Sunk Costs: Some Prepper Investments Don’t Always Pay Off
Dr. John Woods 03.05.18
You know Dilbert? You have to know Dilbert. Every office in America, maybe the world has a Dilbert working there. One thing about Dilbert though and the cartoon series is that the guy not only has a unique view of how things should work in the world, but also how they often really do. They are often not the same.
Case in point. Recently an engineer sent Dilbert an email. He asks if it was too long. He doesn’t read long emails. He asks the engineer to rewrite the email to make it shorter. The engineer does not have the time for that. Dilbert does not have the time to read it. The engineer laments all the wasted time to write the email. Dilbert reminds him of the time he is wasting talking about the email which he claims he had high hopes for. “It’s a sunk cost. Let it go,” says Dilbert.
A sunk cost? Ever had one of those? If you are a prepper you probably have. If not yet, I can almost guarantee you it will eventually happen. It is just part of the process. The trick is really as Dilbert advises to let it go. Just cut your losses and move on.
Sunk costs can come in many forms. Most often for preppers and survivalists it is something you bought that simply did not turn out as advertised or as you had hoped. It could be easy, relatively cheap stuff like some new freeze dried food product that turned out chewing like cardboard or tasting like glue. I keep extra trash bags for such stuff. This is where forums, clubs, or advice can help steer you away from inferior items. There are a lot of them out there waiting to grab your hard earned dollars. Do your research and ask around.
Failed projects can create an easy sunk cost. That idea of building a chicken coop to produce your own eggs sounded good. That is until the neighbors complained of the smells or sounds (happened to a person in my neighborhood, when she broke a city ordinance). Make sure you investigate any municipal laws governing such things as construction, out buildings, captive animals, etc. Don’t invest the time or money until you are sure the project is viable.
Sunk costs lurk in the shadows just waiting to jump on people like thugs looking for easy prey. You can avoid many sunk costs by doing your homework, asking around, researching and reading about issues, products, and projects before you jump off the cliff.