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Financial Preparation

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A. Automatic Deposits

The best defense is a good offense. Don't count on your paycheck, social security, child support, etc., payments to be there. If you live from paycheck to paycheck like many people, you'll be severely hit if the money doesn't post to your account as scheduled.

As difficult as it is, set enough cash aside to support you and your family for 6 - 8 weeks. That cash for food, etc. That cash - checks may or may not be accepted, nor may credit nor debit cards.

B. Automatic Payments

Don't count on your bills, mortgage, etc., being paid for you. Pay them at least 3-4 months in advance, for a 2 month period, extending into February of 2000. It extremely important that you get hardcopy receipts for your records. The burden of proof --as always-- will be on you.

If there are penalties associated with pre or advance payments, discuss this with your creditor. Ask if they will waive penalty fees even if only for a few months. If they won't, try to work out an agreement of suspending any late fee penalties if automatic payments fail to work. Get any and all agreements in writing.

C. Bills

If you pay your bills by cash, check or credit card --pay them at least 3-4 months in advance, for a 2 month period, extending into February of 2000-- or have enough cash available for the same period. Make sure to get hardcopy receipts for your records.

D. Cash

Nothing beats hard cold cash in an emergency. Expect prices to go up, especially if there are shortages of any goods like food. Put cash aside (in a safe place - not a bank or other location that you may not be able to access at any time) enough to pay for food, fuel, medical care, emergencies, etc., for 2 months.

How much? Monitor your expenditures for a month, all of them, even the incidental. The easiest way to do this is keep every single receipt (making sure you ask for them!) for everything you buy, and have the other members of the family do the same. At the end of a month, tally them. Barring unusual expenses, that will give you a good starting figure.

Expect prices to go up when shortages are involved. Inflation is caused by many things - not the least of which is greed. Make sure you know more than one source to purchase goods, and that they are reliable. However, do expect there to be shortages. Even with enough money it just may not be available to buy.

If you aren't able to put aside as much cash as you like, look into the barter economy. Barter is common practice in many areas. Read up on barter at your local library and acquire goods or list services you may be able to use as currency.

E. Credit Cards

Even if retailers have managed to work out their problems with credit cards using "00" in the expiration date, they still need power, and need to be open and operating and willing to accept them. Expect to need and use cash. Also expect that prices will go up and there may be shortages.

F. Debit Cards

Debit cards to have the same liabilities as credit cards. Expect to use cash for most purchases.

Used By Permission: The Cassandra Project


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