Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Room 101. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.

Everyone loves a big blockbuster movie and fortunately for the prepping community there is no shortage of thrilling, amazing, heart-pounding movies featuring natural disaster, TEOTWAWKI, and survival themes.  Seriously, did you see “The Revenant” (2015)?  That bear attack on the big screen was jaw-dropping.  Yes, the saga of one man alone against the dual cruelty of nature and of his companions is based on a true story.

And as much as we all enjoy “The Walking Dead”, real life just isn’t that exciting/scary for most of us–fortunately!   It’s far more likely to encounter a little emergency than a major movie-style event.  So what to do with the big pile of food, gear, etc. that represents an investment of time, money, and storage space?  Read on for three areas that prepping can pay off right now or in the very near future.

1.  The Basics:  Food, Shelter, etc.

OK, I am assuming that everyone reading this has already read a whole bunch of articles and lists and has started the prepping journey, that is, somewhere in the process of making a plan for your personal/family situation and stocking inventory.  So my goal is not repeat a lot of info that everybody already knows, but to give a fresh perspective on the prepping endeavor.

Prepping has been part of history for a lot longer than it hasn’t.  My grandparents who went through the Depression kept a collection of canned food in an unused bedroom upstairs.  As a kid I couldn’t figure that out but it sure makes sense to everyone reading this.  Putting up food for winter is part of our pioneer and farming heritage.   It’s only recently that people have been lulled into on-demand thinking.  So what happens if you or someone in your family has an accident or surgery?  You might not have time or inclination to cook, or even go grocery shopping.  Give yourself permission to use some of your supplies of frozen and canned foods.  They need to be rotated anyway, right?  Know of a neighbor who’s going through a rough patch?  A basket or bag of non-perishable foods even if left anonymously could be appreciated more than you know.  When donating food or clothing to a food pantry or homeless shelter,  go ahead and keep a record in case it can save on your taxes.

Give yourself permission to use some of your supplies of frozen and canned foods. They need to be rotated anyway, right?

You can go “shopping” in your own store without leaving the house or having an internet connection.  Whether you’ve bought ahead on sale or saved clothing from an older sibling, the bins of extra clothing stashed in the attic can come in handy in many ways besides a natural disaster:  kids ready for the next size up?  Done!  How about extra layers for a camping trip, play clothes or clothes to paint in, costumes for school plays or Trick-or-Treat.  Then there’s the dreaded domestic disaster, when the washing machine breaks down.  Of course Murphy’s Law dictates the washer will go on the fritz on a weekend when it costs more for a repairman and yep, just before you get to the mountain of dirty laundry.  So don’t be afraid to dip into your inventory and everyone can have fresh, clean clothes without having to hand wash or take a trip to the laundromat.  This strategy might last until payday so you won’t have to put the repairs on a credit card.  Afterwards you can return the laundered clothes to the stash.

Got a few solar yard lights?  Bring them inside if the lights go out.  You can recharge them outside during the day if the power outage is prolonged.  This will help save on expensive batteries.

2.  Medical and Health

Everything from choosing a healthy variety of back-up foods to adopting the appropriate fitness routine can pay off even if the S-doesn’t-HTF.  Preppers tend to have a good understanding of how organized, accessible medical, allergy, etc. records can be useful if you should ever need to bug out, but what about right here and now?  The work you’ve already put in updating records will be just as useful should you have to change doctors (sometimes they move or retire), end up in the emergency room, or something comes up while you’re out of town or the kids are at camp.

While you’re at it, wouldn’t it be a good idea to make sure you and your family are up-to-date yourselves?  An annual physical and dental visit are important and can catch things early.  Go over any questions and prescriptions with your doctor.   Getting in shape, knowing your numbers, and making appropriate changes can sure help during TEOTWAWKI, should it ever occur, but it can help you feel better today and in the long run, too.

3.  Resiliency

Even something as little as knowing there’s an extra canned or frozen entree available for dinner tonight when you’re stuck in traffic and running late can be a positive mental boost.  Try getting all the family prescriptions on automatic refill or home delivery and that’s one less thing to have to remember.  Even the most avid do-it-yourselfer can benefit from hiring out yard work or just asking for help once in a while.  Maybe it will save unnecessary back strain, or invest the extra time in a family fire drill, helping with homework, or learning a new topic or skill, and see if you don’t get a return on your investment.

Here’s hoping that for all your preparedness, the Big One never strikes.  But even so you can reap the rewards of planning and preparing from the most basic needs to health and happiness.