For most of us, it’s not just a bunch of CDs and MP3s. It’s the soundtrack of our lives. And when you have something that important, you want to make sure that it’s around, safe and sound for a long, long time.
So let’s take a few minutes, grab that music collection of yours and back it up for safekeeping. And who knows? You might even be able to put that amazing vinyl jazz solo you love, on your smartphone!
1. Back Up Your MP3s
Do you have MP3 or other digital music files on your computer, smartphone or other devices?
On your PC or Mac, create a folder called “Backup Music (dd/mm/yy)” using today’s date.
Grab all of your devices and take a few moments to download, send or save all of your MP3s (or other digital music files) to your computer. Then put all of those MP3s into the backup folder.
Locate all of the digital music on your computer’s hard drive. Leaving the originals where they are, make copies of the music folders and place them into the backup folder.
2. Deal With CDs, Cassettes & Vinyl Albums
Gather all your CDs, Vinyl Albums and Cassettes and set them on a nearby table.
Although all of your music is important, some means more to you than others.
Separate your CDs, cassettes and vinyl albums into two piles.
Pile One: Music you love that you want to copy and preserve digitally for safekeeping.
Pile Two: Music that you:
A) Already have in MP3 format.
B) Have numerous copies of the album in other locations (double check that this is true).
C) Simply don’t care about preserving.
Go ahead and put the music in pile two back where you found it.
3. Convert Your CDs to MP3s
Convert the CDs to MP3s using Windows Media Player (for PCs) or Audacity for Mac. Just pop in the CD into your computer, open the software and follow the instructions.
Once they’re ripped, save copies of each album to the regular music folder on your computer and to your new backup folder.
And while you’re at it, don’t forget to download your favorite songs to your iPod or smartphone.
4. Convert Your Cassettes & Albums to MP3s
Here are a few easy ways we’ve found to convert your cassettes or albums to MP3s.
There are several vinyl album to MP3 recorders available including the Crosley Memory Master II 3-Speed Turntable with CD Player/Recorder . The nice thing about that one is that it converts cassettes and vinyl to CD or to MP3s. And if you only have cassettes to convert, there is the ION Tape Express.
Once you’ve saved copies of your cassettes and vinyl albums, save them to the regular music folder on your computer, to your new backup folder and don’t forget to put your favorites on your smartphone or MP3 player.
And while you’re at it, how about helping mom, dad, grandma or grandpa preserve their old albums while you’re at it. An MP3 player or new iPhone X or Samsung Galaxy full of their favorite songs would make a GREAT gift!
5. Backing Up Your Music For Safe Keeping
Since we’ve been talking about preserving your music, once you’ve got it all backed up, it only makes sense to keep it safe and sound.
So save a copy of your Backup Music folder onto a flash drive or a portable hard drive and place it in at least two secure, damage-proof locations, away from home for safekeeping.
Here are a few suggestions on places to put it:
In a watertight Plastic Evacuation Bin.
In a safe deposit box in your own city.
In a water/fireproof safe in your own city.
In a safe deposit in a pre-determined evacuation location
In a password protected file on Dropbox, iCloud, OneDrive or family web site.
A firefighter knocks on your door. You open it and he tells you that there’s an emergency in the neighborhood affecting your home and that have only 10 minutes to evacuate. Now. And chances are, you won’t be able to set foot in your home for three or more days.
How much money would you need to take care of yourself and your family until you get back home?
Five hundred dollars?
Do you have that much cash in the house?
And even if you do, is it really safe to carry that much cash around with you during a disaster?
Remember the thousands of people fleeing Hurricane Maria, Hurricane Harvey or California’s Camp, Thomas and Mendocino Wildfires? Definitely not!
What you really need are twodifferent things.
A specific amount of cash & ACCESS to your money.
Let’s find out how much you would need to take care of your family…
Grab a pencil and paper and answer the following questions.
If you needed to leave your area due to a disaster evacuation, could you still access money from your bank in a different neighborhood? A different city? A different state?
Do you know how much money you can take out of your primary bank’s ATM at one location? During one 24 hour period?
If you could only use cash on hand for one to three weeks, how much cash would you and your family need to take care of your normal expenses?
Do you know how much credit you have available on your credit cards? Is it possible for you to get an emergency increase? If so, do you know how to get one?
If there was a disaster in your geographical area that affected workplace as well as your home, would you still receive a paycheck from your company? Do you receive you check via direct deposit, via mail or do you physically pick it up?
Well how did you do?
If you’re like most people, you were scratching your head by the second question and running for your statements and calculator by the third.
Here are a few recommendations to make sure that you can access your money, any time and any place that you need it.
Bank Accounts/Access to Cash
Know how much you and your family would most likely need for up to five days and then up to three weeks, without access to your local bank. Here’s a great rule of thumb.
What you usually spend in one week on: Groceries, Pharmacy/Drug Store, Gasoline and your co-payment for two urgent care/doctor/ER visits. Once you have that figure, add 25% more to cover unexpected expenses. An easy way to save the money, is to put away a certain amount every week — let’s say $20, until you meet your goal.
If you live in a disaster prone area, consider keeping a certain amount of cash ($200-400), in a safe at home or in your evacuation location.
Know how much you can take out of the bank per ATM and per day.
Place a copy of a bank statement/check from each bank account and copies of your credit cards and debit cards (front and back) on a password protected flash drive in your emergency bin, in your safe deposit box and in a safe deposit box in your evacuation location.
If that new account won’t be your main account, be sure to deposit a little money in it or make a small ATM withdrawal every few months to keep it active.
Make sure that one of your bank accounts is with a major bank that gives you nationwide access to your money. We’ll get into this more in the next section.
Know your credit limit and the customer service number you would have to call to temporarily raise it. Make sure that you note those limits, customer service numbers and any rules or guidelines on your Vital Information Grab It & Go Form.
If you have more than one credit card or debit card, choose at least two different brands. For example a Visa and a MasterCard or Discover card. That way if one is not accepted at a store or restaurant, the other one probably will be. Going from one restaurant to another with a car full of hungry children, isn’t fun!
The most important part of this exercise is…
Knowing how much money you need to have at your fingertips
Where to keep it, so that you can access even more money quickly and easily.
What About Your Bank?
When you chose your current bank, you probably considered things like their good interest rates, proximity to your home or their friendly tellers.
Making sure that you had 24/7 access to your money in an emergency, wherever you are, probably wasn’t in your top ten criteria. Unfortunately good interest rates and friendly tellers aren’t going to help you feed your children and fill up your gas tank in an unfamiliar town.
Fortunately technology is on your side. Most major brick and mortar and online banks give you access to your money wherever you are in the country. With them, you can bank online, transfer money between accounts or to other people, and even deposit checks into an ATM which can be a huge selling point if that paycheck you’re holding is going to help you exist for the coming week. Another perq is nationwide access to ATMs nationwide or fee rebates if you have to use another bank’s ATM. With a debit card, you can even make purchases or get cash back without a fee, if you can’t find an ATM.
Just remember, if this new account won’t be your main account, be sure to use the ATM card or make a deposit every now and then, so it remains open.
And It’s Not Just About Disasters…
By the way, it doesn’t take a natural disaster for you to need immediate access to your money. What about a medical emergency? You’re in the emergency room and need cash, but the hospital only has one ATM, and it’s not for your bank. Or your car could break down a hundred miles away from home. Or, as we’ve all learned the last several years, banks can be taken over by federal regulators, severely limiting depositor access for days or weeks.
So what’s the moral of the story? Actually we have two.
1. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
2. Make sure you have baskets every place you need them.
Keep these two things in mind when managing your money, and you’ll be in better shape than 95% of your friends. But do me a favor. Once you have things set up for yourself, share what you’ve learned. Your friends will thank you for it.
Picture each item, focusing especially on the items that mean the most to you or have the most monetary value. When you’re done open your eyes. Did you miss anything? If you’re like most people, no matter how certain you were that you remembered everything, you still missed a lot of things that you would want to replace.
And even if you did pretty well, do you know off the top of your head what items were still under warranty, what was insured and for how much? In other words, if this hadn’t been an exercise, but an insurance agent or a police officer writing down a list of your valuables after a burglary or a hurricane, would you have been happy with the list you made?
I didn’t think so.
Memory is a wonderful thing, but it can be affected by many factors, like stress, trauma and fatigue – exactly the things that happen during an emergency. That’s why putting together a list of your treasured or valued objects while they’re sitting in your living room and still in great condition is a MUCH better idea.
And while we’re at it, that reminds me of something else we all have to deal with. I don’t know about you, but to us, it seems like there’s a new cellphone, computer, or gadget of some kind out in the stores every day.
Every time you decide to buy a new one, it comes with more cords and manuals than anyone has room to store. And if you decided to spring for the protection plan too, that hits the mailbox a few days later. With just a few new toys, you can easily end up with a folder full of paper.
Who can keep up with that?
YOU can! And very easily, too. In the Action Steps below, we’re going to create a Home Inventory. Just go through the steps, and decide room by room what items to include. In fact if you have kids or grandkids in the house, this is a great project for them. Once you decide which items to include, send them off on a scavenger hunt, list in hand along with a digital and video camera and have them take photos of each item. Then when they’re done, enter each item along with its information into our downloadable Home Inventory Form, and you’re done.
And if you want a copy of these instructions for later, just Click hereto download the PDF Version.
1. Download Our Home Inventory List
Click here to grab a copy of ourHome Inventory Form, or if you already own our book Ready, you’ll find copies in the book and in the downloadable forms.
2. Grab Your Cameras & A Pencil
Go get your video camera, your digital camera, your list and a pencil and begin walking through each room of your home. Start with the living room, usually home to the most expensive electronic equipment.
3. Document All the Info You Can Find
For each valued item, (electronics, furniture, cars, art, jewelry or any other items that would be expensive to replace or repair), fill in a short description, the manufacturer, serial number and any other information you know about it.
If you have a copy of your warranty information, or original purchase receipts for any of the valued items, note the information on them on the Home Inventory List, then put those documents on the side until Step 6.
4. Your Chance To Play Spielberg
As you stop at each item, take a digital photo of it, to show its current condition. If the item is damaged in a disaster, you’ll have proof of the item’s original condition to give to the claims adjuster. It will also remind you what the item looked like, if it ever needs to be replaced
5. Spielberg Revisited
Once you’re finished with the room, grab your video camera and do a quick video tour. At the beginning of the videotape, clearly state today’s date and the room you’re photographing. And while you’re taping, be sure to show the general condition of the room as well as your valued items.
6. Paperwork, paperwork
Gather all of the warranties, protection plans, certificates of insurance, provenance papers and receipts that you have found, and put them in the same location. It doesn’t matter whether it is a file folder or a section inside your safe. Just make sure that every time you purchase a new item that comes with any of this paperwork, that you put it in the same place.
7. Now for safekeeping…
Print, scan or make three copies of the Home Inventory List, the walking tour photos, the video and the warranties, receipts and other documents that you located earlier and store them in at least three secure, damage-proof locations. That way if one or two of the locations are inaccessible, you’ll still be able to grab the information you need.
And that’s it! Just follow the steps and you’re done. No more having to remember every single thing in your house. Just be sure to update your list every six months. Or if you watch a lot of QVC or HSN, every four months…
Want to download a copy of the instructions for later? Click Hereto download the PDF Version.
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together! We’ll talk later…