When most people hear the expression “emergency fund,” they think of setting aside money to pay for unexpected expenses.
But we want you to think about more than money when it comes to your emergency fund. We want you to be prepared for a wide range of emergencies.
“I firmly believe that consideration should be given to setting aside items such as food, a water supply and means of purifying, medicines, medical supplies, and kerosene for lanterns and heaters,” wrote Mick Owens in his popular book, Diamond of Life, The Five P’s of Success and Significance.
“God is our Source and Provider,” he continued. “But He does expect us to use the intellect He has blessed us with.”
“The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food.” Genesis 41:53–55
Emergency Fund: Cash
Consider setting aside between two-and-six months of living expenses in an account designated for emergencies. There are times when people become ill, are injured in an accident, or perhaps get laid off from work. Having money set aside to pay bills may help keep you out of debt. If you already have an investment strategy, an emergency fund can help you meet expenses without disrupting your investments
Pro tip: Mick reminds people to keep some money in cash in the event of a widespread power outage or issues with the banking system.
Emergency Fund: Food & Water
“Even though it is unlikely that an emergency would cut off your food supply for two weeks, consider maintaining a supply that will last that long,” advises the Federal Emergency Management Association. See the accompanying table for guidelines for the replacement of common emergency foods.
Emergency Fund: Medicines
Roughly 50% of Americans take prescription medicine every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control, which recommends you speak with your doctor or pharmacist about how you can create an emergency supply of prescription medications. The CDC reminds people to remember over-the-counter drugs, such as pain and fever relievers, antihistamines, and antidiarrheal medicines.
SHELF LIFE OF FOODS FOR STORAGE
Use within six months
· Powdered milk
· Dried fruit
Use within one year, or before the date indicated on the label
· Canned meats and soups
· Canned fruits, juices and vegetables
· Peanut butter & Jelly
· Canned nuts
May be stored indefinitely (in a proper container and under proper storage conditions)
· Wheat and soybeans
· Vegetable oils
· Instant coffee, tea, and cocoa
· Dry pasta
Sources: FEMA, American Red Cross