Tackle Unexpected Expenses with an Emergency Fund and Help from Relief Societies

Couple concerned over bills

One of life’s certainties is that it is uncertain, right? Life can throw a curveball in the form of a lost job, vehicle or home repair, health costs, or emergency travel, just to name a few.

When these events occur, they can create havoc for a family’s financial stability. However, planning ahead and being familiar with available resources can provide comfort and peace of mind.

Having a healthy emergency fund and knowing where to turn for financial assistance when life doesn’t go according to plan are two ways to meet these challenges.

Build up an emergency fund to offset unexpected expenses

An emergency fund is a financial safety net set aside to cover the costs of unforeseen events. Experts recommend keeping three to six months of living expenses saved in a separate, readily accessible account, like a savings or money market account. Get started by following these steps:

  1. Know your budget and stick to it. If you don’t already have a budget, now is a great time to set one up. Evaluate your income and spending to determine how much you should save in your emergency fund. Click here to visit our budgeting resources.
  2. Start with $1,000 saved in a separate account designated for emergencies only, and keep adding to it. If you don’t have $1,000, or are struggling to save towards this goal, consider selling unwanted items or seeking additional employment if your situation allows.
  3. When you use your emergency fund, make sure to replenish it as soon as possible to build it back up to the level you need.

Remember, every family’s financial situation is unique. If both spouses are working, three months of living expenses may be enough for your emergency fund. However, if you work in a field with frequent layoffs, consider saving six months or more of living expenses.

Use the military relief societies as a resource if you need a helping hand

The military understands that service members and their families need to be financially ready to be mission ready.

To help military families improve their financial well-being, each branch of service has a privately funded, nonprofit relief organization that can offer financial support in the event of emergencies or financial distress.

Assistance is always confidential. Each service operates a little differently, but they all offer zero interest loans and grants for housing assistance, vehicle repair, emergency travel, and disaster relief. Some also offer education assistance.

The goal is to provide support for the immediate need and financial counseling and education for future stability.

While rules may vary, support is available to active duty Service members and their families. Some relief societies also support National Guard, Reserve, veterans, and surviving family members.

Visit the link for your service’s relief society below for more information and for locations.

Are you ready to join the mission?

MilSpouse Money Mission™ is a Department of Defense resource that offers FREE personal financial education specifically geared toward spouses. There is a Money Ready guide for various stages of financial life, a MilLife Milestones section to help you through the big moments in your military journey, a blog, spouse videos, quizzes, calculators and more!

Join the mission to lead your family to a stronger financial future. Get started, here! Connect with us on social media and share this post.

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MilLife Milestones

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Couple concerned over bills

One of life’s certainties is that it is uncertain, right? Life can throw a curveball in the form of a lost job, vehicle or home repair, health costs, or emergency travel, just to name a few.

When these events occur, they can create havoc for a family’s financial stability. However, planning ahead and being familiar with available resources can provide comfort and peace of mind.

Having a healthy emergency fund and knowing where to turn for financial assistance when life doesn’t go according to plan are two ways to meet these challenges.

Build up an emergency fund to offset unexpected expenses

An emergency fund is a financial safety net set aside to cover the costs of unforeseen events. Experts recommend keeping three to six months of living expenses saved in a separate, readily accessible account, like a savings or money market account. Get started by following these steps:

  1. Know your budget and stick to it. If you don’t already have a budget, now is a great time to set one up. Evaluate your income and spending to determine how much you should save in your emergency fund. Click here to visit our budgeting resources.
  2. Start with $1,000 saved in a separate account designated for emergencies only, and keep adding to it. If you don’t have $1,000, or are struggling to save towards this goal, consider selling unwanted items or seeking additional employment if your situation allows.
  3. When you use your emergency fund, make sure to replenish it as soon as possible to build it back up to the level you need.

Remember, every family’s financial situation is unique. If both spouses are working, three months of living expenses may be enough for your emergency fund. However, if you work in a field with frequent layoffs, consider saving six months or more of living expenses.

Use the military relief societies as a resource if you need a helping hand

The military understands that service members and their families need to be financially ready to be mission ready.

To help military families improve their financial well-being, each branch of service has a privately funded, nonprofit relief organization that can offer financial support in the event of emergencies or financial distress.

Assistance is always confidential. Each service operates a little differently, but they all offer zero interest loans and grants for housing assistance, vehicle repair, emergency travel, and disaster relief. Some also offer education assistance.

The goal is to provide support for the immediate need and financial counseling and education for future stability.

While rules may vary, support is available to active duty Service members and their families. Some relief societies also support National Guard, Reserve, veterans, and surviving family members.

Visit the link for your service’s relief society below for more information and for locations.

Are you ready to join the mission?

MilSpouse Money Mission™ is a Department of Defense resource that offers FREE personal financial education specifically geared toward spouses. There is a Money Ready guide for various stages of financial life, a MilLife Milestones section to help you through the big moments in your military journey, a blog, spouse videos, quizzes, calculators and more!

Join the mission to lead your family to a stronger financial future. Get started, here! Connect with us on social media and share this post.

Team Member

We are team of financial professionals who understand military life because we have experienced military life. Our goal is to educate and empower military spouses to help them make smart money moves. We combine passion and expertise to ensure you get the most accurate and relevant information. Take comfort knowing Certified Financial Planner™ professionals, an Accredited Financial Counselor® and the Department of Defense Office of Financial Readiness have vetted the content on this site.

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