Here’s an emergency fund you can eat
Cash can help you survive an emergency, but saving as much as financial planners typically recommend — three to six months’ worth of expenses — can take years.
You can build an edible emergency fund a lot quicker.
A well-stocked pantry can help you survive a natural disaster or extended blackout, get through a stretch of unemployment, ensure you always have something tasty for dinner — and save you money.
The key to doing it right: Store what you eat, and eat what you store.
You can spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on an emergency food kit. Chances are pretty good, though, that those prepackaged versions will include stuff you or your family won’t eat. Food not eaten is money wasted.
You’re much better off stocking up on foods you like and then using that stock, replenishing it as you go. Your first goal can be a two-week supply of food, which is what the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends every family keep on hand. Once you have that stored, consider boosting your supply over time to cover one to three months. Here’s how to start: ■ Create a two-week menu. Write down what you would feed your family for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for 14 days. Don’t forget side dishes, drinks and desserts. It’s OK to repeat meals if that’s what you do in nonemergency situations. Don’t forget to include water: at least a gallon per person per day .
■ Stress-test the menu. How many of the meals could you prepare with ingredients that don’t require refrigeration? Without it, food in your fridge will last about a day, in the freezer two or three. Perishables — fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy — might not be available. What shelf-stable ingredients can you substitute? Some foods you can find at the supermarket have long shelf lives, such as rice, dried beans and canned foods. Others such as eggs, milk, vegetables, fruit and meat are available in dried or freeze-dried forms.
■ Decide which of those substitutions you can actually tolerate. Powdered milk is an example of something that’s great in theory but that some people find revolting in reality. My family uses it to bake with, and we keep shelf-stable almond milk around to drink.
■ Think about how you’d prepare each meal. If the gas and electricity are out, you’ll need some way to heat meals such as a camp stove or a grill. Between the ingredients and cooking time required, some meals aren’t practical options, so look for others that are easier to store and cook.
■ Create an ingredients list. Once you’ve settled on your final list of meals, list every ingredient for every meal and how much you’ll need of each.
■ Don’t forget the treats. Comfort foods and familiar flavors can help you through tough times. Coffee and tea drinkers will want an ample supply, but everyone might appreciate hot chocolate, sweeteners, condiments, spices and hard candies.
■ Figure out where to keep it. People can get creative about storage in small spaces, parking emergency food under their beds or behind their couches. I’d rather have food where I can see it, so I cleared some old appliances from the kitchen and added some open shelving to our laundry room.
■ Fill out your pantry. Compare what you need with what you have, and start shopping to fill in the gaps. Use coupons and sales to stock up gradually.
Imagine charging your electric car as easily as you charge your electric toothbrush.
Or, imagine your car charging itself as it drives down the road.
Those scenarios are not as farfetched as you might think. In fact, a group of tech gurus who gathered recently in San Diego discussed how a wireless electric vehicle is about to become a reality.
“This is definitely coming,” said Jesse Schneider, chairman of the wireless task force for the Society of Automotive Engineers, an international group working to develop common standards to make sure the sector’s competing technologies work together.
Car buyers are familiar with plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles, but companies such as Qualcomm seek to jump-start the transition from internal combustion to zero-emission cars with “inductive” charging.
Instead of charging a vehicle with a plug or cable, the driver using a wireless system aligns the car over a charging pad and
When consumers can have almost anything delivered from Amazon.com within an hour, order via Dash buttons or through Amazon Echo’s virtual personal assistant Alexa, what does the traditional convenience store still have to offer?
Joe DePinto, chief executive officer of 7-Eleven, has been in charge of the world’s biggest convenience store chain since 2005, during this age of Amazon and a time when credit card-accepting gas pumps mean no one has to come inside the store.
“The landscape is changing so fast. Yes, there’s Amazon and there’s GrubHub . ... It’s all about immediate consumption,” DePinto said.
“We have to be prepared and ready in ways that our customers want. And the last four or five years, we’ve had our heads down, grinding it out. And we’re doing a lot of things right.”
He’s focused on what you want to eat when you’re dieting, and when you want to splurge. He cares about how much you’ll pay for a single roll of paper towels, and that pure alkaline water is a thing with athletes.
Stopping at the corner store is still a habit for many, and 7-Eleven wants to remain as relevant as it was 90 years ago when it got its start in Dallas. The company’s corporate headquarters are now
Your budget should help you do what you love, not leave you stuck at home, afraid to spend one extra penny. That’s why I follow the “pay yourself first” philosophy, which means saving some of your income as you earn it. That puts your longer-term savings on autopilot, while you cover regular expenses out of your day-today budget.
But when money is tight, it’s easy to feel like you’ll never go to the movies or buy a sketchbook again. And feeling deprived by your budget makes it more likely you’ll abandon it with a spontaneous shopping spree.
“If you’re not doing things that are essential and restorative, an electromagnetic field does the rest.
“Customers wait for the green light and then walk away, knowing when they come back they will be more fully charged or fully charged, depending on how long they were away,” Schneider said. “You can actually just park over the wireless charging system and everything is done automatically after that.”
The technology has been talked about for years but, starting with the hybrid version of the 2018 in Irving.
“As long as we don’t all become hermits there will always be a need to get out, get gas and grab something to go,” said Craig Rosenblum, senior director at food retail consultancy Willard Bishop.
The industry has roughly doubled in size over the last three decades and ended last year with 154,535 stores in the U.S.
The 7-Eleven brand “is still the face of the industry,” said Jeff Lenard, vice president at the National Association of Convenience Stores.
Its Slurpees and Big Bite hot dogs have left a good taste in the mouths of millennials. More than 50 percent of 7-Eleven’s customers Mercedes-Benz S550e, wireless vehicle-charging technology will make its debut. The German automaker reached an agreement with Qualcomm to use the San Diegobased company’s Halo technology as a feature on the luxury car, which has a base price of $96,600.
A slew of other car makers are about to enter the wireless-charging market as well.
And in addition to Qualcomm, tech companies such as Evatran, Momentum Dynamics, Witricity are millennials, and now they’re old enough to buy beer and wine.
“This generation grew up with a different convenience store,” Lenard said. “Young people see the convenience store as a place where they can pick up a good sandwich. Older generations think of the bathroom key attached to an old hubcap or a block of wood. That’s not as appealing.”
Last year, 7-Eleven’s combined U.S. and Canada sales were estimated at $25 billion, with 60 percent or $15 billion coming from inside the store and 40 percent from gasoline pumps, according to Supermarket News.
Healthy and cheap are two words that aren’t often associated and Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification offer versions of wireless vehicle charging.
“Every global car marker has an active program for wireless charging,” said Grant Reig, senior product manager at Massachusetts-based Witricity. “Look for this to be quite mainstream by 2020.”
Expect charging pads to be seen first in the garages of electric vehicle owners. Schneider said the systems will cost “a few thousand dollars.” Some models run as low as just under $1,500.
But the ultimate goal is to take vehicle charging beyond the parking space — and put it on the road, literally.
What’s called dynamic charging foresees a future where vehicles charge themselves as they drive. Using coils embedded in roads, electric vehicles would refuel as they stay in transit, creating their own self-perpetuating electrical loop. It’s similar to the way some mobile devices get charged.
“What we could potentially see with the wireless power transfer is incredibly exciting,” said Andrew Hoskinson of San Diego’s Center for Sustainable Energy. with convenience stores. But 7-Eleven says it’s doing its best to change that.
DePinto, 54, has fundamentally changed 7-Eleven from a retailer that owned half its stores, to a company supporting stores that are 90 percent owned by entrepreneurs.
“We’re providing independent business owners with the tools to be successful,” DePinto said. “We want them to be strong and proud of the brand.”
7-Eleven now has 800 proprietary store-branded products. Franchisees can pick and choose from a mix to tailor their stores to their neighborhoods. On average about 15 percent of the items in a 7-Eleven store will vary.
Last year, 7-Eleven’s combined U.S. and Canada sales were estimated at $25 billion, with 60 percent coming from inside the store and 40 percent from gas pumps, according to Supermarket News. The company began 90 years ago in Dallas, with corporate headquarters now in Irving.
Wireless charging systems like the Qualcomm Halo are about to make their way into the mainstream, experts say.