The Value of a Good First Aid Kit

Do you keep a first aid kit handy?

 

We were reminded of the need to have a good first aid kit twice yesterday. One was a reminder at home (where we have a very comprehensive kit) and the second was when we were out and about and we saw some of the inadequacies of the small kit we keep in our car.

 

In the morning, our six year old fell off his bike and did a good number on his knee. In the afternoon, we had a family outing to the beach and got a second, even stronger reminder of the importance of having that first aid kit around.

 

The fall at the beach felt like a total parent fail. Our son was jumping from rock to rock a few feet out into the water. He was having so much fun. I was holding his hand. He jumped to a rock that wasn’t quite stable and it shifted as his weight hit it. Fortunately I had his hand, but as the rock moved, his other leg (i.e. the one not banged up on his bike) took a pretty good beating.

 

His scrapes were all pretty superficial, but ran over the length of his lower leg and there was significant bleeding.

 

We bandaged him up in the parking lot and he was no worse for the wear. After we got home he couldn’t sit still and was soon back on his bike riding the neighborhood.

 

After the fireworks were over though, we changed up his bandages before bed and he was not happy. Fortunately, we had the home first aid kit to use since we depleted everything in our car kit earlier at the beach.

 

Why tell this story on a personal finance blog?

 

First off, it is good practice to have a first aid kit both at home and in your car. Especially if you have kids. They get scratched up all the time, and you want to be prepared. It’s the smart thing to do.

 

But it’s a useful illustration on the personal finance front, too.

 

Getting your finances in order are kind of liking having a first aid kit. Yes, this is by analogy – medical stuff is in a league of its own – being prepared on the personal finance front is really important – because you never know what life is going to send your way.

 

So as you recover from the celebrations of the holiday we had yesterday, here are a couple quick reminders of how to build your personal finance “first aid” kit:

  • Build up an emergency savings account. See tips on how to do this here. Don’t worry about where you are today, just start doing it. We recommend using a higher interest rate online savings account – the higher rates will help you build your funds quicker than really low rate bricks and mortar savings accounts.
  • Get your spending under control. The math is pretty simple – you want to spend less than you earn. It’s the only way to avoid debt. Track your expenses, know where you money is going – and find ways to keep more of it. Read more on how to do this here.
  • Avoid unnecessary debt. Carrying balances on your credit cards are doubly painful. The rates are really high, and it essentially limits financial choices you can make tomorrow. Go here for ideas on how to tackle this.
  • Forget about keeping up with others. It’s not worth it to spend money to keep up with other people, or to make a status statement on your own. It’s all fleeting.

Take a few moments today and take stock of where you are at, and what you need to do to build your personal finance first aid kit. And don’t forget to have some first aid supplies in case you need them for an emergency.

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