The biggest mistake you can make is think that an emergency will never happen to you.
Your car might breakdown (or get rear-ended through no fault of your own). Your appendix may decide to revolt and result in an emergency room visit, surgery, and costly medical bills. You might decide that you absolutely need that dress that was marked down at your favorite store. (Hint: It’s a trap!)
You can’t predict these things. But you can prepare for them!
This is why you — right now, reading this post — have 1,000 reasons to have an emergency fund. With an emergency fund in place before you start any journey — debt repayment, saving for a house, paying for school — you can feel better knowing that you have that safety net.
This past month, I was preparing for my Virginia Beach trip when I received an unexpected bill in the mail. I have a check-up at the doctor’s in March, and she took blood to test to make sure my electrolytes and blood cells looked okay. Everything was fine…until the bill came in. I owed $102.75.
If it hadn’t been for my $1,100 emergency fund (hey, I’m an overachiever), I would have had to pull up my big girl pants and ask my boyfriend for help (aka letting me pay him for my half of vacation later than expected). Yes, I live with my parents, but they have more medical bill than income, so I try to do it all on my own.
My emergency fund saved me and I am so grateful for it. I am also grateful that the bill was not more expensive, as $102.75 is a heck of a lot better than a $1,000 emergency room bill (or car repair charge, or a month’s expenses if you lose a source of income…).
If I had taken a more substantial amount out, I would spend time building it back up. As it stands, I am only $2.75 under the recommended $1,000 fund amount…I can replenish that with change from my coin jar. I wouldn’t want my safety net to have a few holes in it the next time I need it, would I?
An emergency fund is the very first thing you need to do when you get your financial house in order.
Some recommend that, if you have more than $1,000 in an emergency fund, you reduce the account to only the $1,000 and put the remainder toward your first debt. This is really up to you. I am a cautious person, and would prefer to have 3-6 months of expenses saved up before strictly beating down my debt, but I don’t have that luxury at the moment. So for now, $1,000 will have to do.
Has an emergency fund ever saved you from going further into debt?