how much do you keep in your emergency fund? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 35 Old 08-13-2009, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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just curious.

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#2 of 35 Old 08-13-2009, 06:42 PM
 
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Ideally, it would be several thousand but I keep dipping into it to pay off the car loan. I suppose I should keep a set amount in there first and foremost, then tackle the car. I've paid off a few thousand on the car since last year but now that we're having to have repairs done on it I am not comfortable with putting those on our remaining cc. That's what the EF is supposed to be for! This month I am bringing it back up to $1k and then continue with the extra payments. Once the loan is finished in about a year (hopefully) I will put everything I've been throwing at the car back into the fund.
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#3 of 35 Old 08-13-2009, 07:04 PM
 
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Ideally, it would be $2000. But unfortunately, we can't seem to keep one in place.

Lauren
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#4 of 35 Old 08-13-2009, 07:49 PM
 
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What type of emergency fund? We have one for car emergencies, medical emergencies, job loss emergencies, etc. So, the "normal" emergencies. It's 3 months living expenses.

I have an emergency savings account in my name only; it's $10,000. It's unlikely I'll ever touch it. But, it's just in case my dp turns into some kind of ogre and I need to run. Not that I expect this to happen; I trust my dp with my life. But I've seen too many women stuck in marriages where they couldn't get out due to lack of funds. I promised myself that would never be me. Actually, there's a legacy that goes with the money - my great grandmother had the same emergency savings, for the same reason, which she never used. Her daughters inherited it after her death. One of those daughters was my grandma, who added onto it and also saved it for the same purposes. She never had to use it, and passed it onto my mom. Who added to it, and also never had to use it. So, she passed it onto me - and now, I have it. I hope I'll never have to use it either, can add to it, and pass it onto my daughter (if I have a daughter).

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#5 of 35 Old 08-13-2009, 07:53 PM
 
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$5000. There are days I wish we kept 10,000 in our account "just in case", but we've never dipped below the $5000 so for now, it works.

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#6 of 35 Old 08-13-2009, 07:56 PM
 
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$1K in my checking account, and $10K in ING (6+ mos of expenses).

Took a while to get to these levels, but finally got the debt monster off my back and have been able to save more now.
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#7 of 35 Old 08-13-2009, 08:25 PM
 
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1 yr of living expenses in the 'household' emergency fund...
like sailor i have my own accounts incase i should need to seperate from dh and he becomes ugly...this totals enough to move myself and kids and start over ....
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#8 of 35 Old 08-13-2009, 09:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor View Post
I have an emergency savings account in my name only; it's $10,000. It's unlikely I'll ever touch it. But, it's just in case my dp turns into some kind of ogre and I need to run. Not that I expect this to happen; I trust my dp with my life. But I've seen too many women stuck in marriages where they couldn't get out due to lack of funds. I promised myself that would never be me. Actually, there's a legacy that goes with the money - my great grandmother had the same emergency savings, for the same reason, which she never used. Her daughters inherited it after her death. One of those daughters was my grandma, who added onto it and also saved it for the same purposes. She never had to use it, and passed it onto my mom. Who added to it, and also never had to use it. So, she passed it onto me - and now, I have it. I hope I'll never have to use it either, can add to it, and pass it onto my daughter (if I have a daughter).
What a tremendous gift and a great idea. I'm going to mull this one over.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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#9 of 35 Old 08-13-2009, 09:24 PM
 
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We have gone from keeping zero in an EF to where I'm not comfortable without at least $2K in savings.

Except we just dipped into it significantly for a car. But now we're building it back up, and I won't even exhale until $2K is in there. We are scrimping like crazy to get it built up now.

After that we're just going to keep building it indefinitely. Whatever we don't spend on bills and necessities gets put in savings. I am hoping that we're on the brink of building up significant savings (like 6mo income or the downpayment on our next homesite).

We are finally at a point where our income exceeds our expenses, as long as we are careful and conscientious. : I'm so happy about that.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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#10 of 35 Old 08-14-2009, 12:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor View Post
What type of emergency fund? We have one for car emergencies, medical emergencies, job loss emergencies, etc. So, the "normal" emergencies. It's 3 months living expenses.

I have an emergency savings account in my name only; it's $10,000. It's unlikely I'll ever touch it. But, it's just in case my dp turns into some kind of ogre and I need to run. Not that I expect this to happen; I trust my dp with my life. But I've seen too many women stuck in marriages where they couldn't get out due to lack of funds. I promised myself that would never be me. Actually, there's a legacy that goes with the money - my great grandmother had the same emergency savings, for the same reason, which she never used. Her daughters inherited it after her death. One of those daughters was my grandma, who added onto it and also saved it for the same purposes. She never had to use it, and passed it onto my mom. Who added to it, and also never had to use it. So, she passed it onto me - and now, I have it. I hope I'll never have to use it either, can add to it, and pass it onto my daughter (if I have a daughter).


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#11 of 35 Old 08-14-2009, 05:06 AM
 
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I am also wondering what type of "emergency" we're discussing...

We have tiered savings:
1. We purposely keep $500-1000 in our checking account at all times for any IMMEDIATE emergencies.

2. We have a savings account at the same credit union that is the "overdraft" account for the above-mentioned checking account. We use this to save for things we plan to do within a year or two, such as vacations, furniture, etc. It would be the next account to be used in the event of an "emergency". Generally has $0-3K, depending on where we are in the cycle of building it up or spending it on a planned purchase.

3. We have our 6-9 months of living expenses in a completely separate financial institution. When we were building up from scratch, we built it to 3 months worth and never let it dip below that as we skimmed off the top when needed for emergencies or planned purchases (before we had the tiered savings we have now). Then, built it to 6 months, never letting it dip below as we skimmed off the top as needed/planned. Now, we are building it up to 9 months.

Similar to Sailor, I have savings in my own name for any purpose and I have felt very empowered through having it. I was in a bad marriage when I was very young and it took me longer than it could have to get out of dodge due to money. I never wanted to feel that way again. I started it and built it on my own when I was working before even meeting my DH, who is the love of my life. We were both 30 when we met, so it was actually more comfortable and easier for us to begin our marriage with separate accounts and slowly merge the household expenses into a joint account and so forth.

ETA: Speaking of daughters...we have a daughter and we are very open about our finances with her and have been since she was little. She knows about our various accounts and knows why we have joint accounts and separate accounts. She's 8 now. I haven't specifically said, "Mommy has a separate account in case she has to leave Daddy" and I wouldn't, but I talk to her about how I can do this or that due to my separate account and the same for Daddy. In that same vein, we have her handling money on her own in different "accounts": spending, savings, and charity. We currently give her 4 quarters each week and she puts one quarter into each of the "accounts" (physically different containers) and she gets to choose where the fourth quarter goes. I have her tell me, just so I can hear her reasoning and it is fascinating! She pays for half of her school field trips and half of her girl scout events with her spending money. (We pay the other half.) When these and other items start to go up in price, then we plan to increase her weekly "income".

Obviously, I believe in starting children young in learning to manage money and IMO it goes hand in hand with specifically empowering females to be financially independent enough to take care of themselves.

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

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#12 of 35 Old 08-14-2009, 05:45 AM
 
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We keep a few thousand in our attached savings so we can save up for sooner things, then more in a seperate acct. with 6 months expenses.

It is about 15% of our annual gross income in the larger account if that helps.

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#13 of 35 Old 08-14-2009, 06:37 AM
 
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We used to have 20k. After we opened a HELOC we keep very little emergency fund now. DH convinced me that's the best, especially since interest is so low right now. We might start building it up again once the interest is up again.

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#14 of 35 Old 08-14-2009, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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emergencies such as car repairs, unexpected medical bills, as well as some more expensive purchases like when my laptop goes out and needs replaced,etc. I also would like to keep first, last and security on hand at all times as we are renters. (gladly so though! ) But, in this economy I am just wanting to be prepared even if it is overly so (our current rental situation is in foreclosure as it is, so it's really opened my eyes a bit!)

I guess I am talking more of a combo emergency/slush fund.

I am building one separate from regular savings because I am sick of wiping out my savings every time a costly expense comes up. (usually I have several at once).

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#15 of 35 Old 08-14-2009, 09:59 AM
 
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About $30,000.
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#16 of 35 Old 08-14-2009, 10:23 AM
 
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Ugh- our savings is not what I would like to be right now! The past few years have been very draining money wise. Things should start to settle down unless life throws us another curve ball- but I think we have had our share lately!

Immediate access about $1000
Kept in a CD in case of real hardship 3 months expenses- really want that to be about 6 months plus, but one thing at a time.

We have another savings acct supposed to be for Christmas and such but I expect it to be wiped out shortly from medical bills. However, if we make it through December we should have all these big expenses behind us and can hopefully build our other savings back up. We need to start a car fund- our van will probably be replaced in about 5 yrs. I want to fund and actually be able to use a Christmas and vacation acct next year- we couldn't do a vacation this year. We need to increase our retirment savings next year as well, we had to reduce it this year.

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#17 of 35 Old 08-14-2009, 01:12 PM
 
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1 year's expenses.

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#18 of 35 Old 08-14-2009, 02:59 PM
 
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We have tiers of funds like sunnysandiegan has.
  • Money in our general operating savings account covers us pretty on a monthly basis. I plan for it to eventually get spent each year on small home things.
  • We set aside money for known annual expenses and major home repairs. Some gets spent annualy, some, we wait until the house tells us what it needs :
  • Approx 4 months of stripped- down expenses are in our 'do not disturb' emergency fund. We add to that at a rate of a shade more than 2 months/year. Those would only be used in case of job loss or major catastrophe.

ETA, we both work. DH has a relatively secure job. However, I wouldn't feel comfortable stopping working until we've saved up enough for our known future home repairs and bulking that true emergency fund up considerably. This year has proven that nothing is secure, sadly.

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#19 of 35 Old 08-14-2009, 03:27 PM
 
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We have one year's "slim living" expenses in easy-to-access savings. Slim living meaning what we could get by on after stripping all optionals out of the budget but DOES include catastrophic health insurance. We used to have much less but last time dh lost his job, it took a full year to find a new one. Luckily, I was able to get a job during that time to keep us afloat AND we got lucky that there were no medical emergencies during that year when we had no insurance. But it was a real eye-opener. Had I not been able to find a job either, we could have lost our house, cars, and retirement funds:

We also have an open HELOC that could also be accessed if something really huge happened. We have never used it and likely never will, but the $50 annual fee is worth the peace of mind. More than anything, we have a 120 yo house and need to know we have immediate access to financing if we face a major repair. And not have to rely on whatever the economic climate is doling out for available financing at that time. Luckily the house is more than 50% paid off so even if we did use the HELOC, we would not be anywhere near upside down.

My family thinks we are nuts to pass up new cars, vacations, and a "bigger and better" house in order to have this peace of mind. While nothing is guaranteed, at least I know we are doing the best we can to be prepared.
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#20 of 35 Old 08-14-2009, 03:28 PM
 
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We have several different saving accounts, but the portion we call the emergency fund equals about a year of living expenses. A very small portion of this is cash in the house, a larger chunk is in our local bank and the largest chunk is in an online account.
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#21 of 35 Old 08-14-2009, 03:32 PM
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2000 readily availabe and 6 months expenses in an online acct.
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#22 of 35 Old 08-14-2009, 03:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rainbowmoon View Post
just curious.
Well, I'm a Dave Ramsey follower, and while paying off debt, that's $1K in emergency fund. However, if circumstances warrant (new baby coming, job insecurity, etc.), beef it up by all means!

I've got two unpaid furlough weeks to take at work by Dec. 1 (first one is the week before Labor Day, the other one in November). That means I'm stashing all the cash I can in my EF. It's now up to $1700.

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#23 of 35 Old 08-14-2009, 04:05 PM
 
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We have $10,000 in savings right now. That's for all types of emergencies-medical, vehicle, home, emergency travel, dh loses his job, etc. It's also our savings account for other things, like home improvement (we'll need to be doing a lot in the next five years). DH also doesn't like the checking acct to go below $500 (or $1000 if we aren't tight on money).

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#24 of 35 Old 08-14-2009, 04:09 PM
 
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I now have $1050 that I have done by saving $50 a month.

My income is pretty modest and I have lots of expenses for special needs of kids, divorce and stuff.

I'm quite thrilled about having *any* savings and will keep doing the $50 a month. Will increase it when I get out of debt.
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#25 of 35 Old 08-14-2009, 06:15 PM
 
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1 yr. of living like we do now or 2 - 2.5 yrs. stripped down to the essentials.

ETA: "living like we do now", but not saving a dime, that is.
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#26 of 35 Old 08-14-2009, 06:27 PM
 
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ok, I'll be brave and offer up the "other" end of the spectrum

once upon a time we had an emergency fund. Then we had several emergencies and pay cuts. Now it's gone. Along with dh's retirement fund. If we had excess after shelter was paid for we'd definatly get another emergency fund going. Right now, any money left after nessesary bills goes to buying food. This month there is only about $50 left after bills are paid... so if we don't buy any food, diapers, or non food consumables I guess thats our current emergency fund .

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#27 of 35 Old 08-14-2009, 08:58 PM
 
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currently we only have 1300, in the overdraft account and 1500 in the emergency fund.

We had 20,000 but then our oldest daughter was diagnosed with cancer.... we are still financially recovering.

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#28 of 35 Old 08-15-2009, 03:46 AM
 
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we had about $3000 but lost a major client and now have about $900. ideally, any extra at all goes into the savings. eventually it will get built back up again. i'd like $5000 before we start working on anything else.

eh. who needs a signature?
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#29 of 35 Old 08-17-2009, 06:34 PM
 
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We try to keep $10k, and have usually managed that. We also have a HELOC though.

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#30 of 35 Old 08-18-2009, 12:03 AM
 
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$1K in my checking account, and $10K in ING
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