Childfreelife’s Weblog











{September 23, 2008}   Beyond the Emergency Fund

I think everyone should have an emergency fund. Mine is small right now, but it is enough to cover us if something happened–but not if absolute catastrophe hit. I know for some people finding the money to save several thousand or even several hundred is unimaginable. For people who have an emergency fund and want to stretch it as far as it can go and those who don’t have one, look into alternative and supplemental emergency “banks”.

I think you can build an emergency network, you can prepare for emergencies, and you can prevent them. All of those things supplement your emergency fund.

EMERGENCY NETWORK

Find ways to deal with emergencies in a cheaper manner. Maybe you don’t know how to fix a car, but if a friend or family member does, offer to help them fix their cars in return for training in how to fix yours when it breaks down.

One of my friends had cancer and was struggling to clean her home. I went over with another friend and we made that place spic and span. Why? She had always been there for us, and is just an all around good friend. And her boyfriend had even given us his old car once when we had nothing to drive. My friends obviously built a good network, and we will continue to help them when we can.

In preparation for job loss, always have a networking plan, I use a networking website, I know the names of some good temp and placement firms, and we even have worst case scenario backups, a friend manages a subway, in a real emergency one of us might be invited to work there.

Give freely to friends when you have abundance, extra food, unneeded items, a listening ear, help with a skill, and when you need help you will have a large network of people who appreciate you to fall back on. It is not fool proof, some people will always be fairweather friends, but I have found most people are gems!

PREPARE

Plan for specific things in your monthly budget–if the car tends to break down a few times a year, buy towing insurance and save a some money each month towards your average maintenance costs. The AAA bill came a few months ago, and my husband wanted to drop the service, and I looked at him, are you crazy? What will it cost us if we get stranded somewhere in the middle of the night? For sure more than the AAA membership! We spent the money and it means getting us and the car home in a breakdown, I am all for it. We have used it our fair share in the past.

A house tends to need repairs on one thing or another every year, save a little bit of money towards home maintenance every month. Also try fixing small things yourself instead of calling in help each time. With a book from a library and some borrowed tools you might save a lot of money on emergencies. More important than towing insurance is homeowners or renters insurance. If despite your best efforts to keep your space in order, something bad happens: a fire, theft, flooding. These insurances have your back. But even more importantly if someone else gets hurt on your property: slips and falls in your drive way, gets caught in a blackberry bush, or falls in a pit. (okay I am being dramatic), homeowners or renters insurance can pay out their personal injury claim, rather than the injured going directly at your assets. The 12-50 bucks a month it costs is worth that peace of mind.

PREVENT

Furthermore, prevent emergencies by being easier on your stuff and keeping up with to dos. For example, regular car maintenance is good, but even better do more, lighten your car’s load, drive it less, don’t overload it with stuff and too many people. Read the manual, I didn’t read mine and I hurt my car by having way too much weight in it way too often!

Take good care of your house by keeping everything in top shape. If the caulking starts to lift around your bathtub replace it before you have to replace your floor!

Eat well, exercise, get your sleep and just generally take good care of yourself, do the same for your pets. A cat that eats top of the line food gets sick less than one who eats the cheapo stuff. Make sure your pet gets enough exercise, has a clean bathroom area, and plenty of love, rubs and attention.

CONCLUSION

Emergencies don’t hit me as often or as hard as folks with children and so often I can solve problems in interesting ways that might be more time consuming, or might rely heavily on a network of friends. I have lots of other childfree friends and we have developed a sort of family network. Often people with kids that are in a bad place only have time to take and not much ability to give back. Even in my worst situations I can lend a hand to help a friend move or give them advice on how to get food. This sort reciprocity is necessary to a solid emergency network. Even if I am in a really bad place, I can’t always have my hand out. Some of my friends might have it worse and I make sure to help them out too.

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Heyyyy….found your blog at Alltop. Welcome to the childfree blogging community!



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