The number one thing I hear when speaking with family and friends about an emergency fund…
“How can I possibly save anything when I’m already living paycheck to paycheck?”
I hear you, I was there too. At the time, I had no idea what an emergency fund was. You can read my story about how I got into debt and what I’m doing to get myself out here. I used to be good about finances. In college, I had one credit card. I only used it for things I needed and always paid it off in full every month. Then, I graduated college and learned I was expecting soon after. When I finally moved out of mom’s and dad’s, while pregnant, I “needed” new couches, and a brand new television set with an entertainment center to go with it. I “needed” an awesome baby shower, fancy baby items, clothes, and the more expensive diapers (because you know, they work better). Plus, I needed a NEW car. In hindsight, I didn’t need these things, I wanted them. All of these things added up to a lot of DEBT. While I was still managing my finances okay, I could feel a bit of financial pressure.
Then baby brother came along two and a half years later. I made small attempts to save money such as breastfeeding, using cloth diapers and wipes, and I made my own baby food. While it helped, I realized that instead of actually saving, I just shuffled the money elsewhere, like Amazon, to buy more things I didn’t need.
I became worse with money over time. Managing two kids, being a wife, managing my home, and working full-time with little sleep definitely took a toll on my abilities to keep up with finances. I missed payments resulting in overdraft fees, I made more impulse purchases, and I did not budget at all.
My turning point was when I literally had $5 before next paycheck. I had to wait to buy groceries until next payday. Luckily, payday was only 4 days away and I had no automatic payments to go through before then, but the thought of not having money to buy groceries was terrifying! I hated the feeling and I knew it was time for a change.