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Home Preparedness and Creating an Emergency Kit

4 Nov

Today’s Home Executive topic is Emergency Kits.

Since we are entering the snowy season for lots of people, it is good to start thinking about having a basic set of supplies in case you get snowed in or the power goes out.

Last Thanksgiving we had a snow storm in Seattle and the power was out at my house for two days!  Thankfully, I had bought a shovel and salt and we have a 4-wheel drive truck, so we could go and get the supplies we needed.

This year I decided to be on the defensive and prepare in advance in case that happens again.

Why have a kit?

Pretty simple: Being prepared makes your life easier.

When the power goes out and everyone else is running to the store to get water, canned goods, batteries and candles, you can relax and focus on making sure everyone is calm and taken care of.

Often stores run out of supplies quickly in a power outage or other emergency.  Most people aren’t prepared, and the stores aren’t stocked to have hundreds of people buying gallons of water or shovels.  That is why it pays to already have these things on hand.

 

What is in my kit?

  • 3 day supply of water for myself, my husband and our dog (a gallon a day per person)
  • 3 day supply of canned goods (soups, chili, beans, etc.)
  • Propane tanks (to cook on the camp stove/grill)
  • Candles and butane lighters/matches
  • Lantern and extra batteries
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • First Aid kit
  • Dust masks
  • Can opener
  • Local map
  • Wrench/Pliers
  • Extra toilet paper/paper towels

Additional Items in my kit:

  •  My glasses
  • Pet food and extra water for Trigger
  • Important family documents
  • First aid book
  • Sleeping bags
  • Warm clothes
  • Waterproof matches
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles

Items I have for Snow Preparedness:

  • Shovel
  • Salt, gravel or dirt to melt icy walkways
  • Ice scrapers for cars

What about the cost?

Realistically, you already have a lot of these items in your home, so you probably won’t have much to buy.  When I went to get the gallons of water, canned goods, and propane tanks I was surprised by how cheap it was.

If you had to start from nothing, putting together a kit like this might cost $100-$200, but it would be well worth it!

For transparency sake, I am still missing to important items: a fire extinguisher and battery powered radio.  My goal is to purchase these over the next two weeks.

How often should I check and update my kit?

Every six to twelve months would be a great time to check on your kit.

This would involve restocking any items you may have used, and checking expiration dates for any perishable items.

Set yourself on a regular schedule and add it to your calendar.  This year I set October as the month when I got my kit together, so every October I will update it.

Check out these sites for more detailed info on emergency preparedness:

The Red Cross

Ready.gov

If you aren’t wanting to put this kit together yourself, you can Google emergency kits and find ones to purchase as well.

As always, remember the why!

Being prepared for a minor or major emergency blesses you and your family by reducing stress.

If you missed the last two Home Executive posts and want to catch up, click on the links below:

The Will to Make A Will

Helpful Info. for Record Keeping and Taxes

Helpful Info. for Record Keeping and Taxes

21 Oct

Since the last Home Executive post, The Will to Make A Will,  got some good feedback and traffic, every 2 weeks I am going to write a post pertaining to being a Home Executive.

There are some really important aspects of being a Home Executive that we need to have under control, so we will learn and get them done together.

Two weeks is ample time to work on the topics we will discuss and once completed will give peace of mind.

By the way, did you schedule to have your wills done/updated yet?

It is essential to know where you important documents are.

Let’s jump right in…

Record keeping and Taxes.

How long do you keep pay stubs?  Tax records?  Receipts for debt payoff?  Who knows right?

Well, thanks to FLYLady.net, a home organization site I subscribe to, and the great info there I now know!

Record keeping is confusing, and taxes can be stressful if you own a business or claim deductions.   That is why it is important to become knowledgeable in this area so we know what we need, and where it is when we need it!

For the home records cabinet, here is a great list of what to keep and how long.

This list was compiled by HeyTom.net and sent out from FLYLady.net two great sites worth checking out!

For taxes, the IRS has publications you can view online or download which answer lots of tax related questions.

Two that I found helpful were:

Recordkeeping for Individuals

Starting a Business and Keeping Records

I know this is a lot of information, but just work on it for 15 minutes at a time over the next few weeks. 

And remember that by having our records and taxes in order, we bless our families and show love to the people who matter most.

Make sure you check out the last Home Executive post:

The Will to Make a Will

The Will to Make a Will

8 Oct

I have to confess something.  Currently, my husband and I don’t have a will.  Chances are you don’t either.

If you are like me, you thought only your parents had a will.  Maybe you thought only people with kids, lots of money, or spouses needed one.

NOPE.

Everyone needs a will.

I have known this for the last 2 years since we took Financial Peace University.  So why haven’t we done it?  Laziness, and belief that tomorrow would be fine, so I didn’t need a will today.

Every time I thought about it I would get this pit in my stomach and my throat would tighten a bit, so finally last week I went and scheduled an appointment to create a will.  They gave me some paperwork to talk over and fill out with my husband.  Some of the questions were:  how do I want to be buried, if I am on life support do I want to be kept alive artificially, who do I want to make decisions for me if I can no longer take care of myself?

Creating a will doesn't have to be depressing.

This is pretty heavy stuff, but you know what, if my husband and I don’t make a will together we might not ever discuss these REALLY important issues.  Death and hardship is tough to talk about, but a will is not supposed to be a depressing thing where you think about what happens when you die.

What is a will supposed to be?

It should be a blessing and guide to your family so that if something terrible happens they don’t need to wonder what you want or what they should do.

A will should help to reduce stress in a time that may be filled with grief.

It is a gift that provides great security and peace of mind.

We owe that to our parents, siblings, spouse, children, and friends don’t we?

So, if you are thinking that you might want a will, what next?

Search for a lawyer that does estate planning.  The process usually will cost a few hundred dollars, but find the money.  It’s worth it.  There are also free forms that you can often find online, but be careful with these as there can be gaps and things that aren’t covered.  Keep in mind that this is a binding legal document and you want it done right.  If you are connected to the military, you have access to free legal counsel, so this process will be free.  Take advantage of it!

Here is some info and topics that will be covered in your will:

  1. Information about yourself and your family.
  2. Your plan of distribution. (Real estate, special items/heirlooms, financial assets.)
  3. Trusts and special considerations. (Optional-Usually used when there is a blended family situation or minor children involved.)
  4. Executor or Personal Representative. (Who is going to carry out the directions written out in your will?)
  5. Guardian of the Children.
  6. Durable power of attorney for health care. (Names someone who can make medical decisions on your behalf when you no longer can.)
  7. Living Will/Advanced medical directive/declaration. (Although not a part of your will, this is essential.  It conveys your desires in regards to life support.)
  8. Springing durable general power of attorney. (Names someone who can handle your personal and financial affairs while you are alive if you become unable to do so.)

Think about who will be blessed by you making a will.

This process can seem weird/stressful/depressing, but it doesn’t have to be.  Keep in mind why we need a will, and who it will bless when we are gone.

Having a will is a way to show your love to the people you love most!  I can’t wait to have mine done, can you?

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