A rarely considered subject until it hits you in the face. What happens if all the income earning members of your family lose their jobs. What is the backup plan? How long before your mortgage and credit card debt catch up with you. How will you pay the energy bill, the water bill, rates, fuel or buy essential foods.
Losing employment is more likely than losing power for two months and but it has the greater devastation and is the least thought about.
Stop spending money now. Reduce debt and put some money away for an emergency. You do not need to treat yourself by going out to dinner because you saved a $100 on food this month. This is plain silly. Every cent counts and you should resist rewarding yourself at every turn. You are an adult making sure your family is taken care of. Think about the longer term not the immediate gratification.
The smallest less visited treats are the most delicious. Treats are like Heroin. The more you take the more you need to take to get the same level feeling as the last time.
Saving money before you lose your income is easier than after. Don't buy that coffee each day make it at home and take it with you. Make your lunch at home and take it to work. Its not hard to reduce your telecommunications bill by calling fewer people and spending less time online, Cut your energy bill by keeping lights off, using more efficient lighting and making sure your refrigeration equipment is working correctly. Don't grocery shop without a pre-written shopping list. Grow your own food. Each day loose change goes into savings. Make a detailed budget and either stick to it or try to go lower. Pay off the credit card and leave it at home. Pay a little/lot more off your mortgage each month. Don't carry much cash or credit/debit cards with you. Don't buy anything without prior discussion with your partner. Leave acquisitions for a week before reviewing your need for them.
When you are debt free and have a pile of money in the bank then by all means celebrate your success - in moderation.
List down the things that might happen and the then the probability they will happen. You will see that nuclear war, Zombies, invasion by a foreign power are all pretty well down the list. Some things will happen but not for decades so push them down the list and work on your most immediate issues first. Focus on the obvious. Lost my job, storm blew the roof off, no power, I got run over by a bus on the way to work.
Everyone will have particular circumstances. Think about yours a bit more than 5 minutes. Reading a blog and saying "Yeah I should be ok" doesn't really work. Don't become a victim through inaction.
Having a plan is the cheapest and best insurance you will ever take out.
A lot of web sites exist for the survivalist, the prepper and the self sufficientist (just made up that word).
People like Jack Spirko in his TSP podcasts cover every angle of preparedness. There are aspects in some of his programs which don't appeal to me but that doesn't stop me listening to him and gleaning some comprehensive and well thought out information on all matters of self sufficiency. Be it financial, Permaculture, gardening, food preparation, health, livestock etc. The topics seem endless as do the variety of people that come on the show.
His program has led to finding out about people like:
Darby Simpson – Livestock and Farm Management/ Homestead Consulting
Chef Keith Snow – Cooking
Stephen Harris – All things Energy
Paul Wheaton – Permaculture
Ben Falk - Permaculture
And these are just the expert council that answer listeners questions or speak about their subject matter. There are dozens of other interviews with very interesting people practising self sufficiency.