Ask The Readers: Do You Have An Emergency Fund?

Photo: Lexie Rydberg

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Rebecca R., C. Enderle, and Robin for winning this week's contest!

Everyone goes through financial rough spots. Whether you lose your job or have an unexpected expense, sometimes you end up having to spend more money than you budgeted for. Some people are prepared for these financial rainy days while others choose to just take things as they come.

Do you have an emergency fund?  Why or why not? Have you ever needed your emergency fund for a financial rainy day?

Tell us if you have an emergency fund and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — one for random comments, one for random Facebook "Likes", and another one for random tweets.

Mandatory Entry: 

  • Post your answer in the comments below 

For extra entries (1 per action):

  • Go to our Facebook page, "Like" us, and leave a comment telling us you did, or
  • Tweet your answer. You have to be a follower of our @wisebread account. Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, June 20th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after June 20th on the original post and via Twitter. Winners will also be contacted via email, Facebook, and Twitter Direct Message.
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
  • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Note: Due to recent changes in Facebook's promotions guidelines, we have restructured the entry format of our giveaways.

Good Luck!

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Guest's picture
Diane

I do have an emergency fund, though not as large as I would like. I plan to continue adding to it. My credit cards are paid off, though I do use one for regular expenses & pay it off at the end of each month.

Guest's picture
Diane

"LIKE" you on FB!

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Patrick

I have an emergency fund, but could stand the emergencies coming to an end. Currently about 7 months.

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Donna

I have a small emergency fund. Not as much as I should according to the Dave Ramsey plan though.

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Julie Ann

I just started saving for my emergency fund this month. I have never had a savings account before and it makes me nervous to think about having that much money just sitting there. However, I do know that it will make me feel more secure to have it so I am trying....no not trying...going to get that emergency fund completed. I am starting at save 10% of my monthly income to the emergency fund.

Guest's picture

We have a very small emergency fund set up after reading Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. Was a bit more before a recent emergency dental appt. :/

Guest's picture

I've got an emergency fund. Some lucky windfalls pushed me forward, but it started off small. No start is too little, though. My goal is to get it above $10k before the end of the year. Still working on it :) Check out my video about why we should all have a rainy day fund: http://blog.mangomoney.com/trends/preparing-for-the-unexpected

Happy Saving :)

Guest's picture
Nate

2 years ago we took my bonus from work and tax return (last year we got one - now try for $0) and put it into ING account, then setup an automatic $100/month contribution. We now have just over $10k which will last us 6+ months if needed which means we are now saving for other future purchases instead, but that too can be game in a real pinch. Hopefully the economy improves soon....

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Katie

I do. It probably has about 3 months of living expenses. I've never had to use it.

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Guest

Just paid off the last of the credit cards and now we're on to building up that emergency fund!

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MidSouthMouth

I don't have an emergency fund yet. So many emergencies keep cropping up. I plan to build one soon, though.

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Mary H.

Yes, we have an emergency fund. Right now, there's enough to pay our mortgage for 8 months. We're going to continue till it will pay our mortgage for one year. We also have money set aside for household repairs/maintenance and car repairs/maintenance.

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Mary H.

I liked you on FB.

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Jennifer

Yes, but it will probably be depleted during the next year and a half while I'm in school!

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stacy

I did until I landed in the hospital on Friday and paid the bill in full with my emergency fund. Next step: replenish and save $20,000!

I am just thankful it was there.

I actually paid the hospital bill with my credit card (points) and then paid off the credit card in full!

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Carmen

We have a small $1K emergency fund. Will be working on increasing that this year.

Guest's picture
Carmen

I like you on Facebook

Guest's picture
Carmen

tweet: http://twitter.com/#!/cmouse01/status/80778866276315136

Guest's picture

I keep a minimum of $2000 (2-3 months of living expenses) in an online savings account. I say "minimum" because I also use that as my "pre-IRA" account -- I add money to the savings account throughout the year, then move a big chunk of *that* to my Roth IRA at tax time.

Why don't I fund the IRA year round? Because my job *sometimes* has seasonal layoffs during the winter, and I worry that $2000 wouldn't cover a long layoff. (Fortunately for me, my seasonal layoff has never been more than 2 weeks, but I've seen co-workers laid off for longer.) So, I build up the emergency fund all year, then move the excess into the IRA when layoff season ends (conveniently, in March).

I'm sure this plan sounds insane to some people, but it's the best one I've come up with while having a slightly irregular income stream.

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Heidi

I sure do! I'm working right now to fully fund it.

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Brian L

Yes, and it is coming in handy right now. Been out of work for 3 months with a back injury. Rainy day fund is a real life saver!

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gina

Yes, we have an emergency fund, but it seems like there is always another emergency!

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Raina

You could call it an emergency fund, but I just save a lot of money under the generic heading of "for the future". Whether it's for a house or for traveling or for retirement or for an emergency, the money's there if and when I need it.

Guest's picture
Jesort415

We have an 11.5 months emergency fund. It was bigger but then we had an emergency..the house we were renting was foreclosed on and we had to move quick. We found a decent place to live but we needed certain things we had in the house that came with it so we had to leave it behind (i.e. microwave, washer/dryer, etc). Fortunately we had the cash which went a long way to win over the LL...we offered 3 mos rent in advance when we heard there were other ppl interested..it's a great place, very roomy for an apt, and in a great school district.

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Darald Fischer

We have finally figured out how to keep at least $1000 for emergencies. It's saved our behinds on more than one occasion.

Guest's picture

Yes, ever since I unexpectedly fell I'll a few years ago I've been adamant that my husband and I keep and fund one!

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Guest

No, we don't. It's been tough to get my spouse and I working together to look at our finances, and it's been tough to teach the concept of identifying the bill with the highest interest as the one we should eliminate first, and it's even tougher learning how to spend less than we earn. I have hopes - but they're feeling rather slim these days.

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kristina wittchen

Yes, we do.

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Sandy

Yes, we have an emergency fund of six months take-home pay.

When I was laid off in late 2008, were able to deal with my being out of work (sole earner) for five months. Since this was right at the edge of the abyss when people were still not sure whether the economy was going to totally collapse, once I got a job again we were painfully frugal and put back what we had taken out within one year. Because there was unemployment, we only used about 2 months worth.

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Amy

I have an emergency fund. My husband and I set one up before my son was born. It helped out just last month when I needed to get my tires and front brakes replaced. It's been a lifesaver now that we are only on one salary.

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Renee

yes we have an emergency fund. we budget everything. having an emergency fund is important so we dont blow that budget. we once had to use it to bury a family member :(

Guest's picture
Renee

like wise bread on facebook

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Renee

http://twitter.com/#!/ReneeAChapman/status/80985610977935360

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Nicholas

I started out with a decent size emergency fund but changed it over to a CD ladder which now acts as my emergency fund. This is still being built little by little but the idea is it will be able to last me 12 months with now problems.

Guest's picture

We have a small emergency fund, but not enough stability int he rest of the budget to prevent it from being raided even for non-emergency items.

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Candice

Yes, always! I've had one ever since I was old enough to work a job. My parents taught me to keep at least $1,000 in savings to cover emergencies and it's stuck with me!

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Kay

Yes.

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KelR1

My emergency fund has $1 in it right now. There used to be much more until I used it for a down payment on a house. I'm trying to rebuild the fund now.

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Rachie G

You bet, just wish it was growing at a much faster rate. When it reaches a certain number I plan to take out some of the money to invest.

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Emily N.

Yes, I have a fund. I like to be prepared.

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Emily N.

tweeted https://twitter.com/#!/prizepuzzle/status/81043282070732802

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sarah r

I'm climbing out of debt, two steps forward and one step back at a time. So I have the Dave Ramsey $1K baby emergency fund. This spring, I doubled it to provide myself more of an emotional cushion. And... as seems to happen along the road to de-debting myself, my car needed a big repair so I pulled the extra $1K out of my EF. It's the second time I've really needed to dip into the fund. I basically will do anything NOT to use that money, even if it requires squeezing water from a stone. But since I'm not master of the universe (yet), yes, I sometimes have to dip into it.

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Rachel

Yes, I have an emergency fund.

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Claytonium

Yep--6 months of expenses!

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Guest

I have about 12K that's either in well spread out 1yr cd's or a separate account from normal spending (now that CD rate has dropped below interest from a regular account) That's not counting anything extra to my budget that's sitting around and building up. This way I know I can cover the bare bones for at least a year and other savings can cover some other expenses. I also have at least 6mo ahead in an account sitting to cover student loan payments, and I take extra each month to bring those down as well from my budget.

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Laura in ATL

I have a couple of things in place. A big fat 10K CD, that in an emergency I would gladly take the penalty to break. I also have an ING account that has 25K in a 12 step ladder, that I am less likely to break, just cuz it took me so long to get it set up just right! And then I have 5K just in a boring regular savings account.

But yes . . . I have one and I am thrilled to have it in place!

Laura

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Guest

No not really, but I am working on building one.

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Lisa

Yes, we have a little over $5,000 in it, which should cover us for 3-6 months depending on which of us might lose our job. (I figure the odds of us BOTH losing our jobs at the same time are slim. - knock on wood! - If we did, we'd need more for 6 months expenses...) So far, we have not had to tap the emergency fund, in the 3+ years that we've had it. (Again, knock on wood.)

Guest's picture
guest

working at starbucks and trying to pay off student loans have left me pretty short on cash in recent months..... however by living on the cheap i have been able to build up a couple thousand in order to use in emergencies

Guest's picture
LMN

Yes, it's pretty small -- because I keep having emergencies! But I guess that's what it's for, no? It's always car repairs or vet bills, it seems, one or the other.

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Katelynn

I don't have one -- but I'm starting one next paycheck :)

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Kevin

I have a small emergency fund that I have only had to use for some small emergencies, thankfully. But I am slowly but surely building my fund.

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Elizabeth

Yes! We have an emergency fund and I don't trhink we could not have one.

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TrishB

Yes, although usually by the time I build up enough to cover a small emergency I have a small emergency.

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Jaime

We have an emergency fund that would last about 3 months. We're trying to build it up to 6 months

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Julie

Liked Wise Bread on FB!

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Julie

The fund we have is labeled more like "Vacation Fund". Now which is more important?!
Emergency fund...yes, need to work on it!

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Amy

We have a very small emergency fund right now. We have had to use it once but were able to replenish it within 2 months. One of our goals is to make this fund bigger in case of a lost job or something like that.

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Amy

I liked on Facebook! (Amy Garrett Metherell)

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Tasha

For sure. It may be smaller than I'd like, but I add to it with every paycheck.

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holly

I do have an emergency fund but often times it gets treated more like a slush fund and I pull from it for non-emergency items more than I like. I always make it a priority to replenish it but I need to do better about leaving that money for true emergencies.

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Michelle

Yes we do have an emergency fund. Our goal is to pay off the car (last debt we owe besides the house) and then have 6 months expenses in cash as our big emergency fund.

Guest's picture

Do I have an emergency fund? Of course I do! Is it as comprehensive as it should be? Of course not! Recently, I had to take from my emergency fund to pay for glasses and eye exam. $440. No insurance. At that time, my emergency fund was up to only one month's wages. I know it should be three months, but when you're the sole supplier for a family of three (myself, wife, and four-month old), and only making $0.25 above minimum wage, with $30,000 of debt, it can be quite difficult to save money.

Guest's picture
GL

Yep - because you never know when you might need it. :)

Guest's picture
GL

Tweeted the answer here: http://twitter.com/#!/grigorylukin/status/82022468419731456

Guest's picture
GL

Tweeted my answer here: http://twitter.com/#!/grigorylukin/status/82022468419731456

Guest's picture
GL

"Liked" and commented on your Facebook for the third entry. :) Thanks!!!

Guest's picture
Dave

Yes. I keep about 3 months in an emergency fund and about another month on hand so I am not living paycheck to paycheck. I will probably push for 6 months when the car is paid off.

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Nina

Yep, I like the peace-of-mind it brings.

Guest's picture

we have a very small one, that would get us thru an unexpected expense once but are working towards building it up.

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I like Wisebread on facebook.

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sJea13

My emergency fund balance is currently up to $1,000. I'm headed to $3k.

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Alissa A

I do have an emergency fund...several months in fact. captainliss40(at)gmail(dot)com

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Laura

I have an emergency fund that has recently been diminished because of two emergencies: a necessary new car and unexpected dental work. I still have a little bit left, but the dental expenses haven't been totally deducted yet, so in the next month or so I don't know how much of the fund I'll have left. But, that's what it's there for, and I will rebuild!

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Dee Dee

Yes, we have an emergencyeny fund and I'm hoping we don't have to use it. We would love to be able to contribute more to it.

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Slo 6 Year Grad

I've had a 3 month Emergency Fund for a couple of years. This year, I decided to bump that up to 6 months by Dec 2011. Then because my ARM will reset next year, I'm going to push for a 9 month EF by June 2012.

Guest's picture
kim

i do not but i wish i did! i need to start saving

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Rebecca R.

Yes, we have a small, but growing emergency fund. My husband lost his job in 2008 and even with a master's degree it took him 18 months to find another full-time job. My part-time job didn't have any health insurance, nor decent pay. Needless to say, even after using up our savings then, borrowing from my parents, cutting out all extras, and trying to do the home-lending government/bank crap (in which the bank "lost" our paperwork 3 times), we still lost our house and had to file bankruptcy. I'm trying to look at the bright side, though, and see it as a chance to start over again, especially since we tried our hardest to pay our bills. An extra $20 would always be nice!

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Josh

My family maintains an emergency fund, and we're currently increasing money in ours because we know that there will be a month or two at least where I will be unemployed after the summer. In addition to the emergency fund, I try to increase other revenue streams to survive periods like this. We have been through financial rainy days like this before, and we know the key to weathering these storms is financial planning and an emergency fund.

Guest's picture
Chris

We finally have an emergency fund! Now we are working on having 3 months salary saved, too.

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kelly

Not really. Funds are lumped together.