NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - With freezing temperatures in the forecast, hurricane season is probably the last thing on your mind, but the start of the year may be the best time to start thinking about what you will need this summer. It's Carnival time, and while the price of throws and king cakes might be in this month's splurge budget, there might be a necessity that didn't get a column.
Dr. Walter Lane, the head of the Department of Economics and Finance at the University of New Orleans, said, "Any responsible financial planning should have if you can some type of a back up for those types of crisis. Hurricanes just happen to be one special case."
FOX 8 asked some average New Orleanians if they kept hurricane season in mind with their monthly budgets. Cordell Sartin said, "I just go into my savings and do as much as I can with what I have to work with." Wanda Phillips said, "I have a savings account just in case so me and my mother can get away." Carl Harris has a very definite plan. Harris said, "I have an emergency account that I have for evacuation. I also do mechanic work and keep my cars straight. I love the idea of preparing when I know it is eminent."
He said getting ready for storm season is a must. Harris said, "What I tend to do because I'm on a fixed income I tend to put about $50 a month on the side and by the time a hurricane does come I have a nice little travel expenses." Kemberly Washington, CPA and professor at Dillard University, said, "Right now our gas prices are really low and maybe you are saving money there start using some of that money and putting it to the side. Right now we are at tax season some of us are getting tax refunds utilize that money in a good way. Use wisdom, take that money and put it to the side." Lane said, "You have to be able to not touch that when you need all these little things."
From pre- and post-storm supplies to the cost of food, lodging and gas on the road the cost of each storm can add up. Don Redman from AAA says three days in Meridian, MS cost a family of four $50 in fuel, $312 for three nights in a hotel and $300 for food at current prices. That puts your evacuation bill at $662 with just the bare essentials and there is always a chance prices go up when a storm approaches or you need to stay away longer. Washington said, "If you have friends and family in other places consider that a plan that can go into your budget that's a great way to save. Harris said, "I prefer to prepare and if you prepare properly it's not as bad." Saving money now can save you one more worry if a storm gets close. Our experts and locals both say make sure a good chunk of your fund is in cash. Don't forget power outages and computer malfunctions limit banking during storms.
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