Saving money for emergencies is an important part of financial independence. When life's little surprises hit, you want to be prepared.
Stuff Happens: Be Prepared
- Cheryl Johnson
As children, if we learned nothing else from those "scary" nursery rhymes, it should have been that "stuff" happens! Scary? Yes, Scary! Jack fell down and broke his crown........ Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall (worse yet, they couldn't put him back together again!)... The wind blew and down came cradle, baby and all... little Miss Muffet had her meal interrupted by a spider... and two little Piggies got there houses blown down. Is that scary enough for you?
What's with these nursery rhymes? Were our parents trying to raise a generation of Stephen Kings? I never gave it a second thought as a child, but now that I reflect on it, we grew up on nursery rhymes filled with mishaps that should horrify any little child. I don't think it was the intention of our parents, or the creators of these nursery rhymes, to actual scare children. But, it is odd, don't you think.
So, maybe there was a secret message in these mishap filled nursery rhymes. Were they preparing us for real life? In real life, stuff happens. And, if we know life will be filled with these little mishaps, shouldn't we be prepared? Unexpected mishaps can reek havoc on the best kept finances, if they are not treated as "expected" expenses. Like the moral of the Three Little Pigs we must build a strong house so the wolf can't blow it down! A good plan to prepare for these little mishaps in life is to build an emergency fund. Saving money in an emergency fund savings provides a strong foundation to prevent mishaps from bringing the house down.
Be prepared for life's little mishaps. Set aside and save money to get you through the financial consequences when "stuff" happens. When daddy, or mommy, fall down and break his/her crown, who will earn money to pay the bills while they recuperate?
It's O.K. to start saving money on a smaller scale. I know that in life sometimes we get ourselves in tight financial situations. But, even if it's only a tiny percentage of your paycheck for now, and you increase the amount as possible, you'll be ahead of the game.
Slowly, yet consistently, include a savings plan in your budget to build this emergency preparedness fund. You'll be prepared when life's little mishaps are determined to bring the house down.
Note: If you have substantial debt, your needs and priorities will be different. Debt steals your time away. It's hard to make any advancement towards saving money, and productive financial goals, until you've eliminated debt. But, that's not saying that the one month that your mishap occurs, you won't be prepared. In fact, you are already somewhat prepared and may not know it. If you are paying extra funds towards reducing debt each month, you already have an emergency fund built into your debt elimination plan!
As per your usual debt elimination plan, you should apply extra funds to reduce debt each month (instead of saving money). If you are already managing your money to control spending and budgeting to pay down debt, you'll have those savings funds available every month.
I recommend that you build up a small emergency fund of about $500 - $1000 (depending on your financial situation). Then continue to apply any extra funds each month to your debt elimination goals.
When one of life's little mishaps comes along, you'll just redirect any extra funds (simply pay your minimum debt balances that month) normally posted to your debt elimination goals and take care of your mishap. And, you'll always have your little back up emergency fund if needed. Then, when all is taken care of, you'll get back to focusing those funds on debt elimination.
You may have planned on saving money for a variety of reasons. Don't neglect your emergency fund. Stuff happens. Be prepared!