Emergencies happen. Are you prepared?
This morning I woke up to the sound of my wife telling me we had no hot water. I knew right away that if she’s telling me this, it means she got up before me and got all ready to take her morning shower before discovering that only cold water was coming out of the shower head. So I got up and walked downstairs to the furnace room with the image of my wife in her bathrobe with her grumpy face on still clearly ingrained in my mind. I started to think how fun this day was going to be, and then I came around the corner to see the source of our cold water problem.
Our water heater gave out in the middle of the night and leaked water all over the floor. This wouldn’t be a problem if the floor actually sloped down to the sump pump, but it doesn’t slope that way. It slopes away from the sump pump, which allowed the water to seep under the walls and soak most of the basement carpeting.
How we used to pay for emergencies
Now, ten years ago, this situation would really have stressed me out. Well, actually it still stresses me out, but ten years ago I’d have been really stressed out, because we would have basically two options:
- We could pay for the cleanup costs (up to our deductible) and the cost of replacing the water heater with our credit card. We would then stress about having to come up with enough money to pay the credit card bill over the next few months. I hate having to keep paying for something for months after I used the service.
- We could try to save some money and clean up the water ourselves while trying to install a gas water heater, which I know nothing about. There’s definitely some stress here since my back has been bothering me and bending over to clean up the mess wouldn’t help things a whole lot. Plus, there’s that nagging feeling in the back of my mind of wondering if I got it cleaned enough and if we’re going to have mold problems later on from me not drying things up well enough.
How we pay for emergencies today
Today, we had different options. Today when we discovered our problem, I didn’t panic. I simply picked up the phone and called the insurance company. Then I called my friend Joel Jackson with PuroClean. Then I called our friends at D&M Plumbing & Heating to order a new water heater. By noon Joel had the water cleaned up and the air movers & dehumidifier working to dry up the remaining moisture. We also had the water heater scheduled for replacement by 2 pm. And we had relatively little stress.
Why is my stress level so low? Because we have money in the bank saved up for exactly this purpose. We have an emergency fund. I know I can confidently pay cash for the water heater plus the water damage mitigation, and still have money left over for future emergencies. I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to pay for this mess. I don’t have to worry about saving money by doing the work myself. I can pay professionals to do the job right the first time.
Less Stress with the Emergency Fund
The emergency fund removes so much stress from the process of having emergencies. I’ve recommended it for years because I’ve needed it and used it several times since we first got ours built up. It’s so nice to know you have money there when you need it. And the best part is, I didn’t have to hang on to some crummy credit card just in case I had an emergency. In fact, I haven’t even owned a credit card since 2007 because I know I don’t need it anymore. I’m self-insured from emergencies through my emergency fund. Now that’s a good feeling!