The characters — two little people and two mice — spent their days looking for cheese. Let’s say cheese represents an abundant life. When they finally found the cheese, they got very comfortable enjoying the wonderful life their newfound cheese brought them.
But one day all the cheese was gone.
I don’t believe in luck. I believe in preparation. ~~ Bobby Knight
What’s your reaction when your cheese is gone? Losing your cheese could mean, among other things:
- you lost your job
- your significant other abandoned you
- experiencing the death of a loved one
- getting sick and was hospitalized
- working from home while your children needed to be homeschooled
I’ve read Who Moved My Cheese many times. Johnson explains how the two mice were self-aware and weren’t very surprised when their cheese had disappeared. They were prepared were able to pivot quickly to a solution. They weren’t thrown off their game and were able to keep going.
The two little people were unprepared for change and were very discombobulated when they lost their cheese. They were far from prepared for disaster.
This little book is one of the many resources that has allowed me to have a different perspective when my world suddenly shifts beyond my control. It taught me that we can prepare for disaster by changing our mindset and taking a few steps on an ongoing basis.
To prepare for an unexpected disaster, you will most likely need:
1. An Emergency Fund
According to Yahoo Finance, 58% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. So this is where we start. We begin to save for a rainy day as soon as we are able. For some, this may be impossible, especially if you lost your job or were furloughed recently. But maybe if you are one of the blessed few who is working from home, you can find ways to save. You may be able to save by:
- putting away some of the money you used for gas, parking or public transportation
- using some of the money you would use for lunches and eating out
- taking money from what you would have used to pay for dry cleaning costs since you are no longer going to the office
- asking your insurance company if you can reduce coverage temporarily, especially if your car is just parked. This may not work if you still have a car note.
You can feel more prepared for disaster if you have at least a basic emergency fund as little as $1000.
2. Control Spending and Debt
Try to resist the temptation to run up your credit card and binge buy. I’m not sure how much it makes sense to hoard toilet paper but I understand why you would. Regardless, we can control spending and debt by buying with cash and keep paying down our credit cards (even just minimum payments). Some people are skipping debt payments because of the pandemic but if you can pay your debt then, by all means, do so. You don’t want to be looking for a job with bad credit if you can help it.
3. Organize Important Paperwork
Take some time to get important paperwork in order. Know where everyone’s documents are. Take a picture of them as well. Organize and file financial, insurance, and other important paperwork. Store documents you don’t need immediately in a fireproof container. Learn what documents to keep and what to throw away in this Dave Ramsey post.
Staying organized helps you to find important documents in a pinch should a disaster happen.
4. Write or Update Your Will
This may be the perfect time to think about your legacy. Maybe someone you know or love lost their battle with an illness recently. Can you use this time to reflect on what you want doing when you pass? Your children will want to know what to do. Don’t leave them in confusion. I see that happen too many times. Consider writing out your will if you don’t have one. Or update the one you currently have. If you recently got divorced or separated this post might help.
A lawyer should be able to assist you in drawing up a will. Do your research upfront. You should also hire a professional if you think your situation is complicated. It may also be an ideal time to look into an advanced medical directive (living will) as well.
5. Maintain Good Health
Exercise and eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard. But it can be difficult to maintain good health especially in the face of disaster. You can use the time you would normally commute to exercise — even a daily walk is beneficial. Walking is not only a physical form of exercise but according to Antonia Malchick it can also be meditative. Walking doesn’t cost money because you can even walk barefoot. Yes.There's never a wrong time to maintain good health. Life is full of the unexpected. So start as soon as you can.Click To Tweet
Try to cook at home to avoid ordering fast food. Involve the whole family for better physical as well as emotional health.
6. Get a Side Hustle
Creating a side hustle could mean you have something to fall back on or that may eventually replace your full-time income. The possibilities are endless. Whether you want to be a freelance writer or open a bookkeeping business, there are myriad ways to prepare for the inevitability of leaving your current job. And, it is inevitable because times change, needs change and even you change. This is one way to prepare for a disaster that is financial in nature.
Many resources exist online where you can research how to start a side hustle.
7. Develop a New Skill
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ~~ Alvia Toffler
A new skill could be learning to blog or how to post on social media. Or it could be learning how to teach English online. You could also learn a new language or knitting. Whatever it is, doesn’t have to take four years and tens of thousands of dollars. Learning in the 21st century has become easy and widespread thanks to the internet. Several online course platforms such as Coursera, Udemy, Teachable, and HubSpot provide a wide range of courses. These give anyone the opportunity to learn a new skill in the comfort of your home for a fraction of the costs of a university program. Some courses are even free.
These are but a few ways a solo mom can prepare for disaster. It is never too late to implement them. Even in the midst of our current circumstances, you may be able to find ways to prepare for any unexpected events that may happen now and in the future.
How has COVID-19 affected your way of life? If you had already implemented any of the above ways, how has it helped you to cope with the unexpected disaster of the novel coronavirus?
Please share your experience. Thanks.