Everyone in the PF blogging world talks about the importance of an emergency fund. For the longest time I wanted to start one and never could get my finances aligned to begin. So last year I took a portion of my 2006 tax refund and begin my emergency fund with roughly four hundred dollars. This was a major milestone for me that I had achieved, I had money in the bank set aside for an unexpected emergency, I felt very proud of myself. I would not have to wait until the next pay period if something happened, I had "something on it, even if it couldn't cover it all' I wanted to continue this proud feeling so every two weeks I would transfer in twenty five dollars. This doesn't seem like much, but sometimes it was a sacrifice to get that twenty five every two weeks. I trimmed here and there to find it.
This was my first real savings experience where I was putting away money for no cause, or maybe I should say for a non-tangible item. I had saved money before for down payments, Christmas,trips, but never applied the savings principle to a non named future need. As I have gotten older I think back on the amount of money I have spent - I hate to say wasted but it was on non essentials, cute stuff or so I thought, and I think of what that money could do for me and my family now and I really want to cry. My moment of clarity when I knew that I had to get my financial house in order was something so simple, but it devastated me. I bounced a check, and the Bank of America somehow reordered the cleared items to make even more checks and debit card purchases bounce. So I went from bouncing one check to having bounced eleven items and owing thrity-five dollars for each item. I had just gotten paid and may paycheck deposited electronically only covered a portion of what was overdrawn. I would not see another cent for two weeks. I had no gas in my car, I had very little food to feed my two, I had not paid the my cell phone our only means of communicating and my paycheck had just been ate by BOA. That was my moment. I said if I made it through those two weeks, then I would begin saving, and so I have my emergency fund is still not large (Total as of today $3, 704.63), but I put that twenty five dollars in every two weeks faithfully now. I have even taken twenty five dollars out of my unemployment benefits to add to that fund.
I know what it is to be in a lurch so bad you wonder how it could get any worse. Then Murphy's Law kicks in and kicks you in the head. I am a strong proponent of putting a little aside even if to me or to you it doesn't seem like much.