnt meals and failed ideas have sparked a greater desire in us to succeed. We have learned to love the challenge. The successes have been most sweet and immensely satisfying.

Don’t let your excuses be your limiting factor. Turn those excuses into useful stories and solve the problem so that you can succeed. We challenge you to do something NOW!

Thanks for being part of the solution!

Jonathan and Kylene Jones


Kylene Jones is a blogger, content creator, published author, motivational speaker, homesteader, prepper, mother, and grandmother. She practices self-reliance, provident living, and emergency preparedness in her everyday life. She loves working with her husband, Jonathan, and is committed to helping our community be prepared to thrive during the challenges that lie in our future.