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The Continual Value of an Emergency Fund

New Year’s resolutions are almost upon us. If you don’t have an emergency fund of any sort, this might be a good time to create one. Here’s a post I wrote on escaping paycheck-to-paycheck and creating an emergency fund.

Last weekend, I had another incident which made me glad that I had plenty of savings. While getting out of my seat to play in a small musical ensemble at my church, I slipped and knocked my violin into the pew in front of me (foot brace for a torn ligament has made me clumsy). There was a horrifying sound of bad things happening to wood.

After gathering up the violin’s bridge, which had fallen off, I took it to a back room where I could better-examine the damage. It turned out to be things which will be easy and not too expensive to fix. The bridge had come off, the soundpost had fallen, and the tailpiece had shifted position–causing the e-tuner to scratch the violin a little (probably what caused the sound). It could have been a lot worse.

I estimate that getting it fixed will cost at most $50, probably $40, less if they reuse the same bridge. We’ll pay for it out of our flexible fund. If it were just the bridge, I could try putting it on myself, or have a more-experienced friend do it. But the bridge may need replacing and I don’t have the tools to retrieve and reposition the soundpost. Another string-player recommended a nearby violin shop and I’ll get it fixed on Saturday.

When I saw how little damage was done, I was greatly relieved. And I also thought “I’m glad I have the money to get this done now.” The little accident hasn’t made my budget complicated, nor do I have to carefully plan out when and whether I’ll be able to get it fixed. Even if the damage were more serious, I’d still be able to fix it.

Brad, a.k.a. Enemy of Debt, ran into a similar circumstance recently when he broke a kid’s skateboard while trying to do a trick:

The financial impact of this is pretty minor compared to how it would have gone down a few years ago. “Umm…can I give you $30 next Friday and $30 more two Fridays later?” Translation: Can you go three whole weeks without your skateboard?

Sometimes the relief comes from knowing we can make something right for another person. The kid probably wasn’t thrilled about having the replace his skateboard (unless he had his eye on another one), but at least Brad was able to pay for it right away.

Having something saved up to deal with life’s inconveniences, like a damaged violin, and its true emergencies like the copay (or full price) of an Emergency Room visit.

Has your emergency fund or savings account saved your butt or made your life easier recently? Have you found yourself wishing you had one?

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Mrs. Money December 18, 2009 at 7:37 am

I think the peace of mind for me knowing that I’ve got cash to cover things if I need it is priceless!
.-= Mrs. Money´s last blog ..No Christmas This Year =-.

Craig December 18, 2009 at 11:14 am

It really helps me if I overspend on a month or bills get high and I really need to borrow money from another account to help out one month.

thriftygal December 18, 2009 at 12:54 pm

well my story is more like my emergency fund is being hijacked by the evil healthcare system – About a year ago, a visiting relative from abroad fell victim to an abnormally high bloodpressure rate and we had to take her to the ER. Now to this person’s credit, she had travel medical insurance which is supposed to cover such emergencies. But as Murphy’s law would have it, the travel medical insurance folks are stalling and taking their good ol’ time while the health care authorities are threatening to send her account to collections – for nothing that they did to help her! Seriously, they just hooked her up to some machines and watched while her bp went down on it’s own. So I as the next of kin, might have to part with some painfully saved 2k from my emergency fund! My emergency fund will then be saving my relative’s butt, while making my life harder… (as I’ll need to resave that amount!)

Funny about Money December 18, 2009 at 1:23 pm

My emergency fund (which is really emergency-&-indulgences fund rolled into one) has saved me from disintegrating water heaters and repairs on the rattletrap Dog Chariot, it also has allowed me to pay cash for things I needed or truly wanted — one way or another keeping me out of debt.

When last summer’s three-week 118-degree hot spell did in the huge old ash tree in front of my house, I have it cut down and relandscape that section of the yard. Emergency fund kept me from having to borrow on a credit card or against the house to pay for that.
.-= Funny about Money´s last blog ..Freedom’s just another word… =-.

Brad December 18, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Great post Mrs Micah! It is so very true!

Ever since we’ve had an emergency fund we’ve been less stressed when those emergencies pop up.

It’s really nice knowing that you have the money to cover whatever may be thrown your way.

Thanks for linking to my article! ;D
.-= Brad´s last blog ..Bankruptcy – A Solution, A Cop-out, Or An Enabler? =-.

J. Money December 18, 2009 at 4:30 pm

I’ve had to use my e. fund before, but can’t recall for what….I DO know, however, that it sure makes me sleep better at night! It’s like having an extra mattress of air under you 😉
.-= J. Money´s last blog ..How much credit could you get your hands on? =-.

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