Dipping into the Emergency Fund

July 7, 2008

in Finances

Flickr photo by Martin KingsleyWe have been working hard to over the last few months. We’ve been quite successful, although it is hard to change long term habits. We’re paying down the credit cards. We have our emergency fund ready should an emergency occur. It seems though, that Mr Murphy is not all that keen on us sticking to our plans.

Since we have taken our new financial stance a number of things have “popped” up. We discovered a leak in one of the bedroom windows, the television died, the dishwasher may be dead, the el cheapo light fittings our builder used are coming to the end of their lives and yesterday, The Engineer broke the shed window (footy).

The Thinker is getting impatient to get these things fixed, but I’m having trouble dipping into our emergency fund. Are these things really emergencies? He has convinced me that home maintenance is something that needs to be done. The other things can wait.

In the back of my mind, I’ve been basically following Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps. My problem is the attitude that we shouldn’t be using the emergency fund. I’ve been thinking that we’re done with that step and now we’re onto the next one (getting rid of debt). Have you ever had your hands full and then got an itchy nose? You can’t scratch it without putting everything else down again. It seems that’s what’s happening with our finances.

Finally, this morning the penny dropped for me. I’ve been so keen to move on that I’ve forgotten what the big picture is. It’s OK to take a step backwards when you need to. It’s OK to use the emergency fund for legitimate emergencies. Then go back to the previous step, build the emergency fund again. It probably only puts us two months behind where I had planned to be and our house won’t be falling down around our ears.

Flickr photo by Martin Kingsley

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