The Importance of an Emergency Fund

Life is full of little surprises, and too often, they aren’t all that good. Cars break down, furnaces quit working, plumbing springs a leak, jobs are lost, and people get sick. All of these unexpected events are stressful, especially when the bills arrive. These are problems we try not to think about and hope will never happen, so we normally do not factor them into the family budget.

Home and car expenses cannot be avoided and are fairly certain to happen at the most inconvenient time possible. If your vehicle is an older model, and your appliances have been in service for some time, they may be running on borrowed time. Furnaces, hot water heaters, plumbing, wiring, and even the replacement of major appliances such as washers, dryers and refrigerators, are problems that need to be taken care of immediately, since most of these are luxuries that we can’t, or don’t want to do without. These can easily cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to replace or repair. Car repairs are just as essential, and may consist of anything from new tires to a new transmission. Whether it’s a few hundred or a few thousand, there should be some money set aside for these problems.

No one wants to consider the possibility of being laid off, losing a job, or becoming sick, but for many people this has become a reality. Unfortunately, bills keep coming in, and mortgages still need to be paid. An emergency fund may not meet every need during this crisis, but it should be enough to keep you afloat for a few months while you are looking for a more permanent solution.

We have all heard the advice about saving enough money back to live on for six months in case of an emergency, but a lot of us find it difficult to follow through with this. It may be impossible to put back a large amount on a weekly basis, but even a little each week is a step in the right direction. Limiting some other little extras like entertainment and eating out, and putting this money into a fund will, over time, add up. While this emergency fund may not completely cover the cost of one of life’s problems, anything put back for an emergency is a great help.

With a little stashed away, when the inevitable does happen, the emergency fund helps to take the pressure off the family budget. And, just knowing that it is available helps give us peace of mind.