When I say “emergency” you say “fun”… Emergency!… no? Nothing? Since the dawn of time people have been messing up, making mistakes, falling down stairs, wrecking cars, feeding the dog a Hershey’s bar, and putting holes in their roofs. Okay, maybe not the last one but these situations would all make up a barrel full of emergency fun. Some people have more barrels than others, but we can all admit that everyone has a barrel. “Stuff” is going to happen. I’m going to be a little proactive with the “stuff” and not pretend it doesn’t exist. Only way to combat an overflow of emergency fun is an emergency fund.
- It is going to happen.
We can budget until the cows come home from their weekend in Cabo, but disaster will still strike on our finances. I like to plan what I will spend my money on, but without a crystal ball or Delorean then knowing when a semi-truck tire is going to fly off and hit my car is a bit tough. Can’t fight the inevitable, it is going to happen.
- Peace of mind
When I had a big test the next day in college it was hard to sleep if I knew that I didn’t study and wasn’t prepared. How did you ever sleep the night before tests you ask? Don’t worry I got over it quickly, but the point is still the same. Having a plan in place is better than “winging” it. $1000 in the bank as oppose to $0 in the bank will allow me to sleep like a little baby. I have enough to worry about.
- Gain momentum
I have saved $1000? Well then that means I’m actually doing it. I have committed to a lifestyle change just enough that it is no longer an idea in my head, but I am one step closer to paying all my debt off. It won’t be easy by any means, but at the same time sparks the ‘I can actually do this’ attitude.
- Keep momentum
I hate when I stub my toe. I wish I would stub my toe on a pillow or a cat, but rather it always seems to be a wall. No give or leniency when it come to the toe vs wall matchup. If I am paying off debt and my car breaks down, without an emergency fund everything comes to a complete stop. No give or leniency. Flip side, an emergency fund allows me to fix the car, continue to pay debt, and keep on truckin’ (or sedanin’)
- No crutch, no problem
When I was little I would run to my mommy if I scraped my knee. She would fix it, or at least make it good enough to go back outside and keep playing. She fixed the problem so the decision was easy. I got in a similar habit when something unexpected would come up. I would briskly walk (not run) to my wallet and pull out the credit card. I “fixed” the problem or at least made it better for the time being. An emergency fund breaks that bad habit and saves me from ever briskly walking again.
Ever heard of Murphy’s Law? It is not a real law, kind of like the speed limit, but applies to the frequency of emergencies. Life likes to kick you when you are down. One car broke down that I can’t afford to fix? Boom, make it both cars. Problems didn’t and won’t go away the second an emergency fund exists, but I believe suddenly life isn’t as concerned with ruining your life. Call it magic.
- Forward thinking
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Always loved that question in an interview. Quick answer: “your boss”. Planning and thinking long-term is never a bad thing. When I plan for the unplanned it quickly switches my thinking from the now to the then. Today’s problem can stay in that day and cannot affect what I do moving forward.
Just had to remind myself. An emergency is going to come up. Not just once, but Cyndi Lauper style. Time after Time.
- Problem, not money problem
No one did the emergency fun cheer at the beginning because emergencies aren’t fun. They are stressful and sometimes scary. An emergency fund lessens the blow. Instead of worrying about the issue and money, when little Billy breaks his arm we can care for little Billy the best we know how instead of duct taping his arm to a 2×4 because we are worried about medical bills.
I’m not trying to sell insurance, but this is insurance. $1000 saved up, and set away for emergencies. That’s it. You can’t afford to not take this advice. No really, you can’t.