I have survived four hurricanes, one hit (Wilma) and three brushes (Andrew, Katrina, and Rita). From this personal experience, I have devised a plan for getting ready for hurricane season before (way before) the season.
1. Buy your canned goods now. Buy one-two cans per a grocery trip. Look for store specials and two-for-one specials. Buy food products you like, so you do not end up tossing the cans later. If you buy slowly, you will never notice the extra cost.
2. Get a cheap cell phone car charger. I got mine at Walgreens for $5.99, http://www.walgreens.com/q/ipod+car+chargers . If you lose electricity, you can charge your electronic devices while sitting in your car. After Hurricane Wilma, I was able to let my family know I was safe. Cell phone coverage was spotty, so I had to try several times. This drained my cell battery. And landlines were completely out. I was glad I had a back-up plan.
3. Also buy a power juice box. I have a Morphie, http://www.mophie.com/, which I found at Marshalls, http://www.marshallsonline.com/, for $19.00. Having electronic access enabled me to call my family and tell them what I needed via care package.
4. Get the bleach and water now, once a hurricane alert goes out, the prices increase and you have to stand in lines. Nasty lines with scared people.
5. After any holiday, I buy the holiday scented and colored candles. They are usually on sale half-price or 75% off.
6. I keep a small camping propane grill. I bought mine at the end of the summer, so that it was on sale. Do not buy the grill or the propane refills at the grocery store. The prices are double. I also purchased my matches and lighters at the same time (at a camping supply store).
7. Have books, board games, and cards on hand. I experienced ten days of no electricity. The cost of a generator was beyond my budget. I needed to entertainment my daughter and me without electricity.
8. Batteries sold at the dollar stores work the same as batteries from regular stores. I buy several packs of different sizes at little to no cost. Buy them now, and be ready.
9. Make a list now. On that list include the needs of your household in order of importance. Things you might consider in the home and family:
Location of your home (relative to grocery and gas stations)
Once you have a list, note what you need, any important phone numbers, and how you should take action once a hurricane may possibly brush or hit your area. For example, I do not normally stock extra pet food or medicines, so those items are at the top of my list. If South Florida is even mentioned in the hurricane cone, I call the pharmacy immediately and buy the pet food immediately.
Saying you are preparing for a hurricane is a bit of an oxymoron. No one is ever really prepared. And how you prepare is relative to your family. This list is by no means comprehensive for every one.
There are things you cannot or should not do until it looks like a hurricane brush or hit is imminent. But completing the tasks on this list will make that time less stress free and costly.