While the thought of natural disasters or catastrophes can be daunting, it is reassuring to have a stockpile ready so you'll be able to take care of your family, neighbors, or others in need.

Winter storms can be brutal, causing power outages, avalanches, blizzards and evacuations.

Running to the store during these may not be an option, so it’s wise to have a ready stockpile of toiletries, nonperishable food, bottled water and batteries. When stores have these at great or rock-bottom prices, buy some extras to store away for emergencies.

Also keep a lookout for good prices on camping gear (on clearance or gently used on Craigslist) for lanterns, sleeping bags, emergency candles, first aid kits, radios, and flashlights, all which can really come in handy during disasters. Remember to invest in backpacks or travel bags to store and carry these necessities.

Tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, riots, boycotts, and shortages can–and do–happen. When your area is safe but others are in need, consider sending care packages of trial size items (that you got for cheap or free with coupons), toiletries, and simple lightweight foods, such as tuna pouches, dehydrated/freeze dried meals, or trail mix.