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Savers Beware: Money Alone Is Not A Priority

The real priority—where the rubber meets the road—is to have money that actually pays for emergencies.

Saving money is such a good thing. In fact, if that is all you took away from this post—save money—it wouldn’t be a total loss.

But I know a lot of you are already very good savers. You have big piles of money that you are very proud of—your emergency fund, a big house repair fund or a new car, a vacation fund…

You are good at saving that money. But how you fare when something happens which requires you to use the money?

Saving (Mostly) Emergency-Proofs Your Life

If you have been using YNAB for a while, budgeting faithfully, you’ll notice that you have fewer and fewer emergencies. Why? Well, it turns out, if you plan for something, and you have the money to pay for it, it doesn’t feel like much of a crisis.

Now, I’m Talking To You, Savers

Your emergency fund is a big pile of money, and it has probably been just sitting there for awhile, but its whole purpose—the job you gave all those dollars to do—was to save the day in case of some unforeseen event.

All good things. However, at one time or another, for all of us, Murphy strikes, and it’s a full-blown emergency. What are you going to do about it?

Let’s say you have a $15,000 emergency fund, and something big happens—the basement floods, the roof caves in, the car blows up—who knows what it will be? But you didn’t see it coming and it is going to cost you thousands of dollars.

The temptation for you master savers will be to cut back, tighten up every which way, and scrimp and save (even more!) and sacrifice to pay it off without having to dip into your precious emergency fund.

Let Your Emergency Fund Do Its Job

Your emergency fund is sacred. You never touch it. In fact, you are very proud of the fact that you never touch it.

And this is where I’m asking you to be careful. (I can say this from experience.)

I love the little challenges and games with myself, but I don’t want you to wrestle with any feelings of guilt or failure here. Nothing went wrong.

You saved money for an emergency. You had an emergency. And that money can and should do exactly what you intended it to do.

Don’t treat it like it is sacred just because it is fun to see that big balance just sitting there.

Make sure you are sticking to your budget. Let your money do what it is supposed to do.

Money Alone Is Not A Priority

If you set aside $3,000 for a vacation—take the vacation. Don’t let the money itself become a priority. Think about that for a moment.

Your original priority was not the money. Your priority was the vacation, or to not have to stress because you were prepared for emergencies.

At the surface level, yes, you want to have money set aside for emergencies. But the real priority, where the rubber meets the road, is to have money that actually pays for emergencies. There is a difference.

If your priority is just to have lots and lots and lots of cash, the highest balance possible, it’s going to be tough for you to scratch that itch in the long-term.

It’s just something to be aware of. Sometimes the balance of a category or an account, can feel like it’s the actual priority for your money. And it’s not.

Try to think back to a time before piles of money were messing with your head, when you sat down to prioritize, what was most important to you? What matters most? Why did you create the categories you did in the first place?

If you have to have a problem, this is not the worst one to have, but we budgeters, and our awareness. You can never have enough. 🙂

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Savers Beware: Money Alone Is Not A Priority