Saturday, August 7, 2010

Preparedness Essentials - The Emergency Fund

There are many essential items that are needed to be properly prepared. Making sure you have adequate shelter,
water supplies and food are all critical to your survival. The major problem is that all of these items cost money. Even fuel and a means of transportation should you need to "bug-out" for a while will require adequate funds to do so properly. If your emergency fund is empty, you could find yourself in a serious situation with very few options as a result.

While not a financial expert, some of the simple ways I've discovered over the years has helped to create an emergency fund that will help see me through tough times. Tough times happen to everybody sooner or later, you just need to be prepared for them. Hopefully, some of the things I've learned over the years may be helpful to others.

There are a couple of essential things you will need to do first when creating an emergency fund. Creating an emergency fund takes a serious commitment on your part to do so properly. Sacrifice and changes will need to be made, especially if you're living from paycheck to paycheck. You will need to be prepared to make these changes and realize that you are working to build a reserve against hard times. It is always easier to deal with having less of something than to deal without having it altogether.

When it comes to building an emergency fund, I've found that it's not really that complicated. There are really only two ways to effectively build an emergency fund. In order to make money available for an emergency fund, here are what I consider the main options:

1.) You will need to spend less of your currently available income.

2.) You will need to find an activity that will generate extra income.

Option #1 involves spending less to help create savings. Savings which can then be used to start an emergency fund. This is extremely hard if you're struggling to get by from paycheck to paycheck. Saving additional funds from your current income will require a great deal of sacrifice on your part and is one of the harder ways to create an emergency fund. With our consumer-driven economy, it is extremely difficult to do with less when everyone is telling you that you need more or better "stuff". Learn to eliminate some of the excess.

Option #2 involves finding an activity to create additional income. This can be anything from having a part-time job (my personal choice), holding a yard or garage sale on a regular basis, or doing handy-man type jobs on the side. Even this will require some sacrifice on your part. It will cost you some of your time and additional work as well.

Once you have committed yourself to building an emergency fund there is one basic truth involved: No matter how you choose to build an emergency fund there will be a certain amount of sacrifice required. How and what you choose to sacrifice should be your decision and designed to fit your circumstances.

Got emergency fund?

Staying above the water line!



idahobob said...

Actually, in my not so humble opinion, Option #1 should be budget.

Budget your income down to the gnat's ass. Be accountable for every dime that you spend. Work your budget out every month, and have a category for that "E" fund.

If ya know where your FRN's will be going to, you not only can save, but you can actually see funds for prepping.


riverwalker said...

To: idahobob

You make a good point. I've always viewed a budget as where and on what I'm going to spend my money. If you have limited funds, spending less is the only way to save money. Even on a tight budget there will be ways you can cut your costs and save a little for an emergency.

I personally have found it easier to work a part-time job and dedicate the extra to an emergency fund. Trying to find ways to cut down with a limited budget can be really hard to do.

Thanks idahobob.


John said...

Good advice. An emergency fund is necessary whether a person is actively prepping or not. There's always something that comes up, like car trouble, extra doctor bills, etc. And we should all know by now there's no such thing as Santa Claus.

riverwalker said...

To: John

Extra funds will always come in handy for those little things that always seem to go wrong and cost so much to fix.

Thanks John.


kPg said...

Gosh, it's so hard to put up your own emergency fund, right? You have to have the right amount of discipline to be consistent with your contributions, and your reasons for building the fund should be enough to keep you motivated. Is it advisable to start small when putting up an emergency fund? And by small, I mean saving up your loose change and stuff like that. Well, that's what I'm gonna do for now.

Thomas Watson said...

Turn a creative eye on your finances, and you're bound to find ways to reach your savings goal faster.

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