It’s a short fly ball to shallow left field. The shortstop is racing back, he leaps through the air to make a spectacular diving catch. Crash! What happened? Apparently the left fielder had a similar plan and was sliding towards the ball to make the catch. His knee is unfortunately for me much harder than my forearm. I instantly knew I had broken my arm as there was an extra ninety degree angle between my elbow and wrist. If that isn’t the definition of emergency, I don’t know what is. Everybody on the field heard the snap.
As it turns out, surgery and physical therapy can be expensive. So far I’ve had about $2,000 in expenses. Fortunately, we had an emergency fund to cover the costs. Luckily for me, the only emergency was that I couldn’t use my arm. There wasn’t a financial emergency to go with it. Most people end up having financial emergencies to exacerbate the problems that will inevitably occur in most people’s lives. To stop this, get out of debt and start an emergency fund.
“Save some money for a rainy day,” your grandma always said. Well, it has been “raining” a lot at my house recently. Between cars, plumbing, break-ins, and softball injuries, I’ve been draining my emergency fund left and right. The thing is, even though it is rough, it isn’t that big of a deal. I don’t even call them emergencies anymore (except the softball injury, but that’s just because it hurt a lot). When you have the money in the bank, they are just inconveniences.
In the last 8 months I’ve had the following “emergency” expenses:
New tires on both cars – $450
New brakes on both cars – ~$80 (did them myself)
Kitchen faucet – $70
Broken Arm – $2,000
Belts and Alignment on car – $150
Car break-in – ~$500 stolen
Calipers, spark plugs and wires, fuel induction service – $650
Each of these inconveniences could have easily been emergencies. Some of them could have been BIG emergencies. Thankfully, we have an emergency fund to take care of these unexpected events. If you don’t have one, your options are very limited if an emergency arises. Basically, you’ll have to either work out a payment plan in the case of emergency medical expenses, or put it on a credit card in the case of some of other “emergency” expenses. But debt should not be the answer. If you want to win financially, you have to stop using debt. That means an emergency fund is key to financial success so that once you get out of debt, you never have to get back into it.
Hopefully my emergency fund won’t be needed in the future so often, but as long as we have it in place, we don’t have to necessarily consider them “emergencies” and have a financial panic every time.
If you have any good stories, I’d love to hear about some emergencies you’ve faced recently that you were able to turn into simple “inconveniences” with your emergency fund. Or perhaps you have learned from a bad experience that resulted from not having an emergency fund?
(photo credit: ragingtornado)