March 6, 2009

Are You Prepared?

It's not in my personality to be a naysayer and preach doom and gloom. I am an optimist. And, I'm a bit of an ostrich, in that I keep my head in the sand when it comes to things that are uncomfortable for me. But on the flip side, I'm also a realist. I know that the uncomfortable and unlikely can happen at any time and I prefer to be prepared, rather than blind-sided. Those are very definitely qualities I get from my mother. She was organized and always prepared. When she was diagnosed with cancer, she sat me down and made sure I knew everything about her affairs and where to find things after she was gone. She had a little paperback organizer that she had gotten from a funeral home decades before and in it she had hand-written all necessary information I would need....location of important documents, her doctors, her attorney, her insurance agent, her bank and investment accounts, social security information, insurance information, and on and on. That little book became my Bible after her death. And I still have it to this day. It's amazing how much easier a very difficult time became for me because of my mother's foresight and preparation.

These days, as young 40-somethings, I feel Neal and I are pretty adequately covered with our wills, living wills and powers-of-attorney, life insurance, health savings accounts, and retirement accounts. There are even provisions in our wills for our pets and how they should be cared for if we should die simultaneously. Since I handle all the record-keeping and business affairs, I have made sure Neal knows where everything is located and can easily put his hands on account numbers, legal papers, passwords, contact info, etc. I have heard of too many situations where one spouse is in charge of all financial affairs, never sharing with the other, and when that spouse dies the remaining person is left clueless. In my opinion, that is just wrong and very unfair.

While we seem to be properly prepared in most areas for our future, there are still other areas where we lack and that is now my personal goal to tackle. With the economy and the state of the country as it is currently, one cannot help but feel a sense of panic and uncertainly about what the very-near future holds. Retirement accounts and passwords for the checking account won't matter much if we cannot adequately feed and shelter ourselves during a national emergency. So, lately I have become a bit obsessed with stockpiling food and supplies that we should need...just in case. For two nights in a row, I dreamt of buying and stockpiling groceries. Neal went to local grocery stores and collected 3-5 gallon cake icing buckets with lids - FREE for the asking - to store extra rice, beans, sugar and flour. I joined an online coupon club, and I've been gradually picking up extra items at the grocery when I go and can find good deals. I'm learning to bake bread from scratch and plan to try my hand at canning things from our garden this summer. I found a great deal on three dozen canning jars on Craigslist and will pick those up tomorrow. Yet, there are still so many more things we could and should do; however, I refuse to get overwhelmed by the enormity of it all. To be honest, I am actually having fun and feel a sense of pride every time I find a bargain on toilet paper or canned tuna to add to my pantry!

Yesterday, I was directed to an online test on someone's blog titled, "Could You Survive Another Great Depression", and I am happy to report that I scored 72%. What about you? Do you think you have the skills and needed supplies for your family to survive, should we enter another Great Depression? If you're interested in taking the test, go here and see. I'd love to hear your comments on the subject and how you scored on the test.

Happy Stockpiling!

3 comments:

basicliving@backtobasicliving.com said...

I didn't take the test yet, but I'm going to (I'm supposed to be working right now!). We stockpile food as well and I really like the idea of those cake icing buckets for storing rice, beans, etc. Thanks for that tip! I'll ask next time we go to the grocery store. We've always been the type to just deal with whatever comes our way and I'd like to think we are mostly prepared for the worst, but it does occupy my thoughts sometimes. And I honestly believe it's a matter of "when", rather than "if", things get worse in this country. Scary times. We should all spend some time preparing for the worst as we pray for things to get better.

basicliving@backtobasicliving.com said...

Hey - I scored 72 as well! Interesting. And I know the things I need to work on - and I really am working on them.

Lilla said...

Penny, you may have to go to several stores before you score any cake buckets. Apparently, a lot of people want them, not only for storage but for hanging plants. We used them last year for planting upside down tomato plants.

Neat that you and I scored the same on the test. Great minds....