Why Good Personal Finance Management and Prepping Go Hand in Hand

When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes , (affiliate link) an urban survival guide by Cory Lundin.

Are you a prepper?  Or are you more of the camp that prepping is for the wackos and the conspiracy theorists?  Or maybe you’re somewhere in the middle.  We like to consider ourselves thoughtful observers, although we’re more on the side of the preppers than the non-preppers. 

Whatever your thoughts on the whole issue, the facts are that preppers are making money for America.  Numbers on guns, ammo and survival products are up as much as 40% in the last 5-8 years.

SO, what does this have to do with you as a lover of all things frugal?

Actually, quite a bit.  You see, much of what preppers are preparing for has to do with unexpected natural disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy.  Last July, for instance, a plethora of thunderstorms, tornadoes and unbearable heat pounded the East Coast and some Midwestern states.  Remember?  Although there were lots of terrible tragedies and horrible things resulting from the power outages that followed the storms, what also stuck out to me was that those who weren’t prepared spent a TON of money simply to feed and shelter their families, when, if they’d done some basic preparation, they could’ve saved LOTS of money.  Here are some news excerpts:

 

“Today makes seven days without power since last Friday, and we don’t have water either,” said Tammy Pickles, a 40-year-old convenience store manager waiting in line with a dozen other people under a hot midday sun for a meal.

“Money is really tight,” said Pickles, who has a 12-year-old daughter at home. “I’m not sure how many more trips I can make out here to get a hot meal. I’m not sure I can afford the gas.” 

A Safeway supermarket tried to remain open with a limited power supply and handed out free bags of dry ice. But the air inside was stale. Shopping carts with spoiled food, buzzing with flies, sat outside the store.

In this heat, ice has become the most valuable commodity. Pinehurst Wine Shop in Maryland is buying extra ice just to give it away at the end of the night.

That ice may salvage a few more perishables. Families have lost food and have to spend money on eating out.

“We can’t afford to go out every single meal, so we’ve been bringing some stuff home, using the grill, used up everything we could possibly use up in the first 48 hours,” one woman without power said. CBN.news

She said she had lost $400 to $500 worth of food from her freezer and refrigerator when the power went out

The stop lights were out, the streets were blocked off, gas stations across this area were lined up all the way in one block. Fast food restaurants were packed including the drive thru. Surviving a Derecho Wind Storm    (Can you hear their money flying out of their pockets??)

The lack of power completely upended many daily routines… People on perishable medication called pharmacies to see how long their medicine would keep. 

Baltimore County, Eveena Felder, a registered nurse, had been relying on air-conditioned public areas to keep cool during the day and a fan to help her family sleep.

We’ve purchased a ton of batteries, that’s where most of our money has gone,” Felder said. “Turn the fan on and keep still, don’t move, less energy.” 

Brooks will likely fork over more cash for a hotel room rather than sit and bake inside his Woodlawn home.  “It’s rough. It’s wiping out my account,” he said. CBS News

“…people out there are stealing cables, for the copper or aluminum and trying to get whatever they can for them. People don’t have a lot of money in some areas, and it is disrupting the work to get everyone back to power.” Nj.com
Power was out for 100 hours. The landline telephones were down for 3 days, 911 was down for two, and the water restrictions lasted upwards of a week. Some counties are asking its’ residents to boil their water before drinking it
Most of us on the frugal path have worked, or are working, very hard to rid ourselves of debt and provide an ample nest egg in order that we may live comfortable lives.  How frustrating would it be if thousands of those dollars were wiped out in one fell swoop because we had to spend them on hotel rooms and meals at restaurants?
Prepping to Save Your Family AND Your Finances
SO, what can those of us do in the way of prepping enough to protect our nest eggs?  Here are some easy-to-accomplish frugal tips that will help provide your family in most any situation:
1.  Have water on hand.  A gallon a day per person in your family is the recommended.  This does not include washing, but basic cooking and drinking needs.  Try and have, at minimum, 3 days worth.  More if you’re a nursing mom or feeding your babies with formula.
2.  Have a good two weeks worth of non-perishable foods that don’t need cooking on hand at all times.  Pick stuff you like and will want to eat, or don’t.  Just pick stuff that you can eat right out of the can or bag.
3.  Have a plan.  We all make plans for our finances, or if a fire breaks out, etc., but rarely do we remember to have a plan in case the sh _ t hits the fan, weather or otherwise.  A plan is crucial to your money surviving an unexpected disaster.  Do you have somewhere to go – a cabin, or a friend or relative’s house?  Will you find a hotel?  Put the money aside for it, in advance, in cash, not at the bank.  A power outage can render banks and ATM machines largely unavailable.
If it’s possible to stay home and you want to stay home, research the many types of generators and pick one that will work for your family.  Often too, you can find them on Craigslist and at garage sales instead of buying new, saving even more money.
4.  Never let your gas tank get below half.  If you’re in a danger situation, you don’t want to have to go to the gas station and wait in line with the other unprepared people for an hour or more.  Always have at least half a tank of gas in your car so that if you need to go, you can simply get in your car and go.
5.  Remember the others.  Keep in mind that if you decide to become prepared, any neighbor or family member who knows you are prepared will be knocking at your door, looking for help and food to eat.  Be prepared to help them, or to defend yourself against them.  Not trying to sound wacko here, but if it came down to feeding or not feeding my kids, I’d steal from you. (Ok, I’m kidding.  Well, half-kidding).
Regardless of your views on prepping, there is some sense to it when it’s done in a way that protects your family and your money.  With the increase in natural disasters in the last few years, we’d all do ourselves and our money a world of good to do a little prepping work before that big storm hits.

 

18 comments

  1. Having recently lived with no power for about a week post storm, I will offer up the following advice (based entirely upon my experience and my observation of my neighbors).

    1. Keep your gas tank full (assuming you know the storm is coming) and don’t start your car unless you have to.
    2. You may have to live on starches for a week, that’s fine, you’re alive.
    3. There are forms of entertainment that do not involve electricity. Books and magazines are your friends.
    4. Watching movies on your cell phone because you are bored is so stupid I don’t have words to describe it.
    5. Using your car to power your cell phone is possibly the least efficient form of recharging anything ever. Use your phone for a couple of minutes per day to let people know that you are okay, then shut it off and conserve power.
    6. Flashlights, batteries, and candles are your friends.
    7. Everyone should go camping at least once in their life, it’s a pretty similar experience.
    8. If you have young children that need to be entertained or will be sensitive to chilly nights or scorching days, line up out of town relatives or friends. Worst case scenario, get yourselves to a cheap motel.
    9. Hotel and motel prices in the less affected areas go through the roof and fill up fast. Be prepared to drive a considerable distance to find shelter.
    10. Disasters are a great time to make friends with your neighbors and/or apartment office staff.

    • Laurie says:

      Wow! So glad you came through the experience ok! I very much appreciate you sharing your experience with us, MFIJ. There’s no substitute for learning from someone who’s been there, done that. Thank you!

  2. Those are some great tips Laurie. I’ve never considered doing really any of these but I also like My Financial Independence Journey’s tip number 7. Camping is a great way to experience what living might be like without gas, or electric. I did a lot of this in my younger years and I can tell you it has taught me a lot.

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks for the comment Chris. You’re so right, camping is a great way to get us off our comfy little couches and teach us what it’s really like to live self-sufficiently. We bought a hobby farm in October, and we are working hard at being more self-sufficient on it so that we’re prepared for any disasters that may come our way. Using the pioneer ways as our guide, we’re trying to implement some different ways of life. I’m SO thankful for modern technology, but I am learning quickly how rough of shape many of us would be in if we had to live without it.

  3. Laurie says:

    I agree – we always need to be logical when educating ourselves on any subject. Going overboard on any end of a subject is never good.

  4. michelle says:

    Prepping gives something you cannot buy: Peace of mind. It is comforting to know if a tornado tore through your community and took out all the power, you would be able to serve not only your own families needs, but provide for others who can not.

    Might I also suggest a card with emergency instructions for all members of the household? WHat do you do, where do you go? How do you connect wiht each other, ect.

    Honestly, i dont see how being well prepared for a natural or man made disaster is a waste of time. Its called personal responsibility and something americans used to practice as a matter of common sense.

    • Laurie says:

      A very important point, Michelle! Peace of mind can make the difference between surviving and not surviving during a disaster situation. And I love the idea about the card with the emergency instructions. A crucial practice for being prepared. Thanks for the great tips!

  5. These are some great ideas Laurie! Thankfully we’re pretty landlocked here in the Midwest and have not had a tornado for some time. That said, I think it’s still important to have the basics on hand to be able to withstand being hit with something so you can save money in the long run.

    • Laurie says:

      I agree, John. SO thankful that you guys have not experienced any of that stuff in a while. Good for you for keeping some basics on hand too. It’s always a smart idea.

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