Why do you need an emergency fund? Because emergencies happen whether you have one or not. Here is an example.
It happened at the worst possible time. Emergencies usually do. It was the middle of June, I had a three week old baby and a 19-month-old toddler and the AC in my car had gone out.
We were halfway to my oldest son's nursery school when it happened.
We live in South Alabama where the temperatures reach triple digits in the summer with 100 percent humidity. My car was like an oven.
We only have one car that can hold carseats so there wasn't a back up plan. My grandfather had taken ill so my parents weren't available to lend us a car or a ride.
We had to get the AC fixed so doctor's appointments could be made and groceries could be purchased.
That means we had to shell out the money to fix it. So on a sweltering Alabama morning in June I walked into the local mechanic's shop, heard the total to fix my car, handed over my debit card and didn't bat an eye. We had an emergency fund in place.
I didn't LOVE the idea of seeing that much cash go flying from my bank account. But I also felt relieved it was there to begin with.
I could drive my children from place to place and not worry that my newborn would get overheated in the backseat.
Just three weeks ago our fridge went out. We woke up one morning to spoiled milk and realized it was not cold... at all. I called around and got the cost of a fridge repair man and realized that buying a new fridge was almost the same price.
I logged onto the hardware store website, picked out fridge, thanked God for the money and went about my business. (Read how to save money on large appliances.)
Again, I wasn't THRILLED that it had happened but I felt peace in the moment.
That is what having an emergency fund does when true emergencies happen. It gives you peace in the moment.
Without an emergency fund everything is an emergency. Every bump and tear and scrape and scratch that would cost $200, $300, $500 feels like the Grand Canyon.
Without an emergency fund a small crisis become big crisis as a credit card gets swiped and you just get yourself further and further down into the snake pit.
Without an emergency fund nights are spent wondering how you will make all the pieces fit.
I know it seems hard to scratch together $1,000. But it's not as insurmountable as it sounds. Start small. Start with a $100 and go from there.
Next week I will talk more about building your emergency fund during the month of May. So come back.
What about you? What emergencies have popped up in your life when you needed that money?