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Emergency Fund

November 17th, 2008 at 10:36 am

I'm still playing with goals. I left what I've had up in my sidebar as goals, although technically they are not goals. They aren't measurable and they don't have a deadline.

Laying in a significant emergency fund seems like a next good goal. Mr. H's job isn't stable, the economy isn't stable, and I'd like the added sense of security of it. So I've added that to the list even though it's technically not a goal either - no deadline.

After I came to this, I waited for a good time and ambushed, er, brought it up to Mr. H. * He agreed that this was a good idea and said that he thought we were already doing it. The money that was spent on his car this past summer was our savings and it's been slowly added to as random money has appeared. But we've never said it was an emergency fund. I think there's a difference in, well, purpose and feeling of intensity between savings and emergency fund. Then I asked him how much he thought we ought to aim for. He named a dollar amount, I agreed, and it's up on the side bar. The conversation, about 10 minutes' worth, was tense. Since we both had to be elsewhere shortly, we agreed to discuss it further the next day. **

When DH asked me about this again, *** I told him I thought our options to fund the EF were: 1) make more money or 2) save more money. Sounds pretty obvious, right?

To make more money either 1) he would need to get a different job AND/OR 2) he would need to get an additional job 3) AND/OR I would need to get a job (part time or back into the workforce). I don't see either 1) or 2) happening, and I would like to be available for my daughter which leaves out 3 (for the most part). So then it becomes saving more of what comes in. And this is where it becomes dicey for me. We can, and should, cut back on food expenses. But beyond that I feel like we're getting into more "extreme savings lifestyle changes". . . and while I recognize there are always choices, and I am choosing family relationships over money, I am just not loving the idea of "extreme savings lifestyle changes" - the things that came to mind are lowering the heat****, hang-drying the laundry, and "navy showers" (you can read about them here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navy_shower). I hope they will grow on me, as also the idea of working at paid employment in a temporary and part-time fashion.

This conversation was also tense. I believe that IF we set a goal to have an emergency fund of $XX, and IF we set a deadline, and IF we keep focused on it, THEN the opportunities to achieve this goal will appear. DH has a hard time if the opportunities aren't immediately apparent. Perhaps I just have more faith (well, and more experience achieving goals) than he does. At any rate this is where we frequently get stuck.

* I know I've written many times about not feeling like we have much of a team effort here, financially or otherwise. But, as long as I'm here, I still need to make the effort, right? The difference is that I use different strategies to talk about things than I used to, and I'm less invested in the outcome than I'd like to be. I have to be less invested - a girl can only get her heart broken so many times.

** I suppose that's a guideline for possibly tense conversations - set them up to be short, so you can say your piece and go to your separate corners . . . you're not required to keep fighting about them.

***Yes, he does get credit on the teamwork balance sheet for bringing it up.

**** But I am sitting here with the thermostat set at 66, and doing okay so maybe I can get used to it.

2 Responses to “Emergency Fund”

  1. merch Says:

    would it help to put a due date on the goal when you get some clarity and present it as temporary?

    My wife has a hard time with long term goals. So like increasing our EF by $30k, she has trouble seeing the end of the tunnel, even though this is one of her main goals. So, I broke this into more manageable slices of sving $5k at a time. In the mind, it seems more achievable and more mangeable.

    So your difference is $2,030. Would it help to divide it into saving $500 four times, kind of sub goals that he can more easily digest?

  2. Petunia Says:

    Merch - that could help! He might be able to handle the $500 chunks, or maybe something smaller, where a $2030 amount is too much. Thanks!

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