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For four years, we had our emergency fund sitting in an account we hadn’t touched in four years. But on December 25, 2015, an event happened to us required thousands of dollars.
I have a love/hate relationship with our emergency fund. When my husband and I started the baby steps to financial well being, the emergency fund seemed quite boring. Is it really necessary? Do we really need thousands of dollars sitting in an account for a “what if” scenario? Then there is always the temptation to use it. We could have made a nice dent in our mortgage if we allocated the e-fund to the principal on our mortgage. Or, can’t we just put it towards a new car? When you drive a soon to be ten-year-old car that has the beginnings of rust spots and that screeches so often when you drive it that you think something is wrong when the car is quiet, using the money for a new vehicle is VERY appealing. But no, we can’t. We have to complete baby step three.
And so we did. For four years, we had our emergency fund sitting in an account we hadn’t touched in four years. But on December 25, 2015, an event happened to us required thousands of dollars. Our son, Abraham, arrived six weeks early. He needed a feeding tube, oxygen, an incubator, and around the clock care. NICUs aren’t cheap, though they are well worth the money. After fifteen days, he came home and since has been a healthy, growing little boy. However, he was an expensive little guy.
In my soon to be five years of marriage, I have never once seen Kyle fret over money. He has a bit of control freak type tendencies (in a very endearing way!) that aid him in having power over financial matters. But the situation with our son’s birth, he couldn’t regulate. He had multiple conversations with the hospital business office and our insurance company trying to determine how we would be billed and if we had enough money to pay for the surmounting costs of our son’s care, especially because we always chose high deductibles.
And you know what? We did. With our emergency fund, we could pay in full every bill that arrived in our mail. And there were a ton! We depleted our emergency fund and then had to rebuild it. Financially speaking, the past six months have been the most discouraging time we’ve experienced since marrying and combining finances. We went from paying thousands of dollars on our mortgage in 2014 to thousands of dollars on medical bills and rebuilding our e fund in 2015. But I will never question the validity of the emergency fund. We never know when we will need it. Having that money set aside allowed me to focus on caring for our son instead of worrying about our son and our finances. I might not enjoy the discipline of saving for the emergency fund, but I certainly love the security of having one.
What about you? How do you motivate yourself to save for your emergency fund? Have you ever had to use funds from it? How have you benefited from your emergency fund?