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Money-Saving Mama: Storm is a learning experience

Posted: March 10, 2014 - 4:08pm

The brutality of last month’s ice storm seemed to take us all by surprise, leaving even the most prepared at a loss. Times like these can be a learning experience.

Let’s talk electricity. There are a few things we can do to be better prepared for future power outages. If you don’t have one, purchase a five-day cooler. As long as you have ice in with your cold food, everything will stay ice cold.

A generator is a good investment. You want to make sure that you can plug in a refrigerator and run either a heater or fan.

You want to make sure to have a way to cook when you have no power. You should buy a grill. A camp stove is another great alternative.

You also want to make sure that you have the right types of food for an emergency such as this. Canned goods that can be heated up are a great option. If you have frozen meats, you want to cook these first to minimize any spoilage.

Just decide what your family eats most and write out a list of important foods and items to have on hand in case of a disaster.

If you had ice-damaged trees and limbs, you want them cut down. This is always expensive. If you can’t afford to have all of the trees cut down now, get an estimate and budget for them. While you can sometimes get a break for cutting down several trees at a time, you can always take them down one by one if you have to.

Of course, this is one area that you might not want to skimp too much. You want to check out the company that is cutting your trees. Do they have insurance? Are they licensed? You want all of the facts before you allow them on your property. This could save you more money in the long run.

This is also the time to learn which trees have usable wood. For instance, sweet gum trees do not burn well so there is no need to save the wood. Pine trees will do in a pinch but aren’t the first choice. Oak and cherry are great for a fireplace or a fire pit outside.

Of course, in times like we just came through, we must pull together. There are those that can’t do yard cleanup because of health problems or age. Go through your neighborhood and get to know each other by lending a helping hand. Organize a group cookout so those who don’t have a grill or way to cook will be able to have a hot meal. There are many ideas to help others, so you can just run with it.

No matter the storm or difficulty, we all need to figure out our disaster plans and start preparing now. Hopefully we won’t have to go through another “storm of the decade” but, by preparing, at least we can feel more confident when we hear of one coming.

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