An Affordable Emergency Kit

By Melissa Tosetti

This article was first published in February 2017. In light of the severe weather recently affecting large parts of the United States, we feel its message is still relevant and a timely reminder is warranted.

Like so many others, I’ve been glued to Facebook over the past week and a half monitoring how my friends are faring with the floods in Houston and most recently, coping with the wildfires in the foothills of California.

Of my friends, the worst suffered two feet of water in his home and the devastation of his new car, but as he said, he’s lucky because he and his wife are safe.

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, we are constantly reminded to have an emergency kit ready to go.

The suffering we’re seeing in Texas, Louisiana and California is a painful reminder that, like it or not, things can happen and it’s possible that you will have to take care of yourself for days or even weeks.

I confess that It took getting rocked out of my bed during the Napa earthquake, which was 80 miles away, before I finally got serious about putting together an emergency kit.

I believe that most of us procrastinate on this project for several reasons.

#1- We don’t want to think about a disaster actually happening.

#2 – The process of putting together an emergency kit all at once can be overwhelming.

#3 – It can get expensive.

But, none of those are strong enough excuses for us not to do it. In fact, there is no excuse.

So, I challenge you to make it a goal to have an emergency kit fully prepared by March 23rd.  That gives you six weeks which will help spread out the cost and effort of putting it together. Without the deadline, it’s too easy to put off and then forget about until it’s too late.

Here’s a few ideas to break the process and the cost down into “bite size” pieces.

  • Each time you go to the grocery store, buy one or two more gallons of water and a few extra cans of food.  It will only raise your grocery bill by $5 – $10 each week.
  • Watch for sales at the hardware store and pick up several sturdy flashlights and extra batteries.  Also, watch for sales and pick up a water proof storage tub to hold your supplies.
  • Watch for sales where you purchase pet food and pick up a few extra cans or a bag.
  • The Red Cross has an Emergency Preparedness Checklist.  After reading through it, make a list of the items you need to purchase and start buying them, again, a little at a time. Give yourself a chance to spread out the cost.

As you put together your list of what you need, remember to take stock of what you have on hand. You might already have lanterns that you use for camping. There’s no need to buy more just for your emergency kit. All you need to do is make sure they’re accessible.

“Shopping” your home first will not only save you money, but will help you put your kit together that much faster.

Based on the experience of those who suffered through Hurricane Harvey, I strongly recommend putting together at least two weeks’ worth of provisions.

I hope none of us ever have to use our emergency kits, but we will feel a lot better for having them.


Melissa Tosetti is the founder of The Savvy Life and author of the international bestseller Living The Savvy Life. For the past eight years, she’s worked with over 525 individuals and families to create Spending Plans. Melissa also works with financial advisors and their clients doing cash flow planning as well as giving over 200 Savvy Living presentations via webinar and in-person to audiences across the U.S.

If you’d like to learn more about how Melissa works with clients visit The Savvy Life’s Programs page.
If you’d like to learn more about how Melissa works with financial advisors and their clients visit: The Savvy Life Advisor’s Page