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The All-Important Emergency Fund (And What to Do If It’s Not There)

It’s hard to explain the long-term stress that comes from a low bank account to those that are going about their merry way. They’ll tell you to put in more hours or spend less. Excellent suggestions if you weren’t already stretched thin!

The stress begins to add up:

  • Panic & anxiety attacks
  • Agoraphobia
  • Relationship problems

They say money doesn’t buy happiness but it sure does create stability – and with that stability is not having to go through your day feeling like one false move could put you out on the streets.

Making an Emergency Plan with Nothing

Where do you go with making an emergency plan when you have so little to work with? How can we improve our financial situation when it seems so much is stacked against us?

There are a few realities that need to be met:

  1. Many of us fail at understanding our money
  2. Many of us try to “ride it out” or play tough with the struggle
  3. Many cut corners for short-term gains but ultimately cause long-term troubles

It’s a matter of not tracking our money to the penny, we have this macho mentality that struggling is a part of character building, and that we skip on healthy food & activities that causes a host of physical & mental health problems because we go cheap.

An emergency fund starts with a financial plan; Knowing what’s coming in and where it’s going.

They say the fund should be 6-months of your living expenses but honestly… aim for a month.

This brings it into perspective – it starts the snowball with savings.

The few bucks you throw into the account here and there begins to add up and seeing it closers to a goal of (say) $1,000 is way more motivating than a few bucks towards $5,000.

Taking a Loss but Bouncing Back

Sometimes you just must grit your teeth and take a loss.

Accidents happen – so do medical emergencies – and goof ups with your finances.

Look:

Most of us experience setbacks but it’s the ones that take a temporary hit and realign themselves are the ones that come out on top.

For example – you could:

  • Take out online installment loans of $1,250 to cover expenses and just know you’ll pay interest but at least it stops the hemorrhaging
  • Apply for government assistance like SNAP benefits so you can get good food even if you’re stubborn about the whole welfare thing
  • Get on a crowdfunding site and ask for donations, which makes it easier than going to your family or friends directly

It’s better to nip the problem early than to keep on with the downward financial spiral. The sooner you can stabilize the sooner you can begin paying it back. And the sooner you’ll build that emergency fund.

A Lot of Financial Troubles Stem from Stubbornness

Is that an entitled thing to say?

Obviously, this doesn’t apply to everyone but there are tons of people that are just plain stubborn with their lifestyle choices.

They live outside of their means either because they had good money coming in (at some point) and now make less. Or, they’re in this mode where they’re trying to impress or keep up with others which is making them dip into pay they shouldn’t spend.

This is a topic people have discussed to death.

It’s time to be humble – there’s no shame if it means you’re getting your finances on track. Downgrade for a while but keep your head up because you’ll get back on track. Don’t glamorize the struggle – treat it as it should in that it sucks and you’ve got to get out.

It’s Up to You

You can keep doing what you’re doing (obviously it’s not working) or make some positive changes.

Even an extra $5-$10 a week can make a difference in building an emergency fund.

Your choice.

Thoughts?