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Coronavirus. COVID-19. Pandemic. The name matters less than how much reality has changed. Quarantine and social distancing is just one of the many new facets that are impacting my daily life. I hope this turbulent time is brief. But since there is very little I can change, as far as the world and all it’s ails, I’d rather dive into what I can control – my emergency fund.
Emergency Funds Are a Thing
A way to decrease my stress and increase resiliency is by having an emergency fund, because a lump of money would be great right now. Just enough to get me over the big hurdles of unemployment, medical bills, or some other human malady that could be thrown my way.
Before I get into the semantics, I am going to share what I am not going to do. I’m saying a collective no to lamenting about the past and regretting what I didn’t do. I am a ruminator, so this is an important first step. There is no need to beat myself up on how unprepared I was. The world was unprepared for this how can I do better than all the smarties out there?
I do plan to move forward with a cushion aka fat emergency fund. Many experts recommend three to six month wages. However, when I started this fun adulting phase, I started small like $500.
A Name is the Very Best Thing
I opened a separate savings account and named it something fun and relevant to an emergency fund. I called it my Skilled Sailor account. Naming my savings account helped me to see my end goal better. Fancy titles have that power.
Having this separate account made it harder for me to access this slush fund which was the whole point. Legally I can only withdraw from a savings account six times a month. Proof that even the Feds want me to save!
Some folks set up automatic transfers but I haven’t done this…yet. Instead, I pay myself first by setting aside a designated percentage of my income to go to my Skilled Sailor account. I am super nerdy and I get really excited to transfer money over to my Skilled Sailor account. Something about seeing my money grow gets me really excited, its like a good version of gremlin growth.
Cut the Cord
There are very few services I subscribe to but I did have a Netflix, gym, and Direct TV subscription at one point.
Eventually, they didn’t make the cut. Initially, it started with one service. The most expensive subscription was Direct TV, after some dialogue with Mr.BuLL we decided to cut it out of our lives and budget. It was great! We don’t miss it.
Next we decided to cut Netflix. We did it as a test. If we could go one or two months without missing that service we would keep it canceled. Turns out, we didn’t miss it at all.
The final cut came compliments of the pandemic. When the pandemic started heating up we put our membership on hold. At one point we contacted our gym again and wanted to continue our hold, well they just canceled our membership. Outside of being miffed that we didn’t call it quits, it was for the best. The best for our savings that is!
Go Green, Granny
Sustainable living is one of the many ways I shake the money tree. I am in the slow process of replacing disposable items for reusable products.
I have a large pack of paper towels in my cupboard for YEARS. I have transitioned over to microfiber cloths and they take care of 99% of our spills and messes. If it has anything to do with cleaning a toilet, that is one area I save for my antique paper towels.
We also wash and reuse Ziploc bags, swapped our disposable k-cup for a reusable pod, and use wool dryer balls instead of the chemical laden dryer sheets. As a bonus, I can juggle with the dryer balls!
Emergency Fund Power
I didn’t ask for a pandemic, unemployment, or medical bills. But just because I didn’t ask for it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t prepare for it either. I started small so by the time the next crisis occurred my finances would be one less thing I would have to stress about.