This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com
When you first start your preparedness efforts, a common question that comes up is, should you save money or buy supplies? It is important to save some money for emergencies, but having water, food and other items for safety and security is also a priority.
I think both are equally important, so splitting between buying supplies and saving is what I would choose. If only $50 is available in the budget, then $25 goes to savings, and $25 goes to supplies. You still need savings in case of car repairs, medical bills or other unexpected expenses. These savings should not be touched for any reason other than an emergency. At the same time, having an emergency stash of water, food, toilet paper and other necessities for an emergency is a form of insurance: better to have it and not need it, than need it but not have it. If prices continue to rise the way they are right now, you would be buying supplies at today’s cheaper prices while you can still afford it. Just make sure you rotate your items so nothing expires and goes to waste.
Also, consider your own situation when it comes to buying supplies:
- Do you have the space to store the items you are buying?
- If you had to evacuate, you may have to leave some of those supplies behind, so it is also important to have a bug out bag or emergency kit.
- You should have water, food storage, backup ways to cook food and heat your home, a way to filter water, a form of home defense and transportation in case you have to leave.
If you are also saving money:
- Your cash should be accessible and easy to withdraw in the event of an emergency
- For more tips on stashing cash, see Build your Cash Emergency Fund
- If you are saving cash at home, make sure it is in a safe place
- Remember where you stored your cash!
A 50% split between savings and supplies works for me; your situation may vary as every one’s budget is different. If you have no supplies whatsoever, then you may want to consider spending more on supplies and less on savings temporarily: with the $50 example, $35 on supplies and $15 on savings. Regardless of the amount, being able to set aside something every month will give you peace of mind and confidence that you can cope with most emergencies.
Updated from a previous post that was originally published on 4/28/2011.
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