Sometimes an emergency fund can give you that much needed break from the madness.
I've been off and on about an emergency fund. Honestly I fully believe in them but I've never felt the need to keep more than a couple of thousand on hand, enough for a months rent and a plane ticket home. That mindset is serving me well but when things go south, it's nice knowing that you have that extra cushion.
A few days ago my partner noticed something creeping on his bag. He caught it and found what he thought looked like a bed bug. He wasn't certain though, but he let me know and told me not to worry. I checked the bed and it looked fine. I'd not had any red little bites but a few bug bites that I chalked up to being the mosquitos that are invading our apartment lately, they did look like mosquito bites!
That night while I was blissfully sleeping, my partner did not have the same soothing experience.
In the middle of the night he felt like something was creeping on his chest, when he grabbed it to see what it was.. well lo and behold.. there was the bedbug. Being amazing he didn't wake me, and I thank him deeply for that. While he was up all night researching bed bugs I continued my relaxing time in dreamland. Come morning however, the dream was over and we had to face facts.
Checking our bed there were now little bugs crawling all around the box spring, with clear signs of feces and a bunch of tiny itching bites. I wanted to throw up.
Being able to contact our landlord who apparently was away our semi-property manager neighbour called pest control. Dissapointment. They couldn't come and look at the place until the next day.
There was no way we were going to stay in our bed for another night. Having read that moving to the couch was a terrible idea as it could facilitate the spreading of the bugs I pitched an idea to sleep in our tent. Having to work that morning I left the house, not knowing what to do in this situation not having experienced it before. The morning was spent in sheer panic. As I'd have to wait over 24h before pest control could arrive, also knowing that I wasn't allowed to try to treat the problem myself as it could diminish the efforts of the K9 unit. I'm a do-er, I can't just sit and watch as an emergency unfolds in front of me.
During the day we found out that another apartment in our building had problems 2 weeks ago. For whatever reason our landlord neglected to tell us. Great. We could have taken preventional steps such as spraying our beds and fabrics with a tea tree and lavender solution (bed bugs hate the smells) to prevent infection. We could also have invested in ditomaceous earth early on and put our bed on a frame to kill the bugs on their attempt at ascent. A popular solution is also putting a special cover on your bed and box spring. But no.
Here is where the emergency fund comes in. A lot of families who are facing the same problem can't afford to take any measures of comfort. Getting covers for the bed (at $30-50) can be to much of a strain on their bank accounts. I can't imagine the stress but I can imagine the drastic measures poorer families can take. A lot of people simply throw out their beds, leading to a bigger problem as the bed bugs then spread rather than being eradicated. Families get poor sleep knowing that bugs are crawling all over them as they sleep. Now you don't need a huge emergency fund just to do the bare minumum, but in our case, having a decent chunk set aside, we were able to buy ourselves more peace of mind.
While I had nothing to do with this decision at all my partner made the bold move behind my back to set us up with a hotel for 3 nights. While a decision that I wouldn't have made myself, I have nothing but love and appreciation for him. After a night in a clean, crisp hotel bed waking up to a lovely cup of tea and the anticipation to spend the day by the pool with a hot tub and sauna nearby is a great relief. It is worth taking a sizable bite out of the emergency fund and treating ourselves for the weekend as we don't have cooking equipment besides a microwave (life saver) and a small fridge.
I have a 20min walk to work, a nice discount on my usuall walking time, we have a cheap grocery store across the road and we can relax as much as we need to. I for one, am greatful for my emergency fund.