Financial Preparation Tips for Hurricane Season and Disaster Planning
By Sijun Li
Hurricane Season is still running its course as we head into mid-July.
Currently, Tropical Storm Chantal (in the Atlantic and Caribbean) and Tropical Storm Erick (in the Eastern Pacific) are on the National Hurricane Center’s radar.
Whether or not the two storms affect your particular state, it’s important to prepare for hurricanes and other disasters.
The personal finance experts here at Miss Money Bee have developed money-savings preparation tips for any potential disaster that may occur.
1. Make your neighbors your BFF – For those of you that do not know, “BFF” stands for best friends forever. In the case of a severe weather storm hitting your neighborhood, becoming best friends with your neighbors will come in handy and save you a lot of time and money. Neighbors working together to clean up the aftermath of tree branches from a storm can eliminate having to do it yourself or having to pay someone to do it. Also, if a severe hurricane comes your way, working with your neighbors will allow you all to share the responsibility of building up a stockpile of sandbags, if that action ever becomes necessary.
2. Plan ahead of time – Always look for sales on items like flashlights, batteries, bottled water and canned food even when you are just doing your regular weekly shopping. This will allow you to be prepared ahead of time while still catching great deals. You don’t want to wait until a disaster is upon you or a hurricane is two days away from hitting your home and then rush to the grocery store to find all water and flashlights sold out or overpriced.
3. Shop at drug stores – Grocery stores and stores like Target typically charge at least 15% more for certain household items than drug stores like Walgreens, CVS, and Rite-Aid. Also check weekly online or newspaper ads at local drug stores – they usually beat out any grocery store sale when it comes to toiletry items, non-perishable food items and bottled water.
4. Utilize free local services – Every city has free access to 2-1-1, a non-profit 24 hour emergency operation center that helps people in times of disaster or need. If a disaster hits your community and you have a problem, don’t know how to resolve the issue and don’t have the necessary funds to pay someone to help you, call 211!
5. Stock up on entertainment items – In the case of a natural disaster hitting your area, you may be looking at anywhere from a few days to a few weeks without power. Make sure you have a book or two, some board games or whatever else you find entertaining to keep you preoccupied because internet, television, videogames and anything requiring electricity will not be available.
6. Buy glow sticks at dollar store – If you have kids, buy large packets of glow sticks at Michael’s or the dollar store and allow your kids to play with them. This will give them something to keep them preoccupied and allow you to keep an eye on them without breaking the bank.
7. Make sure all of your laundry is washed clean – If you may be facing a week or two without electricity, you want to make sure you have enough clean underwear to last you!
8. Check out your local dollar store – Buying flashlights, paper plates, paper towels, etc. can add up. Check your local dollar store for these items and save a bundle of money.
9. Track disaster preparation expenses – Keep your receipts and track all of the expenses that you incur during a hurricane, earthquake or tornado season. If the season ends and you have not used those items (i.e. canned food items), donate them to a local charity and use the donation as a tax write off. This will allow you to do something to benefit less fortunate individuals in your local community while still cutting costs in the long run.
For more tips on how to prepare for hurricane season or a major natural disaster, check out Consolidated Credit’s Disaster Planning booklet with free resources and tips that can make the difference between wiping out your funds due to a natural disaster emergency and being fully prepared.