Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Three Contingency Plans

Being prepared to weather emergencies--or even just an unexpected guest--by having supplies on hand at home can sometimes make all the difference between panic and calm. But good preparation doesn’t just start and end with the pantry and linen closet. Sometimes preparation is less about supplies and more about planning.

For instance, I’m doomed if I head into Target without preparing a list. Without a written reminder of why I’m there, I end up getting lost in the bedding aisles and coming home with a new duvet. Or a sweater. Or a pair of sunglasses. (Perhaps I should write a Recessionista post about how I’m simply not allowed into Target during this economy!)

Of course, having a contingency plan for every errand and event in life is going a bit overboard. I barely have time to blow dry my hair in the morning, much less copy the contents of my wallet in case it gets stolen, or label the expiration dates on my makeup so I don’t poison myself, or do any of those other crazy things the people at Real Simple suggest!

Drawing the Line at Three Things:
So where to draw the line? Well, considering the pace of my lifestyle lately, I’m drawing it close to my ankles so I don’t have to go very far. In other words, I’m keeping my plans simple and focusing on three things that I consider important. Certainly there are other areas worth planning, but these are currently the top on my list. They are:

* Meal planning. With all of our technology and fast-passed living, it is easy to forget that eating is still one of the most basic and routine things we do. And when we don’t take the time to be intentional about this biological necessity, we tend to a) spend a lot of money and b) compromise our health. Meal planning can help drastically in both these areas. Even planning out a week’s worth of McDonald’s dinners (the healthy options, of course!) is better than just waltzing into the place and ordering off the cuff. And yes it takes time to plan. But what could be more important--or more simple--than eating?

* Financial planning. Specifically I mean prioritizing freedom from debt. Beyond just having a monthly budget, I want us Recessionistas to proactively diminish the debt in our lives, be it credit card balances, mortgages, cars, education, etc. Because without proactivity, debt tends to linger. And yes--retirement planning is important too. But since less money owed means less money needed in retirement, the two go hand-in-hand.

* Emergency planning. I’ve already covered the importance of having emergency supplies on hand, which is crucial. But additionally, I’ve been feeling more and more convicted that knowing basic first aid is something I need to prioritize. Because someday my friend or neighbor or family member might need me to administer CPR, or create a tourniquet, or stop a fever from rising. And I had better know how to do those things!

Needless to say, even though my list is short, I do have some work to do.
But this type of preparation seems manageable to me.

My mascara and lip gloss expiration dates, however, will just have to wait.

What about you?
What are the priorities on your list? Maybe you're debt free and a first aid whiz--what next? If you had 15 extra minutes today to create a plan for something, what would it be? Share your comments below!

Previous Related Posts:
Creating a Little Cushion
The Sky is Falling & I'm Stuck in the Sand!
Homegrown Resilience

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