Friday, March 6, 2009

Preparing for Hard Times

With all the news about climbing unemployment rates and disappearing employer benefits, I've spent my share of time worrying about potential layoffs and hardships. Like most people, we've been tightening the budget and saving where we can. We're set to pay off the last of our nagging credit card debt within the next three months, and we're padding our meager savings as best we can. But today, I've been thinking of other ways that I could "prepare" for the hard times:

Build My Stockpile - Although I started stocking up on our most used food items and toiletries when I can get them at deep discounts, I could focus on building these stores even more. There's something infinitely comforting about knowing you could skip the grocery store for a few weeks if you needed to.

Start Those Seedlings - Last year, we started a couple square-foot garden plots, and we learned a lot about what to do and, more importantly, what NOT to do. We'll be building the beds deeper this year and planting more strategically. Also, there will be no, I repeat no, grape tomatoes this year as my dear husband who insisted on them ate only a handful of the bucket loads they produced(okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but not much)!

Take Advantage of Our Medical Insurance - While we still have it! Chances are, our medical coverage isn't going anywhere. However, if my husband were to lose his job (they've already had a few layoffs) or his employer contribution were to change, it would create a huge burden on us. So my plan is to do whatever we can now. For example, my husband has some pricey dental work he needs - a crown and bridge to be exact. Rather than spread the work out, he's going to get it all done now. Likewise, I'll be making dentist, annual physical check up, and eye appointments for the kids over the next few weeks. Because we utilize a flex account for medical, we have already committed the money. We may as well do what we can now, when we're positive that we have insurance.

Are you doing, or contemplating, anything out of the ordinary in anticipation of harder times?

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