Saturday, February 25, 2012

guest article

GUEST ARTICLE

MA SQUIRREL AND THE UTILITY BILLS

Are you done stashing wheat, corn, and rice?  If you bring any more beans into the house, will your spouse literally explode, will the shit truly hit the fan?  And yet, you have a few prepping dollars available?  Ma Squirrel has an idea for you.

Assumptions:
1)     You are not off-grid.
2)     You have an income sufficient to pay your bills.
3)     You’re satisfied with your level of stored food, water, etc.
4)     You’ve done what you can to conserve on your utility bills.

Probably you can see the usefulness of having cash on hand, but Bank of Posturepedic has its limits, and drawbacks.  Banks, credit unions, those are subject to FDIC or NCUA deposit insurance failure.  401(k)’s, why do people think those are good retirement security?  Squirrels don’t put their acorns all in one spot, and you shouldn’t either.

Anything could happen.  A radioactive cruise ship could wash up on your front porch at the same time that an earthquake and a tornado hit.  The likelier catastrophes though are unemployment, or maybe ill health, something that results in a loss of income.  In a situation like that, you’re going to need cash to get by.

What I’m doing is running a credit balance with my utilities.  My electric bill is $110-$120 a month.  I pay $65 every paycheck, which comes out to an extra $10-$20 a month.  At the end of a year, I have at least one month’s utilities prepaid.  This works with 24 or 26 paydays a year.  I’ve done this with the electric, natural gas, water, and garbage.  By the way, if you run a credit balance with Waste Management, they stop sending you statements/bills.  I called them up once and asked for the balance; they realized it was a credit balance, and sent me a check to clear it.  Next time, I won’t call them.  I’ll just keep sending an extra $5 a month.

Little things add up.  Sure, this doesn’t pay any interest, but then neither does your savings account.  Better that THEY owe YOU, than YOU owe THEM.   If you run into a bad budget month, skip paying extra, enjoy the cushion, just don’t make a habit of it.  If you get to the point of enough-ness, then stop overpaying.  If you become unemployed or incapacitated, now you have the luxury of time (and money) to make adjustments.  Granted, if the problem is EMP and the grid is down, you’re going to lose your credit balance, but then in an EMP situation, your problems just got a lot bigger.

Think about it.  There are plenty of ways to stash cash.

‘Mousse


3 comments:

  1. Good idea-gives you wiggle room if things get tough. I used to prepay my cell phone by six months to a year, and that came in very handy when my personal SHTF moment arrived as a job loss. I was able to continue the job hunt by Internet resume applications using a SmartPhone; I was able to schedule job interviews, and although it took a few months thanks to the prepaid services I did find a job.

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    1. I would recommend instead of paying ahead on utilities, pay ahead on your rent or your mortgage instead. It always seems like bad things happen in groups or clumps: the car breaks down just as you get laid off, that sort of thing. And it's the big bills that really take you out at the knees. If I had to, I could live for a month without electricity. But I always need a place to live. Since we own our home outright, we always pay our property taxes up for a year ahead of time. It's a big bite, but a relief knowing that it's taken care of.

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  2. Hi Mousse - I pay garbage a year at a time, internet and water the same. Good to know that I can flush, wash and play for a year. We need to get together before I move to Port Townsend this month. Spice lover.

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