In Financial Peace, Dave Ramsey recommends that you have an emergency fund.
Details are hazy, but it seems to me that until you’ve built up an EF of 500-1000.00 (depending on your family size/financial situation) he recommends paying the minimum due on your bills – the logic being that if you’re focusing on paying off credit instead of building an EF, you’re gonna end up dipping into the credit to cover unanticipated emergencies….
Once you’ve gotten a “small” EF, work on paying off credit cards, and once that’s done, you should focus on building your EF to cover 3-6 months worth of expenses (please, ANYONE correct what I’ve gotten wrong).
We’re still building our EF, and it’s slooooow going. But, it’s really a cool feeling to actually start growing a savings account where once there was none. I do dip into ours to pay for dental visits, but deposit the checks from our insurance company right back into the fund as we are reimbursed ~ we have decent insurance, but our dentist demands payment up front.
I started the EF with a $25.00 check that I got from Qwest for signing up for their long distance service. I added to as I received checks from half.com for books sold. DH has done some bicycle repairs for friends that he’s gotten paid for and that money goes into the bank as well. He’s also sold some stuff on e-bay & contributed that as well. I keep a jar in the cabinet above my washer for ALL change that is left in the laundry, and I try to deposit that on a monthly basis as well.
Do you all have an emergency fund? I am so new to this and have really got to make budgeting my job, or return to work………Snip
I like that phrase “budgeting is my job” – Can I borrow it? Yes we have an emergency fund, and I am soooo protective of it–heaven help me when we really need it–I’ll be in pain twice–the first crisis and then depleting my lovely emergency fund. So weird–and I was the one who used to think it was a successful month if I ended it with a few dollars left over in the checking account–and who needed a savings account, when there was “always” another paycheck coming? Scary.
The envelope system is the only thing that has ever worked for me to start saving anything. It’s visual and I “get it”. When I’m saving for something in particular, I create an envelope for it (Dave Ramsey calls it a “sinking fund“) and any money that I’ve saved, found, cashed in change etc goes in that envelope. It’s rewarding to see it fill up bit by bit and it is incentive to save a few dollars here or there from another category because I get to add those “saved” dollars to my savings envelope. Of course at a certain point, it should go to a bank but only into a special account.
Money just disappears in our checking account.
Oh and I saw a cute thing at the store–thought about copying it at home. It was a mason jar that had been outfitted with a harness type thingy that wrapped around the jar and had a cover over the lid with a tiny padlock locking the harness shut and the lid on. There was a hole/slit in the top for money to slot thru. The side of the jar was mark and labeled – a little bit up the jar, the label said “Movie and Dinner” Farther up the side of the jar the label said “A weekend on the town” and so on. I think at the very top was something like “Hawaii Vacation”
Lis in AL, who needs to go figure out something for dinner.