Let's start with the basics. What is an emergency fund? And emergency is just that…money set aside for emergencies. I know…seems so simple, right?
Life happens. Someone gets sick. The car breaks down or needs new tires. Your roof leafs. Your washer finally bit the dust. Your hours at work get cut. You get the picture. So, what happens when one of those things happen? How are you going to pay the bill?
Do you have a plan in place? Are you going to grab your credit card, pay the bill and then just pay the monthly minimums (which then accrues all of that interest)? Borrow from a friend or your parents?
What if…stay with me here…you had saved money. Saved money for those emergencies in life. What if you had the CASH to:
Pay that bill?
Pay the rent or mortgage?
Buy food for your family?
Make the repair without thinking twice?
NOT put the charge on your credit card?
Would that take the pressure off of well…everything?
I am a BIG time advocate for an emergency fund.
I have lived my life with plenty…and sometimes with nothing. When my husband did not receive a pay check for 15 months we were not stressed. We had the cash. We paid all of our essentials from our emergency fund.
So, how much money should be in your emergency fund?
First, lets start with what I consider an emergency:
Home repair that can't wait
Paying your rent/mortgage
Buying food for yourself and your family
Now, let's go to what an emergency fund is NOT:
Flat screen TV on sale
New clothes or shoes (Unless your baby has outgrown them)
Fancy food and snacks
Every single channel on your Direct TV package
Basically, an emergency fund is to only be used for essentials. Anything you can live without…is not an emergency.
How to calculate how much you need –
Make a list of your essential expenses:
Car gas/Transportation expenses
Debt, Loans, credit cards, etc
Assign a $ amount to each. Add them up – that is what you need each month…in case of an emergency.
Multiple that $ amount by 6 months. That is what you have saved if you needed to pay your bills for 6 months. Once you get to your 6 months…tack on 3 more. With what is happening in the world today…9 months with limited or no income could be a high probability.
Yes, in order to save for an emergency fund you need to cut back on today's spending. Is it worth it? I am 100% positive it is. Ask anyone who has lost their job. How would having an emergency fund saved them from all the stress and trauma of not being able to pay their bills.
I have tons of posts about budgets and money. Check them out HERE.
Looking for a few ways to save some cash…to put towards that emergency fund? I got ya covered. Go on and grab: