Why It’s Easier to Save for a Trip Than For an Emergency Fund

One of the things I’ve been pondering since I got back from my recent trip across the country to FinCon15 is why it was so easy for me to save for that trip.

I socked money away for that trip for almost a year without much thought or effort.

Every time I got paid from my freelance writing business I put 30% away for taxes and 10-15% away for my trip to FinCon. The only time I ever used any of that money for anything else is when I got my blog re-designed a few months ago.

I was able to save almost $2,000 in 1 year without hesitation.

But when it comes to my emergency fund I’m not sitting that pretty. Why?

I have a few theories as to why it was a lot easier to save for my trip than for my emergency fund. Here are a couple of them.

Savings Location

My first thought as to why I was able to save $2,000 for my trip to FinCon (plus my tax savings on top of that) is because I keep it in a different bank than where my everyday money is, and it’s an online only bank. This means I have to specifically login to that bank in order to withdraw any money. Maybe that made it easier to keep my hands off the money.

PbZoo6I - Imgur

My emergency fund is in a savings account at the same bank as my regular checking account, so whenever I log into my account (which is everyday), I see both of them right there on the same screen. This does not make it easy to “forget” about all the money just sitting there doing nothing in my emergency fund.

The only thing holding me back from whole-heartedly believing this to be the reason saving for my trip was easy is because all the money I saved for the trip did funnel through my regular checking account first, so I did see each penny I saved leaving my checking account every month.

Excitement

The other reason I thought of why I might have been able to save for FinCon but I’m having a hard time building my emergency fund is because trips are exciting, and let’s face it, emergency funds are not exciting.

FSUtSu5 - Imgur

Flying across the country to meet up with socially awkward money nerds to talk about budgeting, investing, and other money related topics, might not sound like fun to you either, but I had a blast! (Even if I was almost the only non-frugal person there.)

Perhaps knowing that I’d be able to enjoy that money on my trip made it easier to save for FinCon than putting money into my emergency fund?

Looking forward to travelling somewhere new, meeting people I’ve only talked to online, and eating at restaurants guilt free, made it easy to save for FinCon vs. how difficult of a time I’ve had beefing up my emergency fund.

Now that I realize that’s the most likely reason why saving for FinCon was easy, what can I do to make saving an emergency fund more exciting?

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About Kayla

Kayla is a mid-20s single girl living in the Midwest, USA. She is focused on paying off her consumer and student loans, while simplifying her life and closet. You can join her on her journey at ShoeaholicNoMore or follow her on Twitter.

Comments

  1. That’s the million dollar question, right? We definitely do the out of sight, out of mind thing with the separate account. We also try to tie mini-celebrations to savings and/or debt repayment milestones (a favorite dessert, cheap drinks, a movie, whatever we feel like will get us motivated currentl) but it’s still not as fun as saving for a vacation!

    • Yeah I hear you. At least in this case I didn’t go on a vacay, I just went to FinCon to try and pick up more/new clients. But it was still exciting to get to travel somewhere even if I treated it like work.

  2. This is such a relatable, and all too common, problem: who wouldn’t rather save for something fun, that’s such a clear, achievable, time-sensitive goal? The reality is, as unfun as it may be, we should really be saving the most into our emergency funds each month, because we never know when that rainy day will come.

    We at Gathering are offering a (free) savings platform that allows you to decide how much money is allocated towards your savings goals each month, and then automatically deposits certain amounts into those goals. Taking the choice out of which goals to save for definitely helps making sure that your emergency fund doesn’t go on a diet to satisfy other goals!

  3. I don’t make it exciting – I make it automatic so I don’t even think about it. I have money direct-deposited into my emergency fund every time I get paid. I’d recommend doing that – and moving it to the bank where you were saving for your trip so it’s not catching your eye regularly.

    • I do transfer money into my EF on the first of every month, but I don’t try to save extra to go in there throughout the month as I find I’m much more excited about using that money to pay off debt or for other savings goals.

  4. Motivation is definitely key. Emergency savings are one of those things that are not exciting, until you actually need it and the money is there. Picturing that day might be a good way to kick start it into gear.

  5. Great post and commentary on how excitement affects engagement on certain goals. My emergency savings is also not where it needs to be-especially as a self-employed person. I had such a nice cushion when I returned from Australia. No longer. If you figure this out let me know!

    • haha, I will definitely let you know if I figure it out. It’s so much more fun to save for travel than for emergencies. 🙂

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  1. […] to spending way too much without even thinking about it. If I ever get the chance, I’ll have to save for my trip and plan […]

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