Save Money & Be Prepared
Just because you want to save money on storm supplies does not mean that you have to skimp or be any less prepared. Take a look at four ways that you can save some hard earned dollars and be just as prepared as the next guy.
1) Shop The Off Season
The worst time to stock up on storm supplies is right before the season starts or when it is just getting under way. You need to buy your supplies in the off season when demand is low.
This is especially true for high dollar items like generators. These machines are in high demand when the season starts and even more in demand when the lights start going out. For the best prices, shop at the end of storm season when retailers are looking to dump their excess supply.
2) Buy Used Supplies When Possible
If you want to really save money, shop the used market. This is once again a time when you will have to shop the off season.
At the end of storm season, many people are willing to give up on their supplies to make a little money and you can take advantage of this. Things like tarps, emergency lighting and generators can often be purchased for pennies on the dollar using websites like Craigslist. Just be sure to have cash in hand and be ready to jump when you spot a deal.
When buying used, be sure to test out anything electrical or mechanical. You do not want to be buying somebody else’s problems. Also, keep safety in mind. Try to meet in a well lit and safe area.
3) Take Advantage Of Tax Free Days
Most states with active storm seasons have tax free days, weekends or even weeks. Take advantage of these days to save money on your storm supplies. It might just be 7 to 8 percent, but these savings add up, especially if you are starting from scratch with your supplies.
4) Stock Up On Food That You Use
When storm season approaches, you should try to have at least three days of non perishable food and water on hand. This does not mean that you should be buying military rations however. Just buy what you normally eat.
Stock up on all of the canned and boxed goods that are part of your normal diet. Things like baked beans, canned tuna and boxed macaroni and cheese (the kind with the sauce packets). That way, when storm season is over, you are not left with a hundred dollars worth of food that you can not eat.
What You Need
Now that we have established some ways to save money on storm supplies, let’s take a quick look at some supplies that you should consider having on hand.
Food & Water
You should have enough food and water to last at least 3 days. This should cover most emergencies, but if you live in an area where power outages can be lengthy, stock more supplies.
A battery powered power bank or phone charger can keep you in contact if the power goes out. You can invest in a large device for about 150 dollars if you need to charge big items like laptops or you can simply buy a small backup device to power your cell phone. These can be had for well under 20 dollars.
If the power goes out, you want to be prepared with emergency lighting. Have several flashlights and battery powered lanterns on hand. Rechargeable lights are great, but they are often left off chargers. Battery powered items are reliable, as long as you also stock up on extra batteries.
If a roof leaks or a window breaks, you need to be able to make an emergency repair. Large tarps are relatively cheap and can help you stay dry if your home sustains damage.
Ideally, you would want a weather radio which will alert you to dangerous conditions even when you are not listening to it. At the very least though, have a battery powered AM/FM radio on hand. This will allow you to listen to news and provide some entertainment. Just be sure to also stock plenty of batteries.
One of the ultimate pieces of storm equipment to have is a generator. This can allow you to keep living with some level of comfort until power is restored.
When choosing a generator size, keep in mind what kind of power you will need. You will probably want enough power to run your refrigerator and perhaps a television, at the minimum. Portable air conditioners or heaters are also nice, but this will up the watt output that you need.
Also, consider what type of devices you want to run. If you will be running electronics, you will want to invest in an inverter generator. These cost a bit more, but produce clean electricity and they are generally quieter than construction site style generators. For around 800 dollars, you can pick up a decent inverter generator capable of producing 3000 to 4000 watts.