It is not a failure to use your emergency fund for an emergency. After all, that is what you have it for. I am grateful every time I need to use my emergency fund, and I can.
My Tales of Dental Woe
Using your Emergency Fund for an Emergency
I spent $500 at the dentist today. It was an emergency, and there was nothing I could do. Things like this can be really upsetting.
Its times like this that I have to remind myself of a few things:
- Thank goodness that I live in a place that I can spend money at a dentist that can fix my problem! This is something that would have caused me to lose a tooth if I lived in a different age or place. Luckily, after a few hours and (actually pretty painful) simple procedure, my problem is cured. A few hours of pain and that is it.
- I have the money to pay for this. After all, that is an emergency fund for if not for an emergency? Yes, it is annoying to have to empty your emergency fund account. It is depressing to have to “rebuild” the account in the next few months. Yes, it is frustrating that I may have to push off my new computer purchase for a while to double down on putting money into my emergency fund, BUT I was able to pay the entire dental bill on the spot.
- Since I don’t make a lot of money, it took me a really long time to build up my emergency fund (5 years! as I was unemployed and then underemployed for a chunk of it), but at the same time, it means that smaller emergencies can affect me more. The fact that I have this emergency fund is really a blessing. All my hard work paid off- now I won’t be in debt and have to pay interest on this bill. I wouldn’t want this one incident to affect me for longer than it has to.
- Obviously, I wasn’t meant to have this money- but isn’t it great that I had the money to lose in the first place? I am grateful that this dental escapade does not mean another bill I will have to pay over months. It doesn’t mean that I have to pay down a credit card balance (with interest!) over the next few months. I’m lucky enough that I don’t need to decide which bill I will pay next month. I can still buy the things that I need to buy. Thankfully, I was able to have the money to pay the dentist right away. I am grateful that I have this emergency fund to use for emergencies instead of having an event derail my financial plan for a while. And that is why it is SO important to have these savings put in the appropriate place- because while we cannot prevent emergencies from happening, we CAN make sure that the small emergencies don’t ruin us.
Update: I wrote this post a very long time ago and, lo and behold, emergencies keep on happening! But really, they aren’t emergencies. They are normal events that happen in life. We are lucky enough that we haven’t had any TRUE emergency- we are all alive and healthy. After yet another instance of having to use my emergency fund, I decided to rename it the “Life Happens” fund. Because life happens, and there is no way to prepare for everything.