Prepping on the Down-Low: How To Justify Your Prepping Habit to Family Members

If the world was a reasonable and informed place, none of us would have to hide our prepping for emergencies.  There are many situations that require us to be secretive about our plans, not the least of which is OPSEC (Operational Security). However the trickiest situation of all is when we have to hide your preparedness endeavors from loved ones, whether they are friends, family members, or most difficult of all, spouses.

For some folks, getting their partner on board with prepping may be a long-term effort.  Some people simply don’t want to hear or think about the possibility of a SHTF event, others scoff at being paranoid or some do not grasp the concept that one day the grocery store shelves may be empty, never to be refilled again.

Sometimes the concept of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is wiser than trying to persuade the reluctant spouse that the world is going to end, however if you’re living in the same home, hiding your preparedness items could be very difficult.

Using Frugality and Hyperinflation to Sell Your Point

If this is the situation you find yourself in, prepping can become very difficult.  Arguments over money are one of the biggest challenges.  How can you satisfactorily explain to an uninterested partner that you just bought 75 cans of mixed vegetables?  A few suggestions:

  • Go with the money-saving aspect.  Buying 75 cans of mixed vegetables is generally $75, but today the cans were half price, which saved you $37.50.  (Plus you won’t have to buy mixed vegetables for a year).
  • Point out the current levels of inflation – prices are only going up.  What you buy at today’s prices may hold you through this inflationary cycle until costs go back to normal.
  • Explain to your partner that you’ve begun buying in bulk so that you can go to the store less frequently – every trip to the store (at least for me!) involves a few non-anticipated expenditures – shopping only once per month can really help you save money.

Another frequent issue is the change in the types of food that you purchase.  Suddenly, you may have gone from a deep freezer full of frozen dinners, and a refrigerator full of perishable meats and vegetables to a plethora of canned and dried goods.  Many partners might question why you no longer buy “fresh” items.

  • If you’ve recently had a major power outage due to a storm, you can point to the amount of food that was lost during that time – we all want to avoid waste in this economy.
  • Storage space can be claimed as a factor, especially if your freezer is already full.

Help Them See the Importance of “Just-In-Case” Supplies

Many of us want to also prep for our partners to be sure that they are well taken care of in the event that they are away from home when disaster strikes. This becomes exponentially more difficult if they are not on-board with prepping.  A few things you can do are:

  • Load the trunk of the car with a “get-home” bag (in case of a winter storm, of course!)
  • Stock or send food for his or her work desk. Non-perishable snacks and foods like granola bars and applesauce cups and water bottles.
  • That reminds me, be sure to keep a full case of water in the trunk of the vehicle if weather allows
  • Place a comfortable “spare pair” of shoes in the trunk, just in case he or she has a shoe mishap while at work or in case they’d like to start walking for fitness at lunch.

To introduce the concept of non-food prepping items, sometimes other justifications need to be provided to the spouse.

  • Get bicycles for the entire family for a healthy activity you can do together
  • Store extra water just so you don’t have to go refill your bottles for the water cooler so frequently
  • Add to the home’s petty cash because sometimes on the weekend the ATM runs out of money
  • Purchase extra health and beauty items because they are on sale

Sometimes when you gently put these plans into place your prepping mentality will begin to rub off on your spouse.  The first time the power goes out and you demonstrate your preparedness with a meal prepared sans electricity, candles and kerosene lamps for a cozy glow and a heat source to keep you warm, the reluctant prepper may begin to see the wisdom of your ways.


The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published August 23rd, 2013
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19 Responses to Prepping on the Down-Low: How To Justify Your Prepping Habit to Family Members

  1. Robert Contreras says:

    My girlfriend kinda doesn’t understand why I began to prep but she let’s me play with the idea of spending more money on items. Right now I am ALLOWED 10-20 bucks every 2 weeks to buy prep items. What I like to do is keep my son’s portable DVD player fully charged before bad weather hits, NOT horrible weather but a good rain. We also shop at Walmart’s 5 dollar DVD bin. My girlfriend and I usually get 2-3 movies that neither of us has seen before and we don’t open them. When the lights eventually go out we all sit around this little DVD player with a few glow sticks and enjoy time with each other and it helps my son from freaking out. Also I bought him a cheap but good little flash light that he ONLY gets to use when the power goes out. It’s sort of his security blanket light for him. 

  2. Pat says:

    If you have to hide this sort of thing from your spouse, you have bigger problems than TSHTF.

  3. Tracy says:

    No kidding, Pat! That spouse is not a good prep item for TSHTF.

  4. Tracy says:

    Actually, I have a teenaged daughter who does not “get it” and I think blabs to her friends.

    • Tracy,

      We were worried about that problem too, so we told our kids it was our Hurricane supplies. After a while, they never brought it up and didn’t tell their friends about it either.

  5. Anne Ollamha says:

    My hubby is not at all on board with “prepping”.  He thinks preppers are right up there with tinfoil hats and conspiracy theories.  So when he asks why I bought so many cases of canned tomatoes, I explain to him that I would rather pay a little bit for the cans now instead of waiting until I have run out and have to pay full price.  He sees me as been “cheap”.  
    On the other hand, being “cheap” means I have had money to get him some cool “presents”.  Camping gear!  A new fishing rod! Accessories for his gun!  So, although he’s not on board with the idea of prepping, he sure loves all that “manly” gear his wifey gets him.  Bought “him” a smoker so he could smoke the fish he caught and smoked chicken is one of his favorite things.  I encourage him to hunt, and praise him for every morsel he brings home.  But that’s not prepping.  That’s manly pursuits!
    We have an outdoor cooking area that can be used even in winter. But it’s not for prepping (wink wink nudge nudge).  It’s because we love food cooked over the fire!  Tastes better!  And only wimps let a little snow deprive them of BBQ!
    It’s all in the presentation.  No spouse is going to argue that it’s a bad idea to save money.  Or complain that you are saving that money so that a beloved hobby can be pursued more fully.  Is it manipulation?  Maybe, but if it saves his life someday, it’s worth doing.

  6. Cindi says:

    While my family is on board… my neighbors are not. We made a few comments and they just started rolling their eyes and keep spending their money on vacations and the latest iphones.
    Take some time NOW to find out if YOUR neighbors are preparing or sheeple. It’s good to know ahead of time that I needed to keep my preps quiet.
    I finally found a company that offers an OPSEC way to get our food storage. A years worth of food all stacked up on a pallet and wrapped in black plastic. It’s called the CUBE. You can find it at on the special deals page. Don’t know how to cook with food storage? They have some good videos that shows you several recipes. It’s easier than I thought it would be to be prepared, you just have to know where to look. We had it delivered while the neighbors were on summer vacation. They never even know what we have and frankly… I don’t think we be willing to share. After all, they did not invite us to go to the Bahamas with them, nor on their ski trip last winter.

    • says:

      We’ve tried Thrive.  Too salty, too many chemicals, no flavor and no meat! 
      I’ll stick to MH & PP! has awesome deals and food that you can actually EAT!
      I also buy wheat, oats, sugar & the like in 50# bags w/$5 shipping!

  7. Vermonter says:

    I’m glad to hear I’m not the only woman who is prepping and has a hard time getting her partner on board!  I’ve been living with my boyfriend almost five years now, and started prepping little by little about two years ago.  He understands prepping to a certain extent (storms, power outages, even job loss), but when I take it further (possible economic collapse, pandemic, EMP), I lose him, so I don’t talk about it, I just do it.  We have about a month’s worth of food and supplies, but I wish I could increase that without him worrying that I’m loony.  Sigh…
    By the way, Tess, when are you going to turn your 52 weeks series into a book?  Thank you for your wonderful website.  Definitely one of the most down to earth, comprehensive prepping websites out there.

    • @ Vermonter,

      Thanks for you comment. I have some plans for turning 52-weeks to preparedness into something. So… stay tuned. 🙂


      • says:

        I have a spreadsheet broken down into weeks and months for prepping.  Very handy.

    • says:

      Watch Doomsday Preppers. One gal hides food in the bathroom door!  If you want you can get imaginative.  She even hides cans behind books on shelf, keeps boxes of stuff under a table cloth behind couch against wall so it looks like a small table. 
      Go to preppers and you can watch whole episodes.  They’re in Helena, MT.

    • Nicole says:

      Nice to know that there is another Vermonter out there with a similar mind set! I’m lucky to say that my husband is on board, but our family and neighbors are not. Only 2 or 3 of our close friends know our intentions, everyone else that sees our preps, we just tell them it’s for camping, or in case the power goes out. That’s not uncommon during the winter in Vermont! The best case scenario is that we all prep, and nothing happens. But it seems that things are not likely to go that way..

  8. pat says:

    Thanks everyone for the helpful info. Knowing im not alone with prepping, and ways to answer certain questions !!

  9. The bottom line is you need to get your spouse on board. Covert hoarding will only work so well and, when discovered, lead to fighting and mistrust. Not healthy for a relationship.
    What you should try is watching movies like “The Road” or TV shows like “Jericho” or “Revolution.” Find any media sources, fiction or non-fiction, that helps show the necessity of preparing and the dire consequences of not doing so. As bad as these storms have been, at least some good may come of them as more people are prepping.

    • james says:

      You do realize, don’t you, that those movies & tv shows are TPTB’s way of unobtrusively introducing the concepts and ideas of prepping for civilization breakdown into the simple minds of the sheeple, and making it seem like an OK thing to do What was definitely tin foil hat territory 5 years ago is somewhat mainstream now. when it’s a tv show on NatGeo, it’s not a good sign for the future…

  10. andrew halder says:

    If your spouse is not real impressed with prepping, here is a nice non-government site for basic prepping depending upon your location in the states.  Also, here is a great government website for kids, spouses, or other family members.
     Basically, these sites can show your non prepping family that you are not a ‘nut’, ‘conspiracy theorist’, etc.  The old adage, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ certainly pertains to us now more than ever.

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