Why Emergency Savings is Vital (& Not Just Another Random Financial Guru Talking Point)
Updated May 1, 2017
You may think I’ve always had things under control.
I mean I write about making more money and saving more money.
But things happen.
Let me know if this has happened to you.
Every-thang is coming together.
You’re up-to-date on your bills.
You’ve made significant payments on debt.
You’re thinking – YAY me.
Then [insert your something] happens.
For us, it was car issues.
Here’s a tail of an emergency and why having an emergency fund to deal with it is important.
Cross Electrocution Off My Bucket List
At first, my car emergency was a little comical.
My car died after a dog walk (for those who don’t know dog walking was one of my side hustles back in the day) in front of the dog’s house on Memorial Day when the dog’s parents were home.
Sure, a little embarrassing, but it happens.
Thankfully, my dad was in town for the weekend and he gave me a jump. All’s well that ends well.
I wake up for my Tuesday dog walk appointments.
I try to turn on the engine. No dice.
At this point, I’m a little anxious because my favorite doggy may go wee wee on himself in his crate.
Fortunately, I’m able to get a jump from someone in my parking garage although I got slightly electrocuted. But no worries, my dad said it’s only 12 volts.
I do the customary 30 minute drive to charge the battery which I didn’t do after the first jump.
I was good for the rest of the day. I even stopped by the auto repair shop for a full battery charge and really hoped that would solve the problem.
However, the car died again IN THE SAME MEMORIAL DAY SPOT.
Thankfully, the dog’s parents weren’t home this time. How awkward would that be if they were?
I would have honestly hid my car in bushes, walked 5 miles home, and begged my dad to let me use his AAA.
But the practical me asked some landscapers down the street for a jump.
Then, after not being able to start my car AGAIN after the next walk I asked another nice stranger for some help.
So, thank you good samaritans of Montgomery County, MD your engines saved me.
Plan for “Emergencies”
To make a longer story a little shorter … it cost $960 to repair the battery issue.
The joy of making my last student loan payment and becoming self-employed was overshadowed by an insanely large new bill.
But you now what?
It’s all how you prepare for it and handle it.
Honestly, we didn’t prepare for it well. I chalked this event up to being an emergency expense and prepared to dip into savings to pay for it. I mean, it’s something we couldn’t have planned for, right?
I did more research on what emergency savings should be used for and noticed that I made an error in my budget calculation.
Car repair expenses should be expected throughout the year. If we had budgeted for it, this little surprise would probably have caused less shock (and 20 straight minutes of whining.)
So think, are you budgeting for annual expenses?
Like car, home, or health maintenance?
If not, get on it! And while you’re at it put some change in a rainy day fun.
Especially if you’re planning to take your independent business full-time. When the checks aren’t coming in, you’ll need to have some money saved up to pay the bills.
Dealing With Large Unexpected Expenses
What should you do when these large expenses pop up?
Woo sah first of all. Remember that you make and save money for a reason – for survival.
Think of the reason that you’re feeling down about the bill.
Is it because you don’t have the money or would really rather spend it on something else?
If you think about money in terms of it maintaining basic needs and allowing you to provide for your family you may feel a little more positive about it.
So, were we perfect with our budget plan then? And are we perfect with it now?
No, but we’re trying hard every day especially since my income is variable.
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