This post is following up on my overview of Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps and providing my personal experience going through Baby Step #1.
- Save One Thousand in an Emergency Fund
“Ummm…that’s going to take me forever. I don’t make enough money and Dave R says I should be able to do this in a month. He is crazy. God, are You sure I should be following this crazy and unrealistic advice? Okay. Fine.” (I don’t know how you talk to God but that is exactly how some of our conversations go…especially when I’m acting like a toddler.)
Anyways, this step is about having an emergency fund. Cash to pay for those unexpected emergencies – not an amazing sale at name-your-favorite-store. What is an emergency? It’s having an unexpected medical bill or a blown tire or a cracked windshield. It’s having the water heater at your house die. It is not Christmas or a wonderfully priced pair of shoes or something that is not necessary.
As I said, I’d been funneling about $50 a pay check or $100 a month into savings and wasn’t feeling much of a dent, so I decided to buckle down and focus on saving the $1000. It was around my birthday, so any birthday money went into the fund, any returned items or items sold and the profit went into my emergency fund. It really didn’t take too long and it made me feel safe.
Let me just tell you that I know money doesn’t make me safe and that my trust should be in God but this is how I felt at the time. I felt joy and pride in being able to do it. For the first time ever, I had a good savings account. It made me eager to cross it off and keep saving. It was a bit addicting in knowing that I could save.
“…just 37% of Americans have enough savings to pay for a $500 or $1,000 emergency.”
– Forbes Magazine
What happened in Baby Step # 2? That’s another story for another day.
Are you one of the 37%? What Baby Step are you on? Let me know if this is useful or if you’d like more information. I know several people who have done this and would love (and I mean love) to help anyone just starting their journey.