Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Visit by the Reverse Prize Patrol

I just love the Publisher's Clearinghouse Prize Patrol. I never get those sweepstakes entries in the mail, and if I did, I probably wouldn't fill them out. Still, I like to imagine that one day the doorbell will ring and some man will shove flowers and a check for a million dollars into my arms.

I have, however, been visited by the reverse prize patrol. What's that, you ask? The reverse prize patrol is when the doorbell rings and you find a large bill. Surprise! You owe $500.

Yep, that happened to me this week. I thought the doorbell was the UPS man when it actually was our propane delivery driver.

A 500 gallon propane tank is expensive to fill
Image from missiongas.com

Our conversation went something like this:

Me: "Gee, I thought we just sent you guys a huge check to pre-pay for our propane through April?"

Him: "Well, ma'am, that just covers you from September through April. We top off your tank before then.

Me: "......."

Him: "Ma'am, are you OK? You look a little pale and your jaw seems to be on the ground..."

Crud. August was a tight month for us and I definitely didn't have an extra $500 just kicking around.

A few years ago, this would have been a crisis. We would've had to take a cash advance on a credit card or engage in who knows what kind of financial tomfoolery to get this bill paid on time. Today, I was able to smile (after course of smelling salts and a Coke Zero) because I knew it would be completely different this time around.

We started following the Baby Steps outlined in Dave Ramsey's The Total Money Makeover two years ago. As a result, we are debt free (other than our mortgage) and have an emergency fund in place just for occasions such as this.

Preparedness is not only about surviving an end of the world scenario. Preparedness means you don't have to make last-minute runs to the store for that forgotten item because you can cover it with your food storage. It means you have the ability to take care of your family and pay your bills no matter who is president or what's going on in the world at large. It means the reverse prize patrol is nothing more than a speed bump.  Preparedness makes a difference in my every day life and, boy, does that feel good!

If you don't have an emergency fund, start today. Little bits add up. If you don't have food storage, start today. Don't wait for the reverse prize patrol to come knocking! Can I get an amen from the choir?


  1. Couldn't agree with you more on this. We started Dave Ramsey too and love our emergency fund. It gets rid of all those panic moments that emergency bills do to you. :)

  2. Before I started the emergency money fund and the food and household storage I continually had to run to the store or wait 2 weeks to find money for things. "AMEN" to be done with all of that!