Introducing Prepper Princess
Prepper Princess has amassed an enormous online following due to her practical and engaging YouTube videos. For the past 4+ years, she’s been dispensing her advice about SHTF prepping and financial preparedness on her channel. Her videos have racked up millions of views, as her fans keep returning to hear her well-informed tips explained in a fun and articulate way. Prepper Princess practices what she preaches. She’s come up with ingenious ways to save money ranging from decreasing her electricity bill to cooking $1 meals. Prepper Princess was gracious enough to take time away from creating viral content to participate in this interview. Below is the transcript:
What Inspired Prepper Princess to Get Started
Bob: You’ve stated in some of your videos that you didn’t have much money growing up, which pushed you to learn to live a frugal lifestyle. What ultimately inspired you to share not just your tips on financial preparedness on YouTube, but also your own personal backstory?
Prepper Princess: Looking back, I definitely should not have shared my personal back story. Unfortunately, you get called a liar on youtube a lot, no matter what you say. In my early youtube career, I took these as personal insults because I am not a liar. So I told my story. This has come to bite me in the butt as well.
Now people think I was given a hand out and got rich because of an inheritance. I keep telling them that an inheritance is not free. I had to pay off the balance of the home ($40,000) when my mother passed away as well as make over $50,000 in improvements just to keep it from crumbling to the ground. The funny thing is, 80% of people that do receive an inheritance blow through it within 2 years. I didn’t. I grew my wealth.
When I was living on my own, I was thrown into learning a frugal lifestyle. I paid my bills like anyone else, whenever they came in. At one point, they all came in on the same day. I tallied up my credit cards, student loans and car loans. Found out I owed $14,000 on my car, $20,000 on my student loans and about $12,000 on my credit cards. I had no idea. It was my a-ha moment. I went out the NEXT DAY and got a 2nd job at Home Depot. I transferred all my credit cards to one new credit card that had 0% interest for a year and paid everything down very very VERY aggressively and bought absolutely NOTHING for the next year and a half.
Bob: Over time, your channel has become one of the most popular within the prepping community. Your videos have over 15 million views! What about your message have you found most resonates with your followers?
Prepper Princess: Really? Wow that’s awesome. My channel is a bit different than others in the fact that I am very straight forward. I personally have a “can-do” attitude as well as a “just do it” mindset. So I just shut up and do it and try to teach others in the same manner. You do what you have to do in this life to get ahead and I think that portrays in my videos. I hope it is what keeps people coming back. The tough love aspect of prepping.
Prepper Princess’s Thoughts on Rational Prepping
Bob: Many within the prepper community emphasize the importance of buying a large amount of firearms and gear as a SHTF prep. Your view is different in that you believe that what really matters is access to water, food, shelter, and love. I find this take on prepping be refreshing because it’s far more rational. Why do you think prepping has devolved into a competition for the biggest, most, and best?
Prepper Princess: Absolutely! Well, boys like their toys, that’s for sure. These boys have turned prepping into some sort of video game or comic book where the entire world is coming after one single person because of the gear they have purchased. I honestly do not understand these theories at all. There are also a lot of sales on youtube and affiliates as well. Youtubers can not make it just as a youtuber and have to sell products to make a living. This is when a company gives you a free product to do a review on your channel. A lot of these male preppers get their gear for free in order to sell it. While I do this as well, the “gear” I promote and sell are only things I use on a daily basis AND save me money in the process. I do not sell flashlights or knives because I do not find any brand to be superior enough to put on my site. A good example I use on a daily basis is a solar oven. If the electricity goes out, you can still cook and bake your food. I use it regularly and it saves me tons of money because I don’t have to use the oven in the house, which is one of the biggest energy users and don’t have to turn on the air conditioner because I was heating something up in a conventional oven. Behind the scenes, I have found many fellow prepper youtube channels have been very welcoming. Canadian Prepper and City Prepping are some great guys that I have communicated with personally. They have been very welcoming and understand that when you give, you get a lot in return. These guys gave me some shout outs and it has been so very appreciated.
Bob: In your video “The Unfortunate Thing That Prepping Has Become,” you state that because you don’t fit the popular image people have of a prepper, you’re not always taken seriously. This is unfortunate because your level-headed approach to prepping is the very reason why I took you more seriously than the gear-peddlers out there. Based on your engagement with your prepper community, have you found that more people subscribe to the rational preparedness philosophy? What preps in particular are of the most interest to your followers?
Prepper Princess: I agree that women are not always taken seriously in the prepping community. This in large part is because men think that they are the protectors of women and without men, we would just die if the grid went down. They forget that we are the ones washing their clothes, gathering water to cook and clean, cleaning and keeping the men from going completely bonkers. This is in a traditional relationship of course. Men and women need EACH OTHER. I have found that more women subscribe to the rational preparedness philosophy while the men have a tendency to diminish the importance of women and their capabilities, as well as turn their prepping into a fantasy of sorts. This is unfortunate, but just my personal experience with my channel. And there is always the opportunity to change the way everyone thinks about prepping.
The Critical Importance Financial Preparedness
Bob: One of the primary themes threaded throughout your videos is the importance of financial preparedness. In one of your more recent videos, you mention that 70% of the US population lives paycheck to paycheck. There will unquestionably be long lasting economic issues resulting from the coronavirus quarantine. Which of these issues worries you the most? What can we do to prepare for it?
Prepper Princess: Financial preparedness is among the most important aspects of prepping. What happens when you get old? Are you going to be able to take care of yourself financially when you are no longer able to work? The majority will not be able to. The majority also do not think further than a month in the future. The issues with the economy that worry me the most are a long term depression. I can dream that everyone comes together and helps each other but the world is not what it was in the 1930’s. People need to learn to garden, learn to trade and barter and learn to help each other. I hope that the world will focus on these things instead of stealing and looting to get what they can without working for it. I truly worry about violence and crime increasing as this economy does look like it will be going into a depression.
Bob: While the elderly are more at risk of complications stemming from the coronavirus, the younger generation will bear the burden of the debt issued to recover financially. What advice do you have for this generation? What would you suggest they do to contend with a future of government austerity and crippled social welfare programs?
Prepper Princess: I don’t know if this advice could be summed up in a single paragraph. However, if I could talk to my younger self, I would tell myself to stay at home as long as possible. Once you graduate high school, do NOT go to college but work 2 jobs as much as possible while you are young and save every penny. This would take 4-6 years of non-stop work in your youth. Once you have enough, purchase a house in CASH. Never take on debt. Do not get any credit cards ever, do not take out student loans, do not take out a car loan. Pay your way and get your house.
Once you do that you can not only quit your primary job but you can work part time for the rest of your life. Also, learn ways to create passive income so you can work even less an enjoy a long and amazing life. The government is not going to help you. You have to help yourself.
Bob: Many of your videos showcase how to live frugally. You’ve showed people how to make $1 meals. You’ve also broken out your expenses in a video pushing back against those saying you could live on $800 a month. What is your primary motivation behind living cheaply? Is it a preparation for retirement, a subject you covered at length? Is it a byproduct of the financial struggles you experienced growing up? Or, is there another motivating factor?
Prepper Princess: When I made that video, I lived in the Bay Area of California. I now live in a low cost town in Arizona. My property taxes there were $4,000 per year and now they are $400. When you break that down into a monthly cost, it adds up quite a bit. As of now, I could now live on $800 a month based on where I live but choose to live on more like $1,000 per month. This allows for a fantastic life where I get to do what I want, when I want to do it. Living cheaply is amazing. It started in my early 20’s when I had to hustle to get out of debt.
After I got rid of all my debt, I just kept doing it because I was so used to it. Then after you are out of debt and still continue to live cheaply and work a lot, you will be surprised at how amazingly fast the money accumulates. By the time I was 28, I had saved around $70,000 by living cheaply and working 2 jobs. This was while I was living in an apartment and paying my own rent. Living frugally helps me grow wealth. Being poor sucks. At one point, I had $17 to last me two weeks which included gas and food. I didn’t eat much those two weeks and I think I hustled to get a tank of gas. I promised myself I would never put myself in that position ever again and I would become rich.
That is where I am right now. I am on my path to financial wealth and happiness and it works very well. I still live very very frugally BUT I am happier than I have ever been and lack for nothing. Why? Because I have no debt at all. My house is paid off, my car is paid off, my student loans are paid off and my utilities are low because I have off grid solar generators and USE them.
Bob: You recently moved from California to Arizona. While the cost of living is undoubtedly cheaper in Arizona, do you find the location otherwise better suited for prepping?
Prepper Princess: Yes and no. California has more crops than any other location in the world. I could grow anything there. Just throw seeds in the dirt and magic happens in a month. I knew every farm and what they grew, when they grew it, and how to get there. I foraged a LOT and could pick up cans and bottles and trade them for cash. Also, I could walk anywhere in my town and glean everywhere. Fresh peppermint to make tea and my own mouthwash, fruit was everywhere and free. But there were no natural water sources near me. Here in Arizona, I live right by the Colorado River, but nobody really grows anything. If SHTF happens, I will be living off of my preps and fish I catch in the river along with maybe some lemons and oranges when they are in season. Citrus grows well here. And of course, rattlesnake and pigeon. Yes, I have eaten both and they taste good. We have a lot of those, but the body needs fresh fruit and vegetables, which are lacking here. So, it’s just a matter of what I would be eating. I have started a garden but they take years to produce fruit. They are of the cactus and desert variety and I have more coming. I have planted tons of dragon fruit, which is a delicious cactus fruit as well as fig, watermelon and peppers. Also, I planted pygmy date palms for dates and aloe vera for sunburn. I will also be planting Moringa, lemon and orange trees this fall. However, long term I don’t think the desert is the best place to be in a SHTF situation. With the river, I have plenty of water, but there is just not enough fruit and vegetables growing here. I hope to change that with my personal garden so I can be self sustaining, but it takes time and patience.
Important Prepper Attributes
Bob: Aside from financial preparedness, you’ve highlighted other important prepper attributes. You used to end your videos with the tagline, “Live by your wits, not your worries,” implying the importance of intelligence and a positive mindset. Some of your videos also describe your journey to becoming more physically fit. Can you expand upon these and any other important attributes you believe preppers should have? Why are they important?
Prepper Princess: Yes. I still live by the motto do what you can with what you’ve got. Physical fitness is very important. We live in a country where over 30% of people are obese and 60%+ are overweight. More people die from poor health caused by bad food than they do smoking. Diabetes is on the rise. In my youth, I weighed over 200 lbs. at 5’7 and obesity and diabetes run in my family. So I knew from a young age I had to watch what I eat. When it comes to cooking, I am lazy, so I keep it simple. I make sure to read the recommended dosage of everything. I eat twice a day and only drink water and coffee. My breakfast is simple quaker oats, granola and banana chips. I hate real bananas, but I love banana chips. Weird, right?
My lunch/dinner changes, but I make burritos with spinach, carrot, rice, beans, onion and sriracha sauce. Sriracha fixes everything. My meat intake has been reduced drastically as well as bread. I can still eat tortillas, but meat and bread really mess with my digestion. Everything I eat is among the cheapest foods available, but also the healthiest. I look at fast food like giant cigarette signs on the side of the road. They have invested billions in tricking people’s brains into thinking they are eating amazing. Yes, it tastes good, but you are hungry just a couple hours later and got no nutrition out of it.
I also have one of those watches that is a fit-bit knock off but only cost $10. It counts my steps and I will not allow myself to go to bed unless I have walked at least 10,000 steps a day. I also have old Zumba DVD’s that I do regularly to get my heart rate up. These things are simple, yet nobody does them. I am fortunate enough to live within a mile of my nearest grocery store so now I walk to the store every time I go shopping. I just bring a backpack and pack with with fruit and vegetables and whatever else I need, then I WALK home. Small things make a huge difference in weight control. The walking also gives me a chance to clear my mind on a daily basis, which is greatly underestimated in the world we live in. Having a healthy lifestyle not only gives you a longer life, but makes you feel more energetic and clear minded while you are alive. Keeps you feeling young as you age.
Following and Supporting Prepper Princess
Bob: Aside from your YouTube channel, how can people follow and support you?
Prepper Princess: I have my own website Prepperprincess.com where you can buy prepping supplies. I keep things simple and only put products I fully support and use on a regular basis on my website. There is also a link for purchase Prepper Princess T-shirts and merchandise. I am also on Patreon and provide more personal videos on that forum. If you just want to donate money and buy me a cup of coffee (which I get for $1.59 at my local gas station…not $5 Starbucks), you can go to PayPal and use my email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bob: Thank you so much for speaking with me. You’re an inspiration to the rationally minded preppers out there. I’m looking forward to your next video and wish you the best as you settle down in Arizona.
Prepper Princess: Thank you very much. It was a pleasure. Hope you all have a great day.