I love this time of year. The anticipation of the next few month’s financial boosts always gets me feeling good. Once we’ve gone through those, then summer is right around the corner. So, what am I talking about? In February we get our annual bonus at work. In March, it’s our annual raises, and at our house we usually get a tax return about that time as well. We also get our Costco American Express rebate check in February as well, and I expect that will be roughly $500 of free money this year.
We normally just let all these financial boosts build up in our savings account but this year I’m going to use $1000 of it to purchase a new Honda EU2000i inverter. Lately I’ve been on a disaster preparedness kick. This little inverter is a large part of our plan. It’s just enough to provide power for our central heat (it’s a natural gas system so uses very little electricity), our refrigerator and lights around the house. We already have a generator transfer switch installed (I installed that a couple months ago) and I’ve made the necessary wiring adapters so that the inverter will plug right in to the transfer switch and power 6 key circuits in our house. If we have a power outage, we can ride it out in relative comfort with just 1 gallon of gas a day. I’ve been reading a lot about people’s experiences in hurricane Sandy and one of the key lessons out of that is that, in the event of a natural disaster, gas will not be readily available. I have 10 gallons of gas stored so we should be able to get through most outages with no trouble. If it looks like the outage will last longer than 10 days, we can cut the generator use in half and make the gas last a lot longer.
After reading a lot on some of the disaster preparedness sites, it’s clear there are other things we can do as well to be better prepared. I’ve turned the whole thing in to a bit of a hobby and am having a good time with it. One other thing I’ve learned from some of these sites is that there are a lot of very kooky people out there. It’s really kind of amazing to see how many people think we are just one event away from everyone coming after them and their guns and resources. I’m trying to ignore the more extreme views out there and am just digging through the sites for good advice on being prepared for natural disasters such as major storms, earthquakes etc.
So, that’s what I’ve been playing around with lately. Our finances continue to move forward. Our net worth is climbing at a great pace. 2012 was a pretty good year for our investments. With the market up over all, we saw some pretty amazing gains. We’re just about at the point that our investment gains are outpacing our retirement contributions each year. We’re finally at a point where our money is really making money for us. Don’t get me wrong though. We won’t slow our contributions. We’ll continue to max out our accounts each year for as long as we can.
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