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I know I recently wrote about hurricanes, but I have more to say. When I wrote the last post, hurricanes weren’t affecting me — I was just reading about them in the news. But this week, Tropical Storm Hermine arrived in Austin, where I live. By the time it hit, it was degraded to a tropical storm, but it still slammed areas of Central Texas with up to 15 inches of rain in some parts in just two days.
Tropical Storm Hermine lands in Texas.
We didn’t get it quite as bad in Austin as some of the other nearby areas did, but we experienced heavy non-stop rain all day and night on Tuesday — a shock after a very dry and hot summer. Some of the rain was torrential, with major wind gusts and falling tree branches, and a lot of roads were flooded. According to the Austin American-Statesman, at least a dozen people had to be rescued from rushing water. The flooding in Hermine’s aftermath killed eight people in the region.
Why is this newsworthy? In Austin, we are almost never affected by tropical storms or their big brothers and sisters, hurricanes. Residents of Florida, the Caribbean and some parts of the East Coast know that hurricanes are a part of life. But not here.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, thousands of people fled to Austin. Many Houstonians, including some of my family, came to Austin to preemptively get away from Hurricane Ike. But Hermine was unexpected for Austinites. It really does go to show how the unexpected can happen, especially with natural disasters, and the importance of saving up for emergencies.
It’s one thing to set aside money for a “just in case” emergency fund, but what about planned expenses? A friend of mine just mentioned ideas for a Halloween party, which made me realize it’s nearly fall, which means the winter holidays will be here before we know it. And for most of us, that means big, fat debt.
Although I automatically deposit $15 a week from my checking to a savings account for an unknown future emergency, I find that I never end up saving enough for the holidays in advance. I (and most other people I know) wait until the last minute to buy gifts for all of our friends and family, but come February, or even later, we question why we still have credit card debt due to holiday gifts.
The time to begin saving for the holidays is now! Unlike an unexpected hurricane, you can plan for the holidays, but many of us don’t. It may sound crazy to start setting aside money for the holidays in September, but you will thank me come January.