October 15, 2012
A disaster can come in many forms, some you might not even think of. Most people think that a disaster affects a large area and a large number of people. Generally speaking, it usually does, but some disasters can be very personal.
A personal “financial crisis” is the first that comes to mind for me. I was raised with the idea that it is your responsibility to plan for an uncertain future because you never know when your circumstances might change. This change can happen very quickly and turn your world upside down unless you are prepared.
My family experienced a financial crisis several years ago. My husband has been self employed for most of our marriage—and he has made a very good living doing so. That was until one of his customers went bankrupt and left a very large debt hanging over my husband’s company. Our careful financial planning just wasn’t going to cut it. We did have money put away in savings but we quickly realized that it wasn’t going to be nearly enough to see us through. The stress of that large debt began to take its toll on my family, not just financially but emotionally as well. My husband and I needed to quickly establish a feeling of stability for our kids. We had to take drastic measures to save our home and provide for our family. We began the process to close the business and we each began searching for a job.
After a short period of time we both had found employment and we were so happy to be working again but we were now faced with a substantially smaller income. Getting by with a smaller income, especially since the bills didn’t get any smaller, proved to be quite challenging.
We did have a financial plan but it only partially filled our needs—mainly because this “disaster” happened before we were able to reach our savings goal. I suppose most emergencies really do come along when you aren’t ready. So along with our financial plans we had put a lot of effort into building long-term food storage for our family. We actually had a complete one-year supply.
We have always rotated and used our food storage. I wanted to make sure that my family was comfortable with the choices I had made for storage and that they were used to eating it. Just in case. Our kids were having enough trouble coping with our new financial situation and both of us working out of the house. Changing their diet on top of all that would have been too much stress. I don’t know about your kids but mine don’t like change—especially at the dinner table.
This combination of financial and emergency preparedness created great security for our family. During that time my family had the consistency of maintaining their regular diet. We were able to nearly cut out our entire grocery bill for an extended period of time. I would still buy some fresh milk and occasionally fresh vegetables, but not needing to spend much (if any) money on food for an extended period of time made all the difference for our financial recovery. We used the money that we would have spent on groceries to pay other bills. This created just enough financial slack to help us save our home and provide stability for our family during those very difficult times.
Slowly over time we did manage to pay down our bills and begin to recover financially. I truly believe that our emergency preparedness plans made it easier for our family to get through those hard times and allowed us to not only recover successfully but more comfortably as well. If you prepare well you can get through almost anything.