Emergency fund madness

If I had an emergency today, I would not be in a good financial position to handle it. I have exactly $410.54 in savings, aka my emergency fund. And that’s it. The money in my chequing account will pay for my regular bills for the rest of the month, until I am paid again. I am paid monthly, not bi-weekly, so I have to be really careful with my spending to ensure I have the funds to pay for all my bills.

In March I started transferring $300-$400/mth into my savings account. I transfer the funds the day I am paid, so the money is gone and I am not tempted to spend it. At this rate I should have almost $4,000 in the account by December. I’d really like to be at $5,000 by then, and this might be possible because I haven’t accounted for my yearly step raise and inflation raise in my budget. I’m in a union and our contract expires this July, and I’m pretty certain my employer is going to try to freeze our inflation raises (but not our step raises). The union’s been pretty vocal that this doesn’t jive with them, however who knows what will happen. For all I know we could go on strike in September, and then my emergency fund would be depleted really quickly. So I’m not including any raises in my budget, just to be on the safe side.

The only thing standing in the way of my $5,000 emergency fund goal is buying a new laptop. Right now I use BF’s laptop. His dad bought him a really nice laptop last year and rather than switching everything over to it, BF kept using his old laptop, because it still worked. So I got to use his new laptop. However this arrangement isn’t going to last much longer, as the old laptop is on its very last legs and he’ll need the new one back. I could bring out my desktop from storage, but it has to live in our bedroom (which is where my desk is) and it’s just too big and clunky for the space. Additionally the desktop is not portable (obviously) so I would only be able to use it in the bedroom,

I’ve been wanting a MacBook Pro for a few years now and I think I’m ready to take the plunge. But this is going to take a big bite out of my emergency fund. And with the possibility of going on strike looming on the horizon, I don’t know if this purchase is such a good idea – at least not until our contract is renewed.

Have you ever dipped into your emergency fund for a big (and somewhat optional) purchase?

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3 Responses to Emergency fund madness

  1. Ravi Gupta says:

    Never have I dipped into my fund, then again I don’t have set guidelines for my fund (I may have to work on that). If it were me I wouldn’t go for a macbook pro, especially with impending financial doom just on the horizon. If possible struggle through the next couple months until you’re certain that you won’t have to live off your emergency fund. One other you can do is set aside $200 a month for a new notebook.

    -Ravi Gupta

    • Thanks for the advice! Maybe I’ll use one of my other saving accounts for the laptop, and try to put a little bit in each month. I don’t think I could do $200 on top of what I’m already saving, but I could probably swing $100 if I shuffle some stuff around.

  2. Kay says:

    I wouldn’t take money off the Emergency fund either. It’s just too risky with the situation mentioned. If I can put $400 in EF every month from March and $100 in the laptop savings fund, by next March, the EF will be $4800 and laptop fund will be $1100. In April or May, I get to buy a laptop with a very decent Emergency fund to back me up.

    That appeals to me more than dipping into emergency funds for a an optional purchase.

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