Although I was only 2 years old when the first big oil spill happened, I do have some memories of the Exxon Valdez disaster. The Valdez ran aground, gashing open its hull and releasing 10.8 million gallons of Canadian crude oil into the Prince William Sound and Pacific Ocean off the shore of Alaska. I mention this because now Exxon is in the news again. Except this time, it was a ruptured Exxon pipeline that dumped 84,000 gallons of Canadian crude oil into the streets, yards and creeks of Mayflower, Arkansas. The spill happened on March 29 and as of today, cleanup continues while hundreds of people have been forced out of their homes into temporary living arrangements.
Pipelines run up, down and across the entire United States and most of the time we do not hear anything about them. But then something bad happens and all of a sudden people’s lives are disrupted, property is lost, businesses close and some families lose their homes. It took years to clean up the Valdez oil spill. The Gulf of Mexico is still recovering from the BP oil spill, and it will take a long time for Arkansas to recover, too. In the meantime, perhaps we should all reconsider our support for the proposed Keystone Pipeline.
No one expects accidents, which is why they are called accidents. What if you could not work for a month? Planning for the setbacks and tragedies is why responsible adults have insurance policies. If you don’t have life insurance yet, maybe this is a good time to look into it. Get online and find out which insurance is best for you. Read up on the difference between what is term vs whole life insurance. Talk to at least 3 different companies and get information on the policies and premium rates, and take the steps to protect your loved ones if something, God forbid, happens to you. It’s the smart thing to do!
Another smart thing is to get your financial house in order and know what you make and where it goes.
· Educate yourself about financial matters, such as how your 401K is doing and
· Make a budget and track your spending.
· Balance your checking account every month
· Shop around for the best credit cards rates and switch card companies if it saves you money
· When your auto insurance policy is due to expire, check with at least 3 other companies to see if they offer more favorable rates for the same or sometimes better coverage
· Go over your bank accounts and make sure you have the best types of accounts for the types of transactions you make
· File all your important receipts and records in one place so when you have to prepare your taxes next year you don’t have to hunt for everything and possibly miss some important deductions.
And don’t forget to make the most of the money you get. I try to shop wisely, use coupons, and buy only what groceries and household I know we need and can use. Of course, I stockpile a few things in case of emergency like last year’s snow storm, and, of course, we should all be saving for a rainy day.
Do you have any financial tips to share? If there are things I forgot to mention, please leave them in the comments below.
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