You know I am keen on emergency funds. Life is too unpredictable to live without some sort of cushion. Sure, you could use overdraft protection or a credit card as your cushion. But that’s not really the best choice, which is why I constantly encourage you to have a little cash tucked away.
As a military family, some things about life can be more unpredictable than for most civilians. In the extreme, surprise PCS moves can cause financial havoc.
I spent a ridiculous amount of time yesterday assessing my family’s financial readiness if we were to receive surprise PCS orders. This wasn’t completely wasteful, as it was part of my overall assessment of our financial readiness for our expected PCS in 2015. The results were disturbing.
Our PCS fund is pretty small, so we’d be tapping into our emergency fund to cover the expenses of moving, including moving the cat, buying a car, finding a new place to live, and setting up house. Even though DLA helps with the cost of a rental deposit first month’s rent on a new home, you still need the cash up front. Our new-to-us car fund is paltry and will barely purchase a Franken-Caddy. (Never mind that they are priceless!) And we don’t have a cat-travel fund, either, so those costs would have to come out of our emergency funds. And let’s not even talk about window coverings and other new house expenses.
Though it would pain me to use so much of our emergency fund, it is 100% better than putting all those expenses on a credit card or taking advance pay.
In an ideal world, we’d all have fully-funded PCS accounts that were prepared for a move at any time. In reality, moves sometimes happen frequently and/or unexpectedly, and we might not be financially prepared. An emergency fund can help you bridge the costs and keep a surprise from turning into a big mess.