Why Single Moms NEED emergency savings

You already know part of my unfortunate last week (sick kid, sick me, hot water heater snafu). But that’s not where the “oh, no” ended. It’s so crazy, it almost sounds made up…but this all really happened.

My son was still sick. I still felt like my nose would never stop running. And the day after the plumber fixed my hot water heater, it stopped working again.

On top of all that, the check engine light came on in my car. As a mom who drives kids around, I need my car to be 100% safe. And I know as well as anyone that “check engine” means “fork over a lot of money.” But I got the car fixed pretty quickly, and it cost a little less than I feared it would, so that felt like a win.

But then…as if that all wasn’t bad enough…Friday night my kid was getting out of the tub (baths always feel good when you’re sick, right?!). All of a sudden, I heard something drip…drip…dripping. Water was leaking through my kitchen ceiling. At 7:15. On a Friday night.

After I turned off the water main – SINGLE MOMS, KNOW WHERE YOUR MAIN WATER SHUT OFF IS! – we started bailing out the tub with summer sand buckets and soup pots. We were literally dumping buckets out the second-floor window on to the patio, and racing down the stairs with sloshing pots to pour water out the front door.

It took us about 40 minutes to bail out all the water, but when we finally had, the leaking stopped.

Thankfully, turning the water back on did not cause more leaking, so at least we had water! Sure, we couldn’t shower or use our upstairs bathrooms, but we could use water in the kitchen and still had one working powder room. That may not sound like great news, but it let us go through the weekend, so I didn’t have to deal with the plumber’s emergency service fees – a huge money saver.

It’s Sunday evening now, and the plumber will be here tomorrow morning first thing. His bill might wipe out my already dented (check engine light, sick kid, hot water heater) emergency fund. But all of this reminded me of why I have the emergency fund in the first place, and why it’s such an important safety net for all of us single moms.

If you don’t already have an emergency fund, start building one today. Even if you can only put away a little bit every week, it will add up over time. “Found money,” like a tax refund or a $20 bill in your coat pocket, helps it grow even faster.

I hope none of you ever has a week like mine – but if you do, an emergency fund will soften the financial blow.