Just finished our 2012 family budget; I’ve been doing my budgets for home and work on spreadsheets since the days of VisiCalc. It is getting tighter for us to make ends meet, but if we can quit adopting sick cats and helping out destitute friends and relatives, each who say that they “keep track of my finances in my head,” we should be okay at least for another year. The taxes and health insurance costs are murderous, but I assume those problems are nationally pervasive. It is funny that the government programs to help the needy are not available to help the needy that I know. Quite frankly I am growing weary of people practicing foolhardy financial hygiene for their entire lives then loudly adorning themselves in the robes of victimhood when their world falls apart. Please BUDGET, people. Quit spending money you don’t have on things you really do not need. In my blue, gray, and white-collar lifetime I was amazed to meet so many people who felt qualified to manage multi-million dollar corporate budgets when they lived one paycheck away from bankruptcy. Money in your personal bank account is power and freedom. Debt indentures you to a life of sycophancy and servitude, which is exactly where the banks and politicians (and occasionally, your spouse or significant other) want you to be.
As far as our other contingencies, today I exercised the engines on the portable generator, both snow blowers, and (optimistically) the riding lawn mower. I have cut down on the emergency supply of food and household paper products so I can reorganize the basement, but I expect to be done with that project and fully restocked before the end of the Mayan calendar when the gods shower cataclysmic horror down on our poor defenseless little noggins.