If you are into American Football, I’m sure you know about offensive lines and defensive lines. Imagine that you are an NFL quarterback. You weigh 160 lbs. and are 5’11”. Your offensive line (O-line) is made up of guys that are 6’2″ and under. They all weigh 250 lbs. and under. The team that you are playing against has a defensive line (D-line) whose players all weigh over 300 lbs. and are all between 6’3″ and 6’7″ . What do you think is going to happen to you? You are going to get sacked over and over again. Their D-line is going to bat away your O-line like flies.
Think of your emergency fund as your O-line and you are the quarterback. The defense represent emergencies. What happens when you don’t have an emergency fund in place? You get sacked! Your credit card debt is going to increase because everything becomes an emergency. If your emergency fund is low, you are going to get sacked by emergencies.
We have some goals for our emergency fund. Our first goal is to save $1,000 into the fund as quickly as we can, so we can begin to be prepared for emergencies. Getting a thousand dollars saved is easy because it is not a large amount. For some of you, it is a large amount. However, you need to start. Most of you should be able to save it in a month. Don’t feel bad if it takes you a little longer. The key is to get done as quickly as you can because an emergency fund provides peace of mind.
One thing you need to remember is that saving requires an attitude change. You need to make saving a priority. When you make saving important, you are able to save.
You need to get intense about saving the first $1,000. Maybe you cannot squeeze another penny out of your paycheck. However, look around your home and see what stuff you have lying around collecting dust that you can sell. If you haven’t used in more than a year, sell it.
If you sell everything and you’re still short, then maybe you can get a part-time job or get overtime. Be creative, heck if you have teens that are of working age, have them get a job, so that they can contribute towards the household expenses. If they get a job and are able to pay for their own clothes, that’s one less thing you have to spend money on that you can use towards your $1,000 emergency fund.
Take a close look at your expenses and determine if you truly need them. You don’t need cable or satellite TV. You don’t need a newspaper subscription. You don’t need a gym membership. You don’t need a cellphone that costs you $100 or more a month. Find a cheaper plan or a pay-as-you-go phone. Remember to cut out anything that is not absolutely necessary to run your household. You want to be able to cover your housing, utilities, clothing (if they desperately need replacing), food, and transportation for job hunting.