Where the Atlantic & Indian Oceans merge: meeting the habit of not saving head-on (HIV/AIDS research work in Cape Town, South Africa, 2005)
We have an emergency fund, but if you don’t, definitely consider contributing to one (it’s a must)…even if just $1,000 that you don’t touch…that’s at least enough to repair your car, get a new washing machine, an unexpected medical bill, get a leak fixed, etc. (& all the other expenses that we don’t miss about homeownership). Even a small emergency fund will cover most emergencies. But ideally, striving for several months of expenses is best. If we can improve upon doing this, so can you…as we definitely need to replenish due to our most recent move.
Some people say they can’t afford to save…but they go out to eat, shop, have cable, don’t negotiate bills, don’t use coupons, etc. There are so many ways to save money and it will really make you feel so proud of yourself. If you put aside even $50 per month, at the end of the year, your emergency fund will have $600 in it. That’s enough to cover that car repair, washing machine, trip to the urgent care center, that ceiling leak, etc. So really, you don’t need tons of funds for most emergencies. And living in Africa where we’ve really seen what poor means, we know for sure that none of our family and friends are poor. Not at all. We know that our family and friends do not budget and do not aim to make the best financial choices, though. And we know this because we are in that group too. But the difference is, we are aiming to do better and to share what we are learning by surrounding ourselves with those who are doing it. It takes saying no, re-assessing needs vs. wants, and looking at each dollar as if using it will steal from your future. None of us are getting any younger and now is as good a time
We (all of us) are so blessed…challenge yourself to do one thing each day that’s a smart decision for your finances. Check out our favorite books here. One of them was Smart Couples/Women Finish Rich, of which was read several times over the last ten years as the info is so true & useful. That book changed our lives…albeit many years later…it finally clicked. But thankfully, there is a wealth of information online now…great blogs and lots of financial gurus who have been where we/you are. And if you don’t have Internet at home, the USA is a country where you can find free WiFi at coffee shops, etc. Isn’t that amazing? Free telecommunication services…take advantage of it & do your research. Find out what will work for you and your family. We must start taking baby steps towards what may seem like the impossible…because anything is possible.