Debt-free living: Don't miss the critical first step!
The most critical step for anyone starting their debt-free journey is having an emergency fund.
An emergency fund is money set aside for the express purpose of an emergency.
Today, if you have an emergency, chances are you are like many people, and you just whip out a credit card and, poof, your emergency goes away until the credit card payment is due.
If you read my previous blog titled, "Credit Cards: Why do I hate them?" Then you know, I too, used a credit card for one of my first adult emergencies and many more for years to come before I decided to go debt free.
As soon as you commit to living debt-free, anything that can go wrong will go wrong, according to Murphy’s law. And sadly, that's true for a few of the families I’ve financially coached.
Having an emergency fund allows you to be your own bank and you can loan your own money to yourself in the case of an emergency. This allows you to break free from your credit card company's dependence.
Let me share a few examples of Murphy’s law coming into action.
One family shared with me that within the first two weeks of going debt-free, their car had a tire blow out. They went in to get one new tire, and guess what, all four tires were near the end of their life, and they needed to replace not just one tire, but all four.
Another family was blessed to have a child earn a spot on a club sports team. Guess what comes with a star athlete making the team? team fees, uniforms, and sometimes unexpected travel. This family was able to enjoy their child making the team and used their emergency fund to get them started, but then quickly worked this into their family budget since any future club events would be cash flowed from their budget as it becomes a way of life, not an emergency.
Emergency funds are really the critical first step. Deciding to go debt-free and not having an emergency fund will just set you back and create added stress that will lead you back to your safety blanket, the good ole credit card.