Using the Emergency Fund

Dear Dave,

My husband and I are debt-free, and we've got a fully funded, six-month emergency fund in place. The problem is that he lost his job last month. I'm still working part-time and bringing home $150 a week. But we're unsure if we should cut our budget down to bare bones or continue living like normal since we have so much saved?

Jennifer

Dear Jennifer,

You definitely want to live on as little as you can. This way, the money in your emergency fund will last longer. You may be bringing in $600 a month - and that's okay for a part-time job - but it's not nearly enough to run a household.

It's beans and rice time, girl. This means no vacations, no movies, no restaurants, and no $100 sneakers for the kids. In other words, no life until he finds another job and you guys are on your financial feet again. Keep the lights on and food in the pantry. Those are your priorities right now. I'd rather see you go into crunch time now without completely draining your emergency fund before he goes back to work.

This is the living, breathing definition of an emergency, Jennifer. Praise God you guys were smart enough to plan ahead. So yes, use it; but be wise. Spend only when it's absolutely necessary!

- Dave

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