Granted cash won't help much when there is a burglar coming through your window in the middle of the night or when there is a poisonous gas leak in your town but on the other hand, the chances of those and similar disasters happening is minusculely low. You can pretty much guarantee, however, that sometime in the near future you WILL have a disaster. It may not threaten your life or scare the bejesus out of you but it will inconvenience, embarrass, or otherwise make your everyday living unpleasant.
What happens if you run out of gas on the way to work? What happens if your furnace conks out just as the first blast of winter hits? What happens if your parent/child/best friend has a major crisis which requires your presence and they live on the other side of the country? With no emergency fund, you would be SOL in these cases.
So your first step in disaster preparedness is to gather an emergency fund as quickly as possible. $1000 kept (securely) in your home and $1000 kept in your bank is what you need to start. A total of $2000 in savings may seem a formidable task but you can do it and you can do it quickly if properly motivated.
This is just a starter emergency fund (a future task will be to gather a large enough emergency fund to see you through a year-long disaster). If you have debt, if you have no other preparedness items stocked, if you are just starting out to prepare yourself and your family for disaster, this small emergency fund will be the first building block of your disaster plan.
And some other things:
- Be sure to keep half the money at home for immediate financial disasters (keep it somewhere hidden and safe!).
- Be sure to keep the other half of the money in the bank (you don't want too much money kept in your insecure home).
- If you need help/motivation getting this money together, check here.
- DO NOT spend this money on anything other than a true emergency (tickets to your local NFL home game isn't a true emergency).
- If you do have an emergency and use some of your emergency fund, your next immediate task is to replace the money you used.