Valdosta Daily Times


November 4, 2012

Budget Diary: Things you should know about storms just because you're awesome

VALDOSTA — In case I haven't told you enough, you're awesome. You know what's not awesome? Superstorms and losing all of your stuff. In the wake of Sandy, I deeply reflected on if I myself am prepared for a hurricane or superstorm. To tell you the truth, I'm not.

As the leader of the budgeteers, I should be the single most prepared person when it comes to anything. After all, I am like the president of about 149 dedicated Facebook followers, which is one-sixth the size of the population of Vatican City, so yeah, I would it's a pretty big deal.

I don't know what's going on with me, budgeteers, first I go grocery shopping with no coupons and now this? Any dignified leader would resign and leave their herd to a more qualified replacement. Lucky for you, I lost my dignity about a year ago after I started re-using my paper towels, so I will do no such thing. Also, who would be a more qualified replacement? Suze Orman. Let's get serious, she sponsors a credit card and her highlights look like she hopped in the Delorean and traveled back to 1999. That's a waste of energy and not very cost-efficient, as a "self-proclaimed" international financial expert, she should know better.

However, we could sit here and banter over my lack of qualifications all day, but the more pressing issue is preparing for "The Day After Tomorrow". It's not just in Hollywood baby, it's the real deal and if it happened once, it could happen again so you better get ready.

When it comes to things like natural disasters, you have to think worst case scenario. The only thing worse than having all your expensive possessions ruined is trying to convince your insurance company that you had them in the first place.

That's why financial guru Clark Howard recommends you videotape your possessions annually by doing a walk and talk. As you're talking and the tape is rolling, you should state the value of your belongings and name the store where you bought it if possible. Keep the video on a jump drive, hard drive, DVD and even email it to yourself.

According to Howard, you want to have your possessions virtually documented like this so if things do go bad, you can prove what your possessions were to the insurance company.

I know what some of you are thinking, I have homeowners insurance! Well, homeowners insurance does not cover against flood or wind-based disasters (i.e. Sandy). Those are separate policies you have to buy 30 days out before an event, so get crack'n budgeteers!

Also, it is important to keep a natural disaster kit handy in your home.

The basic disaster supplies kit recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is as follows:

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