I have been preaching about an emergency fund for years now, and if you do not have one, you need to establish one – today preferably. However, I have never shared all the details of the day our emergency fund saved us and since I believe the emergency fund is one of the most important things you can establish for your finances, I am finally sharing our story to help you decide, is an emergency fund necessary?
My hubs and I were in our first year of parenthood and our first year of living on one income. My hubs was working for a home remodeling contractor here in Atlanta. One hot August day, I received a phone call from my hubs that I needed to get Conner ready to go because when he came home, we needed to go to the hospital. Of course, panic set in as I had no clue why I was going to need to take my husband to the hospital, but when he got home, I saw why.
My hubs had broken his left wrist (he is left-handed) and fractured his right elbow. He had fallen out of a two-story window and landed on the driveway of the home they were working on. Only the bad did not stop there. My hubs had to have surgery in order to put a plate in his badly shattered wrist. His elbow would heal on its own with physical therapy.
My hubs would survive, even if that meant he had to go on our already paid-for vacation wearing a cast and a sling, he was going to heal and be fine. However, we learned that the company my hubs worked for did not have worker’s comp insurance. This meant that since we had a private insurance policy, we were left paying all our deductibles on our own.
(*Side note: from this experience, we learned that some insurance policies have different deductibles for certain things, like surgery. Make sure you read your policies completely before signing on.)
Of course, we pursued the appropriate actions with the company my hubs worked for to help us pay those bills since he was hurt on their job site and on the clock, but my hubs needed surgery immediately or risk losing all function of his left hand. These places do not provide services without payment, period.
We had to come up with the cash to pay for my hubs’ surgery and care within three days. Our emergency fund is where the money came from. It was not easy watching our savings be drained but it was the only way to help my hubs heal from his nasty fall. It was even less fun having to pinch and pinch to save up our emergency fund again, but instead of struggling to keep food on the table while my hubs was out of work, we were able to keep living.
Our emergency fund is the only reason we were able to do that. Without an emergency fund in place, we would not have been able to pay for my hubs’ surgery, food for our family, or keep the roof over our heads without it.
I did all that I could during that time to make extra money while my hubs was out of work, but since I had to care for our eight month old son and my hubs who could not use either arm, I was unable to go find a “real job”. I had to get a little creative with earning extra money and I had to be diligent on how we spent the money coming from our evaporating emergency fund.
Many argued with us on why we did not put these charges on credit cards as that would have “saved us” from draining our savings. The truth is that would have only put us further in the hole. We would not only have been responsible for doctor bills but also the interest being earned on those charges. We simply could not afford that and our emergency fund helped to keep us from sinking further and further into debt.
Having our emergency fund ready to go when we need it gives us a peace of mind that you cannot find in a stack of credit cards. It allows us to live life without being tied to enormous debt and allows us to navigate unchartered waters when a true emergency arises. If you have not built your emergency fund yet, start today, every little bit helps.
Has your emergency fund ever come to your rescue?
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