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An Emergency Fund Makes These 3 Things Easier

Our experts answer readers’ investing questions and write unbiased product reviews (here’s how we assess investing products). Paid non-client promotion: In some cases, we receive a commission from our partners. Our opinions are always our own.Emergency funds create a financial buffer that can keep you afloat during times of financial uncertainty without going into credit card debt or relying on high-interest loans. An emergency fund can even be useful if you’re already in debt, because it can help you avoid borrowing more.An emergency fund is typically a savings account funded with money you set aside for unforeseen occurrences. These could include unexpected medical expenses, large car repair bills, home appliance repair or replacement, and unemployment.But an emergency fund can also be a financial buoy in everyday life, not just when there is an emergency.Here are three ways that an emergency fund can ease the financial strain of big life events:Saving the money for a down payment on a home can be all-consuming. I’ve heard from many homeowners that once they bought their home and transferred the down payment, they were wiped out financially.Ideally, this should not happen. Having an emergency fund in addition to your down payment account can provide some extra padding when you purchase a home.Once you move in, there may be appliances that need to be replaced, increased utility costs, or a bathroom that needs to be updated. An emergency fund gives you a cushion so that you can handle the needs of your new home without living paycheck to paycheck.The average cost of just a local move can range from $501 to $2,988 depending on the size of the house. When I moved, in addition to the cost of movers, there were other needs like boxes and bubble wrap and then there was a week of running back and forth to Target getting items for the new place.Having an emergency fund means you won’t run through all of your money funding your move and getting settled into your new home.A lot of planning that goes into traveling. And a lot of expenses: the airfare, hotel, food, activities, and other necessary purchases to enjoy the trip.Plus, more often than not, the unexpected can happen while you’re on the road. So many trip expenses are paid for up front that we often don’t think about what can happen once we arrive.For example, I planned a trip through France and Spain and used travel apps to get better deals on flights and hotels. Sometimes these deals can be oversold, as I learned when I arrived in France. After a long day of traveling, I got to the hotel only to learn that the hotel deal I thought I had was no longer available and that I only had the option to book a much more expensive room.An emergency fund ensures that you are prepared in the face of the unexpected. I wasn’t happy with the new nightly rate for my hotel room, but at least I was prepared to pony up the extra money.Everyone should save for the unexpected. Having funds in reserve ensures that you are prepared when life throws you a curveball, or when everyday plans end up costing more than you thought.