There are great sites out there that talk about putting money away in an emergency fund. I am a strong believer that this is very important. What I have not seen mentioned is, are we really prepared for an emergency?
Here’s a few tips that I feel may ease some of the worries if an emergency does (and someday it will) happen:
FOR THE VEHICLE
1) Keep a twenty dollar bill in the glove box. Lock it if it is so equipped. If you break down and need to get gas, call your service person, whoever it may be. You will have a little security blanket in case you are in a situation where ATM’s are not accessible or plastic is not accepted for a purchase under $10.
2) If you have a cell phone, make sure you have a car charger. If you neglected to charge your phone at home, you have a way to make that emergency call.
3) For those that live where it gets cold, keep a blanket in the back seat or in the trunk. If you live in the Mojave desert, bring an air conditioner (kidding, bring water). There should always be a gallon of good old H2O in the car – for your radiator or for you.
4) Jumper cables: they are all the rage these days. Keep a set and know how to use them. Also it would help to know where the battery is in your vehicle.
5) Spare tires come either as a dough nut spare to get you down the road to have your normal tire fixed or as a regular sized wheel and tire. What ever you have, read your manual. Learn where it is and learn how to change a tire before you are subject to Murphy’s Law.
6) Flashlight and charged batteries. This is self explanatory, I hope.
A few more thoughts on vehicle emergencies. If you know your vehicle leaks oil, always carry a quart or two in the trunk. If you make longer trips, have flares and road flags. If you drive through bad areas make sure your taser is charged. That’s a joke. Please take it as such. Read your owners manual and be prepared.
A funny thought. I remember when I fixed a broken fan belt on a 1976 Mustang with a pair of pantyhose. Those days are over, but you can still stop a leak in the radiator with an egg. Google it.
FOR THE HOME
1) Flashlight and fresh batteries.
2) Backup fuses if your electrical box has them. Either way, know where the electrical box is and how to “flip the switch” or replace a burnt out fuse.
3) A truly disgusting weapon to use – the plunger. When you have the need, not the want, to bring out that tool, you know chaos will ensue. Know where it is and how to use it, otherwise pay a plumber. Or call me and I’ll do it for half price.
4) Duct tape (or Power Tape to those Down Under). It is not just for men anymore. This stuff is so strong and reliable that I have seen it keep bad marriages together. Again, just a joke. No way is this blog subsidized by Duct tape. You can wrap it on busted pipes, (after you turn off the water), patch a screen or window, or use it as a tourniquet or a band aid. It is just a roll that you should never be without.
5) A fire extinguisher is one of those things that “I wish I would have had one of those when……”. Spend the $20 now or pay hundreds, thousands or more if that emergency happens.
6) A fireproof box. Keep your important documents or copies in it. Store your banking, investment and other financial website logins and passwords there. Keep credit cards that you do not use in it. They will be locked down and safe in case a disaster hits.
We could get into a lot more here with generators, food, a bunker, band aids, syrup of Ipecac, sand bags or plumbers putty, but I am trying to look at things we might overlook that will cost a few dollars but will pay dividends.
I am looking forward to hearing about any ideas I may have missed in this post.