Life is full of the unexpected.
Sometimes the surprises are good. You find a twenty in an old pair of jeans, for example. Sometimes the surprises are very good. The cop who pulled you over just wanted you to slow down a little. Sometimes surprises are downright great. You get to work and your boss calls you in to her office to give you a raise.
At other times, of course, the unexpected sucks. You break a tooth on the peanut brittle you bought with the twenty you found in those old jeans. The cop gives you a speeding ticket. And he writes you up for going 11 mph over the limit instead of 10 so it doubles your fine. (been there). And then things get worse. You finally get to work, late, and find out you have been laid off/RIF’d/made redundant/let go/downsized.
When those crappy unexpected things happen you have a couple options.
1. You can ignore them. Yeah, right, maybe they’ll just go away.
2. You can stick all the expenses on a credit card and pretend they went away.
3. You can flip out, call your parents and keep sobbing until they’re so sick of hearing you they pay for it just to get you to stop.
4. You can use your Emergency Fund to pay for them.
Options 1 and 2 don’t really take care of the problem, right? In fact, between the interest and penalties they make matters worse. Option 3 probably works once but that’s about it.
So, surprise! Option 4 is the way to go. When you’ve got money set aside to use for the unexpected things that crop up, you don’t have to freak out. You dip into your Emergency Fund and take care of them. Your friends will thank you. Nobody likes hanging out with constantly Stressed-out Sally or Panicky Pete. That is not what friends are for.