Another title for this blog could have been; "Why an Emergency Fund Helps Me Sleep at Night", but that's not as catchy. Besides, I like the mental picture of a clear glass of water, partially filled, and your thirst is what determines whether you can view it as an optimist or as a pessimist. But really, isn't that how we view everything – through our needs?
When I have more bills then money, it's hard to sing with the bluebirds in the sun. I'm more likely to gripe because the birds pooped on my car and now I have to clean it off. My financial lack creates a pair of morose tinted glasses that colors everything I see in a shade of grey.
When my bills are paid, however, and I have a bit set aside as padding (a.k.a. my emergency fund), I take the "mo" off my "morose tinted glasses" and put it in my pocket. Having "mo" always makes me feel good, whether it be "mo" money, "mo" groceries or "mo" gas. Taking the "mo" off leaves me with "rose tinted" glasses, and suddenly everything looks good.
What is an emergency fund? I'll leave all the technical how-to and where-fors to smarter folks than me and you can read further here or at Get Rich Slowly's blog. They answer all the great questions like how much and where to put it. All I’m trying to communicate is that if you have a fat emergency fund, you feel more secure and can look at a glass of water and think positive thoughts about it. You know that if the manure hits the fan, you’ve got your goggles on.
No emergency fund is like walking into the woods for a campout expecting that you will eat fresh fish and berries the whole time, so you leave any extra food behind. As night creeps in and you ask yourself "Where's the fish?!?" you find yourself hungry and wishing you had been better prepared.
A few dollars squirreled away now can make a real difference as to whether you have a good or horrible daily experience. Take a good look at your savings, and if it's looking low, do what you can to fill 'er up. Then when someone asks the water glass question you won't be tempted to toss it at them.