Once again, around the blogosphere, conversation has turned to emergency planning. Of course, September is National Preparedness Month. Over on Wise Bread, they’re discussing stocking up food for an emergency. So far, it sounds like readers have anywhere from enough food for the rest of the week to enough food for a few years. I’m definitely somewhere in between those two numbers, but much closer to the one week mark. In terms of food alone, I’ve probably got enough to get me through 2 weeks comfortably, probably more if I start to get creative. As for water, I’ve got a few gallons of drinking water in a closet, plus some 2 liter bottles of tap water for things like toilet flushing and washing.
Of course, all this talk has me back to thinking about what sort of emergency kit I should have. Ideally, I should have some sort of portable go bag with the emergency supplies that I would need to last me and the cats for a few days. I go back and forth on this, but over the weekend, I finally made a list of things that I need to put together an emergency kit – one that I can take with me in an emergency, as well as some extra things I should keep on hand in the apartment in case I’m stuck here for a longer period of time.
I created my list with the help of Ready.gov as well as the lists of items within pre-made emergency kits that you can buy from any number of sources. I was thinking about buying a big plastic tub, but then I remembered the old rolling suitcase in my closet. The wheels are a bit wonky and I’m worried that it won’t last another round of rough baggage handling, but it absolutely would work for storing and transporting my emergency kit. Now I just need to buy things to fill the kit. Everything from food to first aid supplies to a spare set of clothing to a book of Sudoku puzzles to keep me occupied. (And perhaps a copy of Ulysses. I could read that book a million times and still find something new in it.)
I know that I’ve mentioned this before and I’ve just never done anything about it. I think that’s because it feels like an overwhelming task. After all, this list is pretty extensive. That said, if I do it in bits and pieces and make it my goal to have the kit completed by the end of the year, it becomes a lot easier to deal with. Plus I do have a lot of the items already – just not stashed in one place. I have a first aid kit and I have some cash stashed away. I’ve got water. And it’s not hard to put some cat food and cat litter into big ziplocs and stash them away. I often have extra deodorant and toothpaste in the house – I can just keep my “spare” in the emergency kit, as long as I replace it when I remove it. So that’s my goa. Emergency kit by the end of the year. I think it’s doable.
What sort of emergency kit do you have in place?
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.