Every month I am able to keep my $1000 “baby” emergency fund I celebrate! I know that for some this is laughable but for some it is relatable. I have never been a person to save for a rainy day. When I want something you better believe I can save for it! So I am excited that my savings account is still funded. Even though we have had a few big-ticket items pop up and haven’t done the best job at following our budget we have managed to maintain our “baby” emergency fund.
This made me come to a little realization. My emergency fund is making be even more financially responsible than I already am.
How you may ask? Before I tell you about how my emergency fund has helped change my spending habits I have to tell you the story that lead to this realization.
In the past month we became aware of a couple of issues with our only vehicle. On top of those issues we need new tires. I HAD been saving for new tires but I needed a new phone and my husband needed a personal phone and I didn’t want to sign a contract and raise our monthly rates so we purchased 2 cell phones from overstock.com at a reasonable rate. So that depleted our tire fund.
So here we are with a bill estimated at $1500 to fix our truck. I was so irritated because I knew it was going to drain our emergency fund and set us back in June. It caused a little tiff between my husband and I because he wanted to charge the work to a credit card and drain the emergency fund to get it all done ASAP. I was completely against charging ANYTHING to a credit card and I could have cried over the thought of using my emergency fund on tires. (Hello?!? We KNEW we needed them in the near future…this was no surprise) I wanted to wait on the work until we saved up the cash. We were literally in a standoff.
Then something AMAZING happened we received a refund check from some of my husband’s dental work he had done. It was a whopping $898. This was our saving grace we didn’t have to use our emergency fund and we waited a few more weeks and had enough money to pay cash for all the work. Now you can say it was God working his magic or the universe rewarding us for all of our hard work. Whatever theory you choose to believe is fine by me. Bottom line is my husband and I didn’t have to argue about when and how we were going to get our truck fixed and we were able to keep our “baby” emergency fund intact!
Ok so now, how has my little emergency fund helped me in ways I never expected?
It has made me more aware of upcoming expenses. I have been trying to pay better attention to things that I know we pay for on an irregular basis. Things like our propane bill or insurance premiums. I was almost in tears over the thought of using our emergency fund for tires because I knew better. I would hate to have to use my emergency fund on something that I should have planned for.
I now leave a little buffer in my bank account. When I budgeted before I followed the plan where you budget for every dollar that comes in and out of your account. I still do this but I budget to leave a little extra in our account for unexpected small things, like needing to pay $15 for a patch on our tire because we got a nail stuck in it. I am not about to bust open my $1000 emergency fund for $15! Not going to do it! When I say little I am talking about $100 for my family of 4.
I will do just about ANYTHING to avoid going over budget. I wrote about my 2 week no spend challenge. I am doing it because I over spent on a trip out-of-town. I would rather clear out my pantry and eat anything and everything we have on hand just to avoid breaking the budget and risk needing to “borrow” from the emergency fund.
I feel more financially secure then I ever have in my life. This may sound weird because if a true emergency happened I most definitely wouldn’t have enough cash on hand to cover it. But it makes me feel like I am headed down the right financial path. When we hit those little bumps in the road we can cover it and don’t have to rely on a credit card to get us by.
This baby emergency fund makes me want so badly to start saving up a 3 month emergency fund. Like I said before I have never been one to save for a rainy day but the feeling you get from knowing that if something happened you can take care of yourself seems priceless. I know that saving the money won’t be all that fun but hitting this next financial goal is exciting.
One surprising thing about having this little emergency fund is that I haven’t had one desire to touch that money. I thought there would come a time where we would want something and “borrow” from our emergency fund to buy it if it wasn’t in budget and that hasn’t happened! (When I say we I really mean my husband) Back in January when we were able to set that money aside I did it without any real expectations. I knew I wanted to keep it in there but I didn’t really know if we would be able to keep it there. That $1000 feels untouchable and honestly I forget it’s there.
What have you all learned from starting or keeping an emergency fund?