Vets, Tow Trucks, Busted Wheels and Emergency Funds

Adam My Life, Personal Finance 4 Comments

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Look at that beauty

Well it’s been a rough month on the budget.

The frugalmobile has over 150k on the odometer, over 30 MPG, and it’s ugly as can be. Unfortunately, it’s decided to fall apart. Problems abound and even with our extremely helpful and honest local mechanic, we were out $700 to fix the old sucker. Hopefully that’s the last repair bill and the faithful Hyundai will give us another couple of years.

Happy little guy

Elvis (our toy poodle), much like the Hyundai is getting up there in age. He recently celebrated his 10th birthday. Age sucks and that has brought on cataracts and bad hips, but the little guy is going strong. Last Sunday he was really sick and was throwing up all day. This eventually led to a 11pm emergency vet visit. I spent 2 hours in the waiting room, watching the Blind Side before shelling out $700 in tests and medications. Luckily all ended well our pup is back to normal, but I was definitely unprepared for that expense.

And last, but not least, Caitlin made the mistake of grabbing a parking spot in the shopping center next to the movie theater, which decided to tow her. I think this is pretty ridiculous, but there were signs posted. Not much I can do about it at this point. That little adventure to the tow lot cost $250 plus popcorn.

CostThat’s $1,650 in unexpected expenses in the 2 weeks. This should highlight to everyone the importance of an emergency fund. Most news outlets report 60% of American’s have no emergency fund and only 38% could cover an emergency room visit or a $500 car repair. Luckily we keep plenty of cash on hand, and these unfortunate events were just inconveniences.

What’s the takeaway for our readers?

Start an Emergency Fund

First, aim to have $1,000 not in your checking. Almost anybody can hit $1,000 given a bit of time. It’s a very realistic number and in my experience, 90% of emergencies can be covered with $1,000. Your hair should be on fire and to hit this goal. Discretionary spending should be pretty much zero.

After you have hit that goal, look at your spending (hopefully using Personal Capital) and calculate what 3 months of bills would be. There’s your new target. Work your way up, but there’s no need to be in a panic.

Personally, my aim is 6 months, so now double the prior value, but at this point it’s a personal preference. Some people are ok with 3 months, some like 6, and others want a year. Either way you should be covered for any emergency and even a job loss for quite a while.


Still here? If so consider using Tradeking (Special $200 bonus offer) for your next brokerage and Personal Capital, my favorite tool to see all your accounts in place. You can also support us by using our Amazon link. We get a bit back if you do and it helps keep the lights on.

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Comments 4

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  2. Vawt

    I hear you on the unexpected expenses. We had a $400 car repair last week, spent more on hosting friends and family after a baptism, and I spent $400 on a new table saw. Having cash reserves really helps. I could have delayed the table saw, but I have already waited several months to start some projects and I wantt o get started on them.

    1. Post
      Author
      Adam

      Ya, the unexpected stuff is a real budget killer.

      I’m looking forward to seeing some projects with that table saw. I picked up a nice miter saw that I’ve been really enjoying recently.

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