Previously, I wrote about how I began this journey. I will continue with my thoughts as before. Enjoy.
1. Start with the old fable of the grasshopper and the ant.
This is a great and simple story about how the ant survived. The ant is prepared. We aren’t ants yet, but we’re no longer a grasshopper.
2. The first thing you do is assess the situation and stay calm
A good and simple discussion about “situational awareness” – nice analogy made about getting lost in the wilderness.
3. Journal your spending and your eating
The first true action step. I have been tracking spending in various ways throughout the years, fooling around with various budgeting systems. The suggestion made here was to use a simple notebook and writethese things down. I had an old notebook that I will start with and fool around ideas, but I splurged a little bit and got a cool new Moleskine notebook for this experience.
Apparently I will be tracking ALL spending. No receipts necessary, regardless of spending or account. ALL spending gets documented. The purpose of the journal is to assess where the money goes over a 30-60 day period. Working from the back of the notebook forward, I will be tracking and keeping a journal of what I eat. The only thing that gets tracked of what gets eaten at HOME.
For me, I will also include what I eat during the day during my lunch as I pack food from home. It is not necessary to journal restaurants. It is only to be used as identifying what we eat. Moreover, anything that is eaten that can also be stored and does not require refrigeration or freezing should be highlighted. Very simple.
Items that are not highlighted, like steak, for example should have something written next to it that could be substituted for it that might not require freezing or refrigeration. It was pointed out that we may not be able to identify a substitute at this time, but it is important that we leave room to write in an alternative in the future.
This was claimed to be the MOST IMPORTANT step to preparedness. The emphasis on this step cannot be understated. Jack spoke about the fact that this step was paramount for even the most prepared modern survivalist.
4. Write a plan for debt elimination and begin creating an emergency fund
Creating an emergency cash fund of at least $1000 takes precedence over paying off the debt. In speaking about the establishment of the emergency fund and planning on becoming debt-free, Jack speaks of Dave Ramsey and his plan towards freedom from debt.
I found this very refreshing as I have been a fan of Dave Ramsey for several years and am currently in the process of truly implementing his Total Money Makeover plan in my own life. This information presented further validated what I am already doing in my own life.
The act of writing the debt emergency plan is important. After 30-60 days of truly journaling spending, we are to furiously go through that journal and “red line” any spending that is unnecessary. If you’re not sure, red line the item and give it up for a month and see if it’s as necessary as it once was – possibly schedule this and make it a big deal or perhaps a “reward” to oneself for good behavior (?).
Will be amazed at the amount of money that can be obtained and “found” through simple analysis and observation of spending habits. Reflection on current spending habits is the first step in the creation of a plan for eliminating debt and creating savings goals.
For me, I have identified that this is the most critical step for me in order to successfully move back to Ohio as soon as possible. The more diligent I am about this, the sooner I can make it happen.
5. Put together a basic documentation package
This is something that I recently started a month or two ago. With discussions about wildfire preparedness and seeing the results of fire while working in fire country, I made the decision to purchase a small fire-resistant safe and a fire-resistant documentation bag for additional redundancy factor.
Currently, the items I keep inside the safe are:
- Birth Certificate
- Social Security Card
- Auto Title
- Emergency Fund – (in process of re-establishing my emergency fund)
- Silver (currently, I only own one 1/2 oz Walking Liberty Coin – I keep it visible as a reminder to get out of debt quick and provide visual incentive to continue the financial journey until I can begin investing again one day)
- Portable Hard Drive – currently, I don’t have this in there, but I would like to keep an additional hard drive backed up every three months or so in my safe as well
After listening to Jack speak on this topic, he suggested that the following items be added to the “Documentation Package” in addition to what I have been keeping:
- Contact List
- “Places to go” List
- Name, address, email, phone numbers, skype handles, etc.
- Any and all correspondence information for all contacts
- Contacts should include: family, friends, co-workers, accountants, anyone who is privy to and has ever been in touch and has had access to your personal information, service providers that might need to be contacted in case of an emergency, electrician, tree crew/service, equipment rentals/contractors, places where one can acquire additional materials
3 Places to go
- In the case of mandatory evacuation, it is necessary to have this information
- Places could be family/friend location within 50-100 miles, place could also be hotel/motel in a safe area, “bug-out location” (if you have one) – I currently do not have a formal “bug-out” location
- Need the first place, and two other alternatives
- Go to Google Maps and print out directions
- Be sure to have Google Maps print out the most direct route
- In addition, print out an additional and two secondary routes to each of these locations.
- We should have 3 different routes to each 3 of these locations
- Also, if traveling with someone, have a designated “rally” point en route to some of these spots. Consider determining a way to mark if a person had been there or not. Utilize flagging tape, a flag, a painted piece of wood or a way to leave a note at the rally point, etc.
- Be sure to keep this information regarding places to go printed in the documentation package, but also a copy printed and stored in each vehicle as part of the “vehicle preparedness bag” to be covered later
- Keep all physical copies the same and if something gets updated, be sure to update all “places to go” binders accordingly
- Easy way to reference important material with other people over phone
This is one of the easiest, practical and most overlooked things to include in the documentation package. This is the linchpin of everything we do moving forward.
Pomodoro up at ~21 minutes into the podcast.