Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Do You Have An Emergency Fund?

Last week, we had another water emergency. (That makes two in the past 6 months.) While I didn't lose access to water from my tap this time, I did lose access to hot water. Our hot water heater broke! It wasn't a small issue that only required a repair, it broke completely! It was leaking everywhere and had to be replaced.

So, we cut the water off and called a plumber. The first one told us he could not fix it. He said we needed a new 'direct vent gas heater' and that they are very hard to come by. Manufacturers just don't make many of them. He suggested that we go with a tankless water heater or a power assisted gas hot water heater. After some discussion on the matter, I realized both required electricity to operate. Well, as you can guess, I was not going to have that! 

First off, I don't have any power source in the room the hot water heater lives in. It was going to require an electrician to string wire and create an outlet. Both the tankless and the power assisted gas hot water heater have different electrical needs, so the plumbers advice was to pick the one we wanted and then call the electrician. After the electrician finished, call the plumber back and he would install what we decided on. While the plumber was talking, my husband looked at me and knew what I was thinking! He knew there was no way I was going to have anything that required electricity!

We both thanked the plumber for coming and paid his trip fee. After he left, my husband got on the Internet to learn about direct vent gas heaters and see if he could find one. The home improvement stores list them on their website, but after a few phone calls, no one in our area had one. My husband was told, "They don't make many of those kind."

It was my turn to try. I opened up the phone book and started calling plumbers to see if anyone had access to one. I found a plumber who's supplier had two! We booked him to come the next day.

Since direct vent gas hot water heaters are in limited supply, as you can guess, they cost more than a regular gas hot water heater. About three times as much! This wasn't something that could be paid for out of the monthly budget. The emergency fund comes to the rescue! It was meant for times like this!

Emergencies happen all the time! You need an emergency fund for unexpected expenses! If your budget doesn't have any room to create an emergency fund, how will you pay for something like a new hot water heater? A new furnace or air conditioner? A broken window? New tires?

Anyone on any kind of budget can build an emergency fund. If you don't have extra dollars to save, start by saving small change. Then bring your lunch to work one day each week and put the money you would have spent into your emergency fund. If you currently bring your lunch to work, look for other ways you can save a dollar or two each week. Once that is accomplished, look for more ways to save. I know you can find ways to cut back somewhere! Even if it is only a dollar or two, it will add up over time!

Then when something like a broken hot water heater affects your life, you won't be worried at all!  Here is a picture of my current emergency fund. 

This thing was so expensive, it completely wiped out our emergency fund! Now it is time to start saving for a new one! 

That way, when the next emergency comes, I will be ready!


  1. We have an emergency fund but it seems the balance is always zero. Everytime we build it up something needs doing that requires it's use. So it does serve it's purpose and that's not having to use credit when we are desparate.

    1. I agree with you, Dan! Mine is currently at zero as well! I know it is tough to save for an emergency fund but I have never heard anyone regret doing it!

  2. Our emergency fund is for the roof and the water well. If either one of these goes we would be up a creek. They cost so much to replace that we wanted to make sure we had money to take care it when the need came up.


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