Exhibit A: There he is. The Beast. The Flying Blueberry. The Seventh Member of Our Family. He’s a little beat up, but he’s trusty and reliable and he’s been everywhere from the Atlantic to the Pacific and lots of parts in between.
Except that one time.
It was actually two years ago, this very weekend. We took a lengthy road trip to visit family for Thanksgiving, and we were on our way home, just pulling into a mountain town for the night, when there was a sickening thud and smoke pouring from the hood. The transmission. And because we were in a cute, small mountain town, it wasn’t going to be fixed for a week. Through a series of bizarre and Providential circumstances, we ended up renting this
or, as the kids know it, The Best Road Trip Van Ever. They each got their own row. Eventually, our van was fixed and brought back and I’m sure we’re not going to have any trouble with him when we travel again in two weeks. We’ve discussed the matter, he and I, and I’ve driven him past a few junkyards, just to keep him in line.
Exhibit B: A few months ago, I called my husband at work. “I’m trying to take a shower, and the water starts getting warm and then gives up.” He told me later he’d been expecting this call for a while. He didn’t even come home — just went straight to Home Depot after work and bought a new water heater. And with some help from our neighbor we love because he does things like help us install water heaters, we were done just in time to offer a shower to a preteen boy who’d just arrived home from Science Camp (if you’ve ever seen a preteen boy after a week of Science Camp, you get me right now.)
There’s our pretty girl! All shiny and full of hot water.
The moral of both of these stories? An emergency fund. A little something tucked away for when the water goes out, or the car dies, or someone breaks something, or…well, I can’t list everything you might need it for, I just know eventually we all do.
There are a lot of people much smarter than I who’ve written about saving and investing and how much you should have in your emergency fund, but the general consensus is to get $1,000 in there for starters.
Are you freaking out? Don’t freak out. You can do this. A little each week, or month — one less latte or the generic brand shampoo or some coupons and price comparisons add up after a while. And Capital One 360 can help you start. They have a Black Friday sale going on this weekend and they’ll give you $100 when you open a checking account and deposit $500. They’ll also give you money to open a savings account or refer a friend. Or $1,250 off closing costs on home loans and bonuses on ShareBuilder accounts.
We switched to Capital One 360 several years ago, and one of our big reasons was that their checking and savings accounts don’t charge fees and do earn interest. And it’s easy to manage your accounts online or use the app. You can even deposit checks with your phone. We went out of town for an entire month one summer and I paid all our bills and kept tabs on expenses, all on my phone. We’ve also got our account set up to transfer a bit of money into savings from each paycheck, before we even see it in our account, so we don’t miss it. A good way to start an emergency fund — just a tiny bit each month.
So go forth and start 2015 with a bit of savings and some financial peace of mind! Good luck, my friends.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.