We all know that life happens and with “life happening” sometimes comes small emergencies that we can prepare for in advance. I recently experienced a short-term inconvenience (that’s what I’ll call it) 😊 when the heavy rains in my area caused some of the older trees to topple over. When one really large tree fell over this weekend, (Saturday around 4:30pm) the power went out. Thanks to social media and our neighborhood Facebook page, we quickly learned that a tree had fallen on some power lines and caused a transformer to “blow” and disrupt power to our neighborhood. I’ve always thought our family is prepared to handle an emergency, and this weekend we handled our power outage with ease…that’s how I “grade” our responses. Here’s how we prepared (things you can do before the emergency):
1. Cash. I believe you should always have cash on hand in case of an emergency that causes ATMs to be out of service. This was something we began to practice while living overseas…we continue this practice today. I recommend you keep $100 dollars cash readily accessible for a true emergency (remember a sale at your favorite store or weekend outing isn’t an emergency). Fortunately, only our neighborhood was without power so we could still access cash through an ATM if necessary.
2. Fuel in your car. I know it’s so easy to drive your car until the empty/low light comes on (ask me how I know?), but its less stressful to begin the habit of refueling once your fuel level measures ½ tank full. With plenty of fuel in my car this weekend, we were able to leave our dark, electricity free home without stopping at a gas station.
3. Insurance. We currently rent the home we’re living in, so it makes perfect sense to have renter’s insurance. Our renter’s insurance covered the spoiled food we had to replace, and I was pleased to learn that this type of claim didn’t have a deductible.
4. Flashlights and batteries. I’ll have to give my husband credit for this one! He always keeps flashlights (we have a cool lantern style one) around the house and extra batteries in the top drawer of his tool chest. I’m thankful we didn’t have to rush off to the store to buy these items.
5. Car chargers. I recommend getting one of the car chargers that have household electrical outlets; you can plug in any of your devices and charge them in your car. We were able to charge our devices and watch a movie on my laptop.
Finally, although the power outage was a small inconvenience, we were able to endure it stress free. If you’d like assistance with developing a financial emergency plan or any other financial counseling/coaching, contact one of the amazing AFCs here at the Better Financial Counseling network http://www.betterfinancialcounseling.com .
We would love to help your achieve better finances and a better life.