Your Emergency Fund BFF
Do you have a BFF named ‘Emergency Fund’? I do and I count my blessings for her EVERY SINGLE DAY. She has saved my butt more times than I can count, gives me peace when I need it most, grants me freedom to self-care, and allows me to be the kind of woman, daughter, mother and wife I desire to be. This is the kind of friendship EVERY woman needs in her life.
Why do I say this with such conviction? Here’s a little sneak peek into my world this year:
1) Right after the Christmas/New Year’s holiday season, my stepmother had a “widow maker” heart attack that she miraculously survived. Taking time off and grabbing a last minute airfare to go help care for her caused zero strain on our monthly finances. My BFF Emergency Fund had my back.
2) I lost my stepfather about one month ago today. His health had been deteriorating rapidly over this last year and we’d recently moved him into an Alzheimer’s care facility. All throughout, I was able to spend as much time with him as I desired – including round the clock presence with him during his last 4 days. Once again, my BFF took care of me and afforded me the freedom to show up how I wished and mourn as I needed.
3) I have been battling chronic and severe headaches (related to structural issues) for most of the year that have unpredictably knocked me down 1 to 3 days a week. I’ve seen every practitioner under the sun for years unraveling the mysteries. The positive news is that I’ve found the majority of root causes. I have my life back and my BFF has been there to lend a helping hand.
4) And, for the last 3 weeks, I’ve been sicker than I can remember for the last 15+ years. My immune system has likely been compromised by all that happened last month. I’ve been battling some kind of virus that has had me down day after day after day – and in Urgent Care yesterday. My BFF takes away stress about medical bills and the extended time off. She allows me to rest and recover however I see fit.
To get this kind of loyalty from your BFF, you must meet her halfway – lovingly contributing to her with regularity. If you are just starting out with this, $25-$50 a month is an okay place to begin. Later, once you have built the savings habit, set a goal to move that needle to $100 – $200 a month, or more.
Enough to cover one month of living expenses is great. Three to six months is even better. And, twelve months will give you a level of peace that is priceless.
As women age, health and life conditions tend to crop up with more regularity. Perimenopause, vitamin deficiencies, food sensitivities, generalized stress or anxiety are all likely causes for setbacks. If you are 40+ years, you may also be witnessing your parents’ decline and needing to invest time there.
If you don’t currently have an emergency fund, today is a GREAT day to start it. There is no need to stress or judge yourself if you don’t already have this in place. Just start the process today.
As you establish and expand your savings habit, your BFF fund will grow like a snowball over time.
Once your BFF Emergency Fund is in place, you will no longer have to make so many deposits. She will just be happy with maintenance and replenishing after a period of dependence on her. It’s like any good friendship.
Four suggestions you might find helpful for YOUR own BFF Emergency Fund:
1) Set up an account that is separate from your everyday banking account. Keeping your emergency funds in a completely separate bank is even better and will help remove temptations to withdraw from her in non-emergency times. (We keep our emergency fund in an online account with CapitalOne360. The account is free and carries no minimums. Transfers to our other bank (where we do our everyday banking) are also free.)
2) Give your new BFF Emergency Account a real name or pet name (Josephina or GotMyBack). Love her like a real friend. Write about her in your gratitude journal.
3) Automate your contributions to her. Set up the withdrawals to happen automatically every 2 weeks or every month so you will never miss a contribution. She wants you to pay yourself (and her), first.
4) Share your occasional windfalls with her. Did you receive an unexpected gift card that reduces your monthly expenses? Give her half of the cash value (even if it’s just $12.50). Did you receive unexpected income or find $20 in a winter coat pocket? Treat her to a 50% cut! Did you finally sell all those unneeded items in your garage? Share the income with her. Did you donate some of your clutter to charity that will be itemized as a tax deduction? Put a note in your tax file to share part of your tax return with her.
Life is ALWAYS happening to us and we can rarely predict what tomorrow will hold. Every woman should have this kind of BFF in her corner.
If you find yourself struggling to save, grab the Money Mindset Kit. Then, contact me for a no-cost 30-minute review of your results.