It’s a New Year and time for all sorts of resolutions. Some people resolve to eat healthier, lose weight, and exercise more. These are all great goals, but one that many of us forget has to do with finances. Imagine having extra cash set aside for emergencies — the unexpected trip to the doctor, replacing a set of tires, or replacing a worn-out kitchen appliance.
Prepping isn’t just about having flashlights, extra food, and stored water on hand. Financial preparedness is just as important and, in fact, is one of the most important things you can do to be prepared for emergencies of all kinds.
If you have on your list to be more prepared and to save money, we have some suggestions for you.
Get extra tips throughout the year by subscribing to my email newsletters and purchasing The Complete 52 Weeks Savings Plan Handbook, with tips for customizing this savings plan to fit your income and with loads of printable checklists as well — including one for kids and even one that will help make your holiday spending less traumatic!
The first step to being prepared financially is to commit to the 52 Weeks Savings Plan. This plan begins with saving just one dollar. As the year progresses, you’ll be adding additional dollars to your stash and the week’s number on the calendar corresponds to that number of dollars. The plan is simple but staying on track can be a challenge due to:
- Forgetfulness! Print out the free tracking chart and post it somewhere prominent in your home. Find a savings buddy and hold each other accountable. Join our 52 Weeks Savings Club Facebook page to link up with people who have the same goal as you do. It’s a great source of information and a place to ask questions.
- Need to customize the plan? If a weekly plan is too much to remember or if you get paid bi-weekly or even monthly, you’ll want the collection of checklists that will help to customize this plan for you and your income. I’ve included 12 printable checklists in my ebook, available at this link.
- Lack of funds. This happens to all of us, and if it happens to you, don’t give up. Just add what you can to your savings, even if it’s just a dollar. One work-around for this dilemma is to add extra dollars when you can, knowing that at some point during the year, you may run short.
Our goal is to help you each month with information about products that are usually on sale. Any time you can buy at a discount or recyle something you own to fulfill a new need, you’re saving money.
Keep in mind this quote from the days of the Great Depression:
Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Or do without.
Sales tend to be cyclical
Here’s what should be on sale in January and how you can use them to be more prepared for whatever life brings. Holidays and other special events are also part of the calendar and they usually bring with them some very nice bargains. For example, toward the end of January you’ll find all kinds of foods on sale related to Super Bowl parties. Keep an eye out for those specials, and if the items are something you would be anyway, stock up.
In early January, holiday foods will be on sale for just a few more days. Refer to Top Holiday Bargains For Stocking Up, in order to track down bargains that will help fill your food storage pantry. The list includes a printable.
For sure, you’ll find that holiday candy and treats should go on sale, which can be used as comfort food in your food storage. Candy can also help keep children calm in emergency situations. For long-term storage, refer to my article, “20+ Foods That Must Be Repackaged For Long-Term Storage and How to Repackage Them.”
Those sweet treats will last a lot longer in your pantry if you use a vacuum sealer, like a Food Saver, to package them using these instructions.
Oatmeal and diet foods should also be on sale. Diet foods can include drinks and food bars that are packed with nutrition, making them a decent addition to an emergency kit.
Seasonal produce that can be found at a good price this month are:
Consider freezing or dehydrating some of these for long-term storage. Dry citrus peels and then turn them into powder to be used later as a flavoring.
Household items on sale in January
Bedding and towels are usually on sale in January. Do you have extra bedding for each person in case of sickness? Do you have pillows in case you want to sleep in your tornado room? Do you have blankets and towels in your car or with your camping gear? This would be the time to stock up on these items. They are all welcome items at homeless shelters as well.
Cookware is also on sale this month if you need an extra set for cooking outside or to use with your Sun Oven (check special pricing and packages here). The only types of pans that should be used in a solar cooker are made of thin, dark metal or glass/Pyrex. If you plan on using the sun to cook, then look for discounts on those specific types of pans. Graniteware is what I usually use in my Sun Oven.
Winter clothing also starts going on sale in January. Think ahead to next year if you have children and buy the size they are going to need. Make sure to have hats and gloves for each person in winter bug-out bags and in vehicles. Long underwear is another must if you typically experience cold weather or enjoy winter sports.
Holiday decorations and supplies (wrapping and party) should also be on sale if you want to do some shopping for next year or add to your supply of paper plates, cups, utensils and tablecloths. I recommend buying plain wrapping paper on sale now to use for presents throughout the year. Solid colors, stripes, polka dots — they are season-less colors and patterns that can be used for gifts any time.
If you need to get organized, January is also the time to look for organization systems, bins, calendars and planners. Any person who starts a food supply or accumulates camping gear knows that staying organized is the key to knowing what you have on hand.
If you’ve ever been homebound due to sickness or severe weather, you know how important entertainment can be. CDs, DVDs, video games, board games, computers, TVs, cameras, select electronics and toys are all on sale in January. It can be a time to be frugal and think ahead to future gifts, too. Cameras can be useful for documenting your property for insurance or emergency situations. Some digital cameras have video recording, too.
Getting prepped by getting fit
Many people make fitness New Year’s resolutions and to go along with that treadmills, ellipticals, sneakers and fitness gear tend to be on sale in January. Being fit cannot be overemphasized in preparing for any situation. Take advantage of this sale and get your body fit for whatever may come.
January savings on outdoor gear
During these frigid winter days, camping gear can also go on sale because not many people are thinking of camping in the middle of winter. However, now would be a good time to check your camping inventory and see if there is anything you need. Are the children getting older and need a tent of their own? Want some extra sleeping bags for vehicles or a tornado shelter? Check out the sales flyers and websites for outdoor stores, such as REI, Academy, Bass Pro, and many others, as well as WalMart.
Gas grills tend to go on sale early in the year, too. A gas grill can help with cooking if the power goes out for a few days, and is a great tool to have on hand.
Motorcycles, bicycles and boats also go on sale this month with newer models coming out. Stores might also have bicycles that didn’t sell before Christmas, and soon they’ll need to unload them at a discount. Bicycles can be part of a bug-out plan. Motorcycles can help give a family member a cheaper mode of transportation if gas prices go up again. If you live near water, a boat can help you bug out or take you to a food source.
By the end of January…
According to the 52 Weeks Savings Plan, you should have just $10 saved up. I know you can do that! If you have extra cash right now, perhaps going to Week 52, in the chart and saving $52 would be a smart thing to do. You’ll find a Reverse 52 Weeks Savings Plan printable in my ebook, The Complete 52 Week Savings Plan Handbook. Grab your copy now, so you’ll be ready to tackle this savings challenge and end this calendar year with money in the bank!
The key to being a winner when it comes to saving money is to pinch pennies wherever you can with purchases and then put even small amounts saved in your savings stash.
We’ll be back in February with more money-savings tips to help you save AND prepare!