We’ve seen quite a bit of devastation in the recent weeks, first the flooding brought on by Hurricane Harvey in Texas, then the destruction we found in Florida resulting from Hurricane Irma. My family was directly in the path of Hurricane Irma.

Classes were canceled for the entire week because schools were closed and opened as shelters for the massive state wide evacuations.

And I found myself looking for not only ways to help others, but how to best prepare to ride out the storm right here at our home.

So I’ve got some ways to save money while you are getting prepared.

Here is the quick, short list of essential storm prep items, followed by more details on each:

  1. Fill Every Container You Have With Drinking Water (Pitchers, Rubbermaid containers, Ziploc bags)
  2. Fill Your Freezer to Max Capacity
  3. Get Paper Products Out & Ready To Use (Disposable Utensils, Paper Plates, Cups & Paper Towels)
  4. Get Extra Trash Bags
  5. Fill Up Your Vehicles With Gas (and any extra gas cans)
  6. Get Bleach & Dish Soap
  7. Get Cash
  8. Charge Back Up Cell Phone Chargers
  9. Do Your Laundry
  10. Put Old Towels By Windows
  11. Take Photos of Important Documents
  12. Put Heirlooms & Photo Albums In A High Place
  13. Don’t Forget The Pets
  14. My Hurricane Kit (Flashlights, Radio, Batteries, Propane, Non-Perishable Foods, Formula/Diapers, Games)
  15. Eat The Ice Cream!

1. Save $100 By Not Buying Water

I apologize in advance if this tip rubs you the wrong way, but as I scroll down my Facebook newsfeed I am seeing loads of people posting messages of which stores near them have water in stock.

The news is showing panicked people standing in front of empty shelves that used to hold bottled water.

Do you have running water right now? Then you have FREE water!!

Do you have pitchers you normally use for ice tea or juice? How about pots you use for soup? Or maybe a cooler in the garage you’ve used for sports? FILL THEM UP! Get out all the Rubbermaid containers and sport water bottles and fill them with water and freeze them.

NOTE: don’t forget to leave some air/space for the water to expand as it freezes so you don’t crack the container.

What do you drink every day? Tomorrow is no different, fill up your containers with the water you drink every day.

You can even grab ziploc bags (make sure they are the freezer variety), put them inside a hard-sided container and filled them with water, and then freeze them as well.

As you use Milk, instead of throwing away the carton, rinse it and fill them with water and freeze them too. You might not want to drink the water out of it, but that will keep your perishable food cold while the power is out.

I estimate needing 3-5 Gallons of Drinking Water per person per day. We are also estimating that we could be out of power for 5 days, so that is 15-25 gallons per person total. I have 7 people in my house right now (we drove over and picked up James Grandmother who lives in a mobile home in Melbourne so she could stay with us through the storm) so that means I need to store 175 gallons of drinking water total (7 people x 5 gallons per day x 5 days = 175 gallons total)

If you play this out with the price of bottled water ($1 per gallon), then you would spend $175 to buy that amount of water versus the $20 you will spend getting ziplocs and using your own tap.

FYI: In Florida, a 24-pack of water has been frozen at the price of $2.97. If you see it being sold at a higher price you should call the State Price Gouging Hotline at: 1-866-966-7226 (866-9-NO-SCAM)

2. Fill Your Freezer to Max Capacity

Fill as much space in your freezer as possible. Check on your ice maker and fill ziploc bags with the ice so it continues to make it until you lose power.

A full freezer will keep food safely frozen for 48 hours. If you have solid bricks of ice (such as the milk carton) you have a chance that it will stay frozen even longer.

Plan now while you have the time.

3. Get Paper Products Out and Ready to Use

Dig around your house for those left over party supplies of disposable utensils, paper plates and cups. And extra paper towels.

You don’t want to wash dishes with water you saved for drinking!

Along that same line is to make sure all your dishes are clean before you lose power.

We are basically pretending we are camping… although this might be more like primitive camping instead of the pampered camping that I’ve grown so accustomed to.

4. Get Extra Trash Bags

Make sure you have plenty of trash bags. You might need to use these to protect things, as well as having them for cleaning up. This is something that is easy to have extra because you will definitely use them later.

5. Fill Up Your Vehicles With Gas (and any extra gas cans)

Make sure to top off your tank and fill any gas cans you have so that in case you do need to evacuate at the last minute you can get to a further destination by having extra gas with you.

While you are at the gas station, don’t forget to check the air in your tires as well as your oil in case either of those need to be topped off.

6. Get Bleach & Dish Soap

Dish soap is a lifesaver for me when we are camping. Bleach can be used to disinfect things in case you need to cook raw meat.

7. Get Cash

I would suggest you get enough out to get through any potential tolls and in case you need to get more gas to get out of town. I withdrew $100 total just to give you a specific number.

8. Charge Back Up Chargers

If you have any back up charges for your cell phone, try to charge them right now. I just remembered that and found two dead ones in the bottom of my purse and computer bag.

9. Do Your Laundry

Try to have all your laundry clean in case you lose power and can’t wash clothes for a few days.

As you are folding the clean clothes, you might consider going through your closet or drawers to identify the clothes out that you could donate and keep them out in case you lose power, then you can use them first and throw them away if necessary.

10. Put Out Old Towels By Windows

Even with the best windows, you can still get water seepage on the inside windowsills. Be prepared by putting towels near the windows so that when the rain starts you can quickly push them up against the windowsill to potentially absorb anything that might seep in.

A wet towel is way better than ruined drywall or floors!

11. Take Photos of Important Documents

Do you have a smartphone? Take a quick photo of your marriage certificate, birth certificates and any car titles or other important documents that would be devastating to lose.

Make sure you email the documents to yourself and an out of town family member so that a copy is safe with someone.

If you have a large 2 gallon Ziploc bag, you could put them inside to protect them from light water damage.

12. Put Heirlooms And Photo Albums In A High Place

You could also consider putting heirlooms and photos in plastic bins and up in a high place (definitely on the second floor if you have a two story home). We have plant shelves so we are putting ours up there while we wait out the storm.

13. Don’t Forget The Pets

You probably already know I have lots of cats, that means I made sure to stock up on a few extra bags of cat food and jugs of cat litter in case we are stuck for five days. My sister had to make sure to choose an Airbnb that allowed pets.

You just need to think ahead with a plan for what to do should to take care of your pets should you need to evacuate to higher ground.

My Typical Hurricane Kit:

I’ve lived in Florida my entire life. Here are some other items I always include in my Hurricane Prep Kit:

  1. At least two working flashlights
  2. A portable battery powered radio
  3. An ample supply of batteries to power these and other items
  4. A full tank of propane and charcoal
  5. Non-perishable food items (especially tortillas… they are smaller than bread and they freeze well)
  6. Formula and diapers, if you have young children in the home
  7. Although not essential: board games, books and playing cards.

My favorite website for following the updates on the storm is from the National Hurricane Center. It has no frills, but shows the expected track of the storm and the wind speeds as well as the potential rain levels. It is currently still estimated to be the highest level storm (an “M” rating on their map) throughout the duration of the storm.

Eat The Ice Cream!

James drove over to the East Coast of Florida to pick up his Grandma so she could stay with us through Tuesday to ride out the storm here instead of in her mobile home.

You wanna know the only thing she was worried about?

Who was he going to bring with him when they picked her up so that they could EAT THE ICE CREAM out of her freezer so it wouldn’t be wasted when the power was out at her house… ha!

She is about to turn 94 and she started telling us of all the times God has protected her.

Example after example of God proving Himself to carry her through seemingly impossible situations.

Why would we not be able to trust that He would do that now? He can. And He will.

Even if we lose our home. Even if we lose everything. We will recover, and we will move on stronger than before.

The truth is, the best way to shift our worry from what is happening right in front of us is to make a case in our own head proving that God has come through for us over and over.

What story can you remember that God helped you through? What example can you think of when the only example was God’s divine intervention (Isaiah 63:7-9).

Write it down right now. And if you are feeling courageous, I’d love for you to share it with me, either by email or in the comments below.

Take cover and be safe friends.

There is a way to save money on Preparing for a Storm... don't get caught off guard and spend a fortune!