An Emergency Fund Kind of Day

Lisa Nanney

I had a wonderful time visiting with family at Christmas. Due to my job, I traveled back from Tennessee to Texas on Christmas Day . A storm was moving up from the Gulf and another winter front moving down from Oklahoma. Eventually, these two storms would collide. No worries. I carefully planned to avoid the expected collision. According to the weather forecast, I would be in between the storms.

However, both moved faster than expected.

Halfway through Arkansas, I ran into the heavy rain storm that froze and turned to ice. About 15 miles later, I heard the noise. The noise was a tire pierced with a large piece of metal. I managed to ease off the Interstate at an exit with a Shell gas station. An abandoned Shell gas station. I was in the middle of nowhere.

Fortunately, my cell phone Roadside Assistance was able to help me. Within an hour, I was back on the road.

Another 40 miles and I was out of the storm. I had talked with family and they’d checked the weather–it was clear the rest of the way. About an hour later I called again for a check because huge snow chunks, not flakes, but chunks, were hitting my windshield with loud splats. The storm had shifted and taken an ugly turn. The next 100 miles seemed extra long and slow. As I approached the next town, I needed to determine whether to get a hotel room or press on despite the highway conditions. I pressed on.

I saw over 60 cars wrecked or skidded off the road, stuck in ditches. Each incident represented the possible need for Emergency Funds. My Emergency Fund could have been in play if I had decided to stop and get a hotel room. Because I had an Emergency Fund, I knew I could have made that decision. I had a choice.

Now, put yourself in this true story. Do you have an Emergency Fund set aside to tap into if you have a wreck, a snowstorm, an unexpected hotel stay? There’s many other emergency scenarios. You have a dead battery or bad alternator. A bout of flu that require $70 worth of prescriptions. A minor child who runs into a neighbor’s mailbox and it needs to be replaced.

Emergencies will happen, it’s just a matter of timing.

If you don’t have an Emergency Fund, it’s time to get your Emergency Fund in place as if you see the emergency coming. I assure you, at some point, it is. Start small, maybe $100 set-aside for emergencies. Then over time, grow it $500, then $1,000. From there you can determine how much emergency funds you need in your budget to avoid worrying about where money will come from when there is a time of need.

 

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