Answers about Banking & Debt vs. E-fund

I just got a comment from a reader and thought I would turn my answers into a post in case anyone else has the same questions. Thanks to all the readers out there! It still amazes me all who have joined me on this journey. Also, I started a formspring page if anyone else has any other questions for me.

Question #1:

Do you keep your funds in bank accounts, high-interest accounts, or just in envelopes at home?

I hardly ever use cash because I lose track of the receipts. Usually I just use my debit card. I will occasionally put large purchases on my credit card, but that is only to gain points and I always pay it off the next few days.

As for where I keep my funds, I’m a bit of a bank account slut and tend to have an account open for each of my savings goals. Dividing up my goals within accounts gets tricky for me. Here’s how they’re divided:

Bank #1: Bank of America
-Regular checking account
-Car Repair Fund savings account
-Credit Card

Bank #2: Credit Union (because it has great rates)
-Gift Fund – regular checking
-Emergency Fund – money market account
-Wedding/Future Fund – money market account

Other Institutions:
-401(k) – invested
-Roth IRA – invested

Question #2:

I am trying to get out of debt in this year, and I need to get some ideas. Do you think that is OK to build an emergency fund while paying debt or paying debt first and then build your emergency fund?

First off, it is definitely okay to build an emergency fund while paying debt. In fact, I recommend having a small E-Fund before you start paying debt so that if emergencies happen, you’ll have some money to cover it instead of credit cards (aka: instead of going further into debt).

After you gain a small savings (recommend at least $500-1,000), then I would decide which you are going to focus your efforts on: paying debt or building your savings. Ideally, you would be doing both at the same time with more aggression towards one… and that really depends on your situation. If you have a really high interest rate on your debt, I’d pay that first. However, if you have a mortgage and kids, then you may want to beef up your savings before tackling your debt.

I chose to focus my efforts on my debt, but that is because the majority of it is to my parents, so I wanted to get that paid off ASAP. However, that didn’t stop me from saving extra money during the process. I’m about to pay off my debt (!) and have about $4,500 in liquid assets. I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone, but since I am single, newly out of college, and have minimal living expenses, this plan worked best for me.

I also advise you to create a budget and spend the first three months tweaking it and trying different savings/debt goals and see what works best for you. Don’t be too aggressive or else you may give up altogether, but make sure that your goals are achievable and can be reached with a little bit of hard work and perseverance.

If any other PF bloggers want to chime in or link back a similar post to share their experiences, please feel free to leave a comment! If you have any other questions (PF related or not) please ask below or on the formspring page.

Thanks again for reading! I can’t promise that I have the best advice or experience, but I’ll definitely share if anyone has questions! :)

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  • Just sent you a ton of nosy questions about you and J. That’s what I’m really interested in. he he. :)

  • I completely agree that people need to save up at least something before bombarding debt. I saved up a small e-fund first and now, I am focusing really heavily on our debt. I was afraid that without any e-fund if any emergency happens, we would go deeper into debt. Happened before to me…
    .-= Pike´s last blog ..To Nook or not to Nook =-.