As large parts of drought-ridden, wind-blown Central Texas burned, my wife and I realized we needed to talk.
“If we had to evacuate because wildfires were approaching our house,” I asked, “what would we take?”
It’s just a hypothetical question for us, thank heavens. However, that’s exactly the time when you should have the conversation — not when you’ve just gotten a reverse 911 call telling you to evacuate as a roaring wildfire nears.
This week, Tropical Storm Hermine arrived in Central Texas, where I live. It slammed areas of Central Texas with up to 15 inches of rain in some parts in just two days. The flooding in its aftermath killed eight people.
Why is this newsworthy? In Austin, we are almost never affected by tropical storms or their big brothers and sisters, hurricanes. We’re not even near the coast! 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 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. 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.
For more personal finance tips and information, check out 10 of my favorite money-related blog posts from the past week!