Fabulously Frugal Power Loss Prep!
Hey gang!  You’ll never guess where I got the idea for this week’s  Column.  Power outages like we experienced last week remind me time and again of how rotten a pioneer woman I’d be.  Really bad.  However, with some basic tools and strategies, you can power thru the next outage (pun intended), even without a costly generator!
1 – Full the bathtub.  Not for drinking water – bleah – but for an easy and effortless way to flush the toilet even without power.  One bucket poured into the toilet is an effective flush.
2 – Turn your car into a generator!  Sean C. of West Chester emailed me to tell me about his power inverter, which turns DC current from your car into AC current for electric gadgets!  How is it I never heard of these before?  It’s the next best thing to a generator when it comes to surviving a prolonged blackout.  Small units can easily recharge a computer of phone, larger ones can power a refrigerator or power tools.
3 – Stock up on batteries.  This one is a no brainer, but you’d be amazed how many people have tons of flashlights at the ready, only to find that the batteries are shot.
4 – Get the grill ready to work!  Stock up on propane for that grill, because nothing says “civilization” in a blackout like eating some fabulously hot food.
5 – Make sure your CO detectors are working – Blackouts often lead to carbon monoxide emergencies.  Why?  In order to get heat during outages, people crank up gas stoves, fireplaces, and all types of heaters – and anything that burns produces carbon monoxide.  So make sure you have a battery-operated CO detector ready to go.
6 – Protect the big appliances! When the power comes back on, it can often create power surges.  Those power surges can be a disaster for today’s gorgeous-yet-fragile sensitive electronics in TV, computers and appliances.  So be sure to unplug anything that might contain electronic components.
7 – Get cash!  In a prolonged blackout, when credit cards are useless, cash is king.
8 – Scrape the snow and ice off your car!  This one is personal.  Last week, Victor was heading home on the Turnpike when a truck going the opposite direction at 70 mph lost a huge piece of ice, which flew into Victor’s windshield as he was traveling 60 mph in the other direction.  Yeah, it was a crazy scare.  The windshield was destroyed, and our nerves were shot.  Things are back to normal, but the windshield will cost about $500 to replace.  So if not for yourself, keep the roof of your car snow and ice free for the sake of your fellow money-saving citizens out there.  Stay safe, and frugal on!

Kristen Hagopian is a Syndicated Radio Talk Show Host, Columnist & Author of Brilliant Frugal Living.  “The Kristen Hagopian Show” airs on over 80 Stations Nationwide via the BizTalk Radio Network, find your local station at www.BrilliantFrugalLiving.com.
She lives with her husband & kids in their fabulous fixer upper Victorian in Chester County, PA.  She is honored to be connected with the crew at the Detox Treatment Help Line (800-287-7891) and Elite Rehab (800-932-4082) to help get the word out about their proven strategies to steer the ones you love away from drug abuse. You can find her online at