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Your car breaks down and fixing it costs 75% of your saved emergency fund.
Or your refrigerator just quits working and you need to go buy a new one, which is all of your emergency fund.
Or a pipe gets a hole in it and now you have water leaking all through the living room ceiling and the cost to fix the pipe and your ceiling is your whole emergency fund.
I see this happen regularly. You are totally not alone.
First thing, that is why the emergency fund is in place, for an emergency like to happen and you have the funds to be able to pay it.
But why does an emergency seem to happen right after you are comfortable with the amount of money in your emergency fund?
Let's first look at your mindset around an emergency fund.
Do you constantly think that you have the funds for an emergency to happen, so something bad is going to happen?
For most people that I talk to about this, that is their exact thinking. They always think something bad is going to happen now that they are prepared for the emergency to happen.
So you may be thinking, well then why prepare an emergency fund in the first place? Well, what if your car breaks down and you don't have the money to pay for your repair and you don't have enough room on your credit card? What if your refrigerator breaks and you don't have the means to buy a new one?
Where are you going to get the money if you don't have the funds saved somewhere? You can't go to work without your car and since you don't have the funds to repair the car, I'm going to also assume that you don't have the extra money to rent a car either. You can't live without a refrigerator, there are too many perishable goods that we keep in our refrigerator.
One way around this emergency fund thinking is to change the name of your emergency fund. Change it to something that feels right to you. I changed mine to peace of mind savings fund.
When you change your thinking of having an emergency fund to having a peace of mind savings fund (or whatever name you decide to use), how does that feel for you?
For me, it feels more freeing knowing that it's not just for emergencies, but it's there to give me a peace of mind should something ever happen that I need to use it.
The next part of your thinking is changing why you always think something bad is going to happen.
Unfortunately, it's normal for humans to think the worst is always going to happen. But what would happen if you started thinking if the best would always happen?
I can tell you from my own personal experience that it is very life changing.
A few years ago, I started an almost daily habit of asking myself, "What's the best that can happen today?" And then just going about my day happy to be living life and just really enjoying what life had to offer me.
Why do you always have to think that something bad is going to happen? Where does that really get you? How does it really serve you?
My life changed almost instantly when I started asking myself "What's the best that can happen today?" I became happier and almost everyone around me noticed. I rarely had a bad day.
And being an auditor where you go to people and tell them they usually own more money to the government is not a good thing. Most people hated me. But because I changed my outlook on life by always thinking good things are going to happen, my job as an auditor became even easier.
My clients weren't as contentious and rude when I was working with them, even when I did tell them they owed more money.
Change the way you think about your day. But only take it one day at a time. Not every day is always going to be good. But when you have more good days than negative days, your life really does start to change.
Do you really appreciate what you have - your physical belongings, your car, your appliances, your home, your life, your health?
Too many times I see people complaining about what they have. They don't have the newest and best available on the market. But does what you have serve the job that it is supposed to do.
Take cars for example. We always want to upgrade our car to the newest model available. But do you actually appreciate the car that you do have right now.
My car is over 10 years old. Occasionally, I'm afraid of the repair work that my car is going to need. But every time I get into that fear mode of my car needing something repaired, I notice it and start thanking my car for everything it has done for me. I make sure I repeat almost daily how grateful I am for having a healthy car that easily gets me everywhere I need to go when I need to get there.
Start really appreciating the things that you do have. If you have write this appreciation in the form of a gratitude journal, then so be it. But the more you appreciate what you already do have, the more it will continue to work for you.
Appreciation goes a long way, and it doesn't matter if it's with our belongings or other humans.
That's the mindset piece, so let's look at the physical piece.
There are people who take very good care of their things and there are people who couldn't give a care in the world, and there are even more people who are in the middle of this spectrum.
The more you take care of your things, the less emergencies that will happen. No, you cannot prevent every thing from dying once it's useful life is complete. But you can make the useful life last even longer, by really caring for your things.
How well do you clean? How often do you drop your belongings?
Taking care of something always adds to the useful life.
For example with my cell phone, I always keep a silicone case on it, as well as one of those glass unbreakable covers on it. Every time I get a new phone because it's just worn out from using it for 3-4 years, the AT&T employee is always amazed at how my phone looks pretty much brand new.
And then the employee tries to sell me the insurance for my new phone and I always decline it.
Most electronics are meant to last for 1-3 years and then they become obsolete. For me, they last much longer because I take care of my things. And I also appreciate everything they do for me.
Even if you do everything I've mentioned in this post, emergencies are going to still happen. But they will happen a lot less frequently than they were before.
You won't have to spend your emergency fund just because you have it when you change the way you think.
Share this post with your friends so they can eliminate these emergencies from happening after they build their emergency fund too.
Clarissa Wilson is a financial strategist and online educator who holds two master’s degrees in Forensic Accounting. Also creative and spiritual, she is an intuitive empath and introvert. Clarissa is the host of The Prosper + Profit Podcast, where money conversations occur on a daily basis -- as she believes that money shouldn’t be a taboo subject. After growing up on a dairy farmand learning to work hard for money, Clarissa awakened to a path that allowed wealth to flow easily to her. Clarissa currently lives in Pennsylvania with her two cats.
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