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Are you hardcore about emergency preparedness, while your friends and family are less so? Have you noticed them raising their eyebrows when they come to visit and see yet another pallet of supplies in your garage? Of course, to folks who don’t prepare for emergencies at all, a 72-hour bag might seem extreme. But how do you know if your prepping is really becoming a problem? I’ll help you identify some red flags that indicate it might be time to dial back your prepping practices a bit.

Mad Max’s Car Is In Your Driveway
A brush bar on a pickup truck is one thing, but a brush bar with spikes mounted on the front bumper of a black V8 Ford Falcon Interceptor is another thing altogether. If your sweet ride looks more like an icon of Outback anarchy, then you might be taking things a little too far.

For a more realistic approach to an apocalypse-proof vehicle, consider something that burns diesel and is modified to run on alternative fuels like vegetable oil. Other practical preps would be to store tools, supplies, a first aid kit, and repair items in any vehicle, regardless of its color or mounted weaponry.

There’s a Costco In Your Basement
If your neighbor is more likely to come to your door for a spare ham than a spare cup of sugar, then you’ve gone too far and too many people know about your stockpile. Food hoarding can be a real problem for some folks, and is no laughing matter. But there is a gray area between sensible food storage and hoarding tendencies.

I would say that food stores so large they cannot be rotated or properly cared for are in need of reassessment. If you have so much food that it will spoil before you can get to it, then you have too much. It’s time to make a donation to your local food cupboard.

Prepping Has Left You Broke
Got plenty of MRE’s, but nothing in your bank account? If you enjoy prepping, you’re going to spend money on it. But when you are broke or going into debt over it, then you’ve crossed the line. I know it’s fun to think about maxing out your credit cards on high-end gear and supplies, but you shouldn’t be so sure the world will end and the bill won’t come due. You can only keep the bill collectors at bay for so long.

Your Love Life Has Died
When you scare off every date by offering to take them to your secret bunker facility, you might need to rethink your dating game. Now I’m not nay-saying the bunker part, because that would be cool to have, but I am urging you to dial back your preparedness thinking in favor of having a real life.

If you stuff your pockets with sugar packets at the restaurant and say things like, “they’ll be worth their weight in gold soon,” then don’t be surprised when your date excuses herself and climbs out the ladies room window.

Prepping is a sensible thing…when done sensibly. You should be ready for change and hardships at the drop of a hat, but you shouldn’t stop living your life to the fullest because you’re scared of potential threats that might never ever happen. The right kind of prepper, in my humble opinion, is someone who is prepared for the most likely emergencies in his or her area. Prep hard, play hard, and hope to survive for a long, long time.