Emergency Prep: 3 Ways
Let's face it, some time or another, we all have emergencies! The term emergency encompasses more than just a major natural disaster, it also includes anything that puts unforeseen stress on your time and budget, i.e. you get sick, your spouse gets laid off, your car breaks down, anything. When these little lemons happen, it's nice to have some sugar on hand to make lemonade! Here's three ways you can be ready for a curve-ball:
Food Storage: 3 months worth. It sounds like a lot but if you pick up one extra item a week it builds up really fast! Shoot for staple items like rice, pasta, flour, sugar, peanut butter and canned goods....these are items are relatively cheap and nutritious, they last forever, and you will actually use them! We spend an average of $5 a week on food storage and now when life gets hectic and I don't make it to the store...it's no biggie!
Car: The Red Cross store offers both 72 hr. kits and car emergency kits for under $60. They include batteries, emergency flares, food, water, first aid kit, etc. It's not a bad idea to keep a small amount of money (like 3 $20 bills) in these kits. We also keep a few water bottles, trailmix, and a big blanket in the trunk. Perfect for the infamous midnight flat tire, getting snowed-in, or just the unexpected but irresistible picnic opportunity!
Cash: It's a great idea to have rainy day fund somewhere, and finding the extra money isn't as hard as you may think. You can start by putting away spare change amounts, a dollar this week, five dollars the next, and keep going until you have at least one months' expenses set aside. Online banks (like ING.com) are great for this because they often offer savings accounts w/ no minimum balance and a high interest rate.