Friday, September 27, 2013

The Importance of an Emergency Fund

I know I haven't been around much lately, and I honestly don't see that changing a whole lot in the very near future.  I don't ever get on my computer anymore lately unless there's something specific I need to do.  I do still use my phone to get online for a few things, but typing anything very long out on that is a major pain.

Today I'm paying bills, and I am thanking God again that we took the time to make an emergency fund before putting all of our extra money toward debt.  When I said something about that to someone else, they looked at me like I was crazy and said "But you didn't rely on your dad's income or anything right?  Why does it really matter to your finances?" 

Here's the thing, a trip to Missouri from North Dakota isn't cheap.  Neither is eating out at least once a day every day for over a week, because you are at the hospital from 9 am to 9 pm.  Especially when you are providing food for extended family as well (we didn't pay for it every single time, but we did the majority of the time, because it just made the most sense for my husband to be the one to go get it).  Gas to get to and from the hospital (over 25 miles each way) isn't cheap, especially in a minivan.  Sending my husband and son away from the hospital for a few hours a day wasn't exactly cheap either.  We ended up buying two new shirts for me (one for visitation, one for the funeral) as well as new shoes, two new shirts for my husband, and a new shirt for Elliott.  We also bought the flag display case for my dad's service flag, and another case for my mom to display some of my dad's things in.  Due to my mom now living alone we also did several things around her house to increase security, and those things weren't cheap either, but we certainly didn't want her to have to pay for any of them. 

And then there's the loss of income.  Yes, my husband took vacation time from his full time job in the Air Force, so he was still paid for his time off.  But he didn't have vacation hours from his second job to take.  So over the course of nearly 3 weeks, he lost around $400 in income.

A lot of those expenses were things I wouldn't have even given much thought to, when planning what an emergency might look like for my household.  Luckily I had enough in my emergency fund to cover most of it anyway (and the rest? It came out of the paycheck we got paid while in Missouri, that would normally go to paying off extra debt, and from our Christmas fund, so none of it had to be extra credit card debt).

And while, of course, the timing is NEVER good for something like this to happen, it did seem like an incredibly bad time with all the expenses that come at this time of the year for us.  Things like school pictures, first fund raisers, my cosmetology license renewal, new shoes, and a major growth spurt that shot Elliott right out of shoes we just bought and into the next size jeans.

So now our debt repayment plans are on hold, probably for the rest of the year, since we need to build our emergency fund back up and save to go see my mom again at Christmas time.  But there are things more important than money, and family is definitely one of them!


Theresa Mahoney said...

Having an emergency fund is so important! Getting hit with unexpected bills can be a real burden. We always try to have 3 months salary tucked away we can dip into for those times.

I agree, family trumps all else!

mail4rosey said...

Are you a cosmetologist?

You're right, unexpected expenses come when everything else is due too...Murphy's Law.

Carla said...

I haven't actually worked doing hair since Elliott was just a little guy (I worked every other Saturday is all even then, but quit completely to stay home when he was 14 months old). I hold onto my license, though, because eventually I might go back. :)

Carla said...

Three months is our goal, too, but part of that is not easily accessible. :) We didn't end up using that account, and instead just relied on what its more easily accessible which is about one months worth of bills. It is amazing how quickly we went through that, though.

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