Emergency Funds

Watching the events of the past couple of weeks, what with Hurricane Harvey flooding Texas, and now that Hurricane Irma is looming in the Atlantic Ocean, I’m reminded of one of the most important reasons that we all need emergency funds. In the event that you have an emergency, how will you manage to survive the days, weeks, or even months that it takes to return to some semblance of a normal life?

With hurricanes in particular, we usually have some warning and there are preparations that can be made, but you’ve got to have the funds available to make the right preparations. For example, you may want to buy plenty of food and water well before the storm comes into your area, or you may need to board up your windows, or if the storm threat is serious enough, you may need to evacuate completely.

After the storm passes, there are still more challenges to overcome… the price of gas, food, and other supplies can skyrocket, which takes a bite out of your already stressed budget. It’s a lot to try and cover on your normal salary, assuming that you’re able to get to work. But how many of us have an extra thousand or two sitting there just waiting for us in times of dire need? According to national statistics, not very many. In fact, 69 percent of us have less than $1,000.00 in savings, and of that, 34 percent have no savings at all.

What about you? What are your options? How can you effectively have an “emergency fund” when you don’t have the cash available?

One of the best ways that I know of to create an emergency fund that you can tap into quickly should you ever need to is to get a credit card and keep the available credit at or above the level that you would need to purchase the items you need to buy food and water, pay those exorbitant gas prices, or even rent the hotel room that you’d need to escape a hurricane, wild fire, flood, or other natural disaster if and when one threatens your area.

Granted, it may not go as far as you need it to should disaster strike, but at least a credit card with your “emergency fund” in available credit will give you options that you may not otherwise have. And those options can be the difference between life and death in some cases.