You know, we financial folks are always going on about why people need an emergency fund and a little extra room in their budget.
This week has been yet another reminder for me.
One of my children has some health issues, and we spend a lot of time at the offices of various doctors. Thankfully, Tricare has been outstanding and we rarely pay for anything. However, twice in the last two months, she has spent the night in a hospital not near our home. Not far enough to qualify for Tricare’s travel expense reimbursement, but far enough that I don’t want to leave her and go all the way home for the night.
As we prepared for this recent stay, I was getting uptight about the expenses. The travel itself is not cheap, plus there are some meals along the way, and then a big-city hotel stay for me. And I had to keep telling myself, “It’s okay.” “We can handle this.” “We’re fine.” And most importantly, “This is why we live the way we do, so that things like this are not an issue.”
All true statements. We drive old cars, avoid restaurant meals, and forgo cable and pricey cell phones so that we are prepared for situations like this. Keeping our costs down equals the security of knowing that we can cover the unexpected expenses of life.
As a result, I was able to stay in a safe, clean hotel a short walk from her hospital. We had a nice restaurant meal before she went in, and I was able to focus on making her feel comfortable rather than counting my pennies. And while I will wince when the credit card bill comes in, I’ll be able to pay it without worry. Most importantly, my daughter never felt like her medical care was a financial burden to our family.
If that is not a good reason for an emergency fund, I don’t know what is.