I hope I’m not being premature in announcing this, but we have finally completed our six-month emergency fund!
It’s sort of here, actually. We’re waiting on a few checks to clear, and on a few checks that should already be in the mail. So while we don’t have the full six-month amount in our bank account, it’s almost here and will be in our account shortly.
All of this has happened by the sheer grace of God. He has helped us stay focused, get creative with ways to find extra money, and I’m certain He’s helped send a few little windfalls our way.
Cuz baby, it’s gunna rain. And we now have a decent umbrella to weather us through.
We started building our emergency fund as soon as we had paid off all of our credit cards last December. We didn’t have anything in savings while we were paying that off, and as I mentioned in a previous post, I now know how having a small bit in savings while you’re paying off debt can be such a tremendous help. We got lucky, and didn’t have any emergencies pop up in that time.
Once we had our credit cards paid off, we started building our fund.
The beginning was a bit frustrating.
We’d set aside some money for savings, but then we’d need to use it for an expense that popped up. It took us a little while to gain some traction, but once we got going….wow.
We tried saving for our fund back in January of this year, but we didn’t actually have anything saved until February.
Since then, we’ve had windfalls in the form of a salary bonus, tax refund, and economic stimulus check. This blog has earned quite a bit toward that fund (thank you!) in the form of advertisements and affiliate links. We’ve found a bunch of little ways to cut our expenses, and they’ve added up into nice “snowflakes” which we’ve been able to throw into savings. Finally, just about all of my freelance earnings and leftovers from Shane’s paychecks went into savings.
We focused all of our efforts onto building up six months worth of expenses. It took about seven months to complete.
Again, it’s been a direct result of God’s blessings. We don’t technically earn near enough each month to cover double our expenses, and yet, it only took us that long to get this amount saved.
So now what?
- We need to increase our retirement contributions to a full 15 percent of our annual income.
- We want to save at least $1,500 to give us a head-start for paying for baby-related things.
- We’ll create some sub-accounts within ING Direct to save for car expenses (including paying off our car loan), gifts, vacations, and other regular but infrequent expenses. Oh, and we’re going to start saving for a down payment on a house.
Honestly, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. And it didn’t take nearly as long as I had expected. If you don’t have an emergency fund, why not get one started? Even $10 per week is a start, and it does add up. If you have at least $250 you’d like to use as a starter emergency fund, consider opening a savings account with ING Direct. If you use my referral link, you’ll get an extra $25 (and I’ll get $10). The interest rate is awesome (about 3 % apy) and I’m earning more than $20/month in interest with them now.