My family of four suffered a catastrophic house fire last Monday.
The humans are okay (we were not home) – the dog and 2 cats so tragically did not make it. It is truly astounding how your life can change in the worse way in an hour and forty minutes, which is how long we were gone.
Our home is unlivable for 8-9 months, and we frankly had what was in our cars and on our backs when we drove away that evening. After establishing ourselves for fifteen years, the stark realness of having nothing, and the realization that the only thing that really matters anyway is each other, is a profound and heartwrenching experience.
BUT THE GOOD NEWS – We had plenty of savings. Sure, we also have good homeowners insurance, which will make us (mostly) whole and even cover the bulk of our living expenses while we are displaced. But it takes a while for those wheels to turn, and as of today we are out of pocket $3000 just in staying in hotels, purchasing necessities like backpacks for our kids to go to school and meals. We have to pay a large deposit on a rental home that the insurance does not cover, and is another $4000. If we did not have the cash to lay out, we would of had to turn to family/friends or been in a desperate situation.
Also by having several months living expenses set aside, we were able to take a preplanned weekend getaway that was such a nice mental break, our kids have been able to continue their activities they love and enjoy, and we are moving forward with a babysitter and datenight this weekend. Without savings (and insurance, of course), this would seem way too indulgent, but keeping the fun things in our life while going through such a traumatic time is healing, especially for our young children.
Never in a million years did I think I would have been facing a devastating fire. I always thought it was probably silly how much we kept around in emergency funds, but I did it anyway thanks to this sub and YNAB. I could not be more grateful.