Murphy Gave Me a Little Scare

Hey, remember this little gem from last week? The Emergency Fund vs. the Credit Card Debt. If you missed it, the gist of the post was mainly my thinking process on how I decided to pay off my credit card debt at the expense of my emergency fund.

So imagine this – it’s Saturday afternoon, and I’m sitting with literally one dollar in my emergency fund, waiting and planning for the day that my emergency fund will be replenished.

The BF calls me on my phone and I accidentally hang up (this happens way too often, by the way). I try to call him back, but my phone’s screen won’t light up – in fact, it’s gone completely black. I tossed it up to the age of my phone and I gave it a few seconds to try and catch up to itself – usually this works. After waiting a minute or so, I tried hitting the home button on my phone but the same thing happens: my screen is completely unresponsive.

Cue the montage of me hitting the home button repeatedly (with Blackstreet’s ‘Don’t Leave Me‘ playing in the background, if you must). At first, I slowly and methodically pressed the home button every 15 seconds. Then every 10 seconds. Then every 5 seconds. Then all of a sudden I’m uncontrollably tapping away, all while begging the phone to work, trying to negotiate with it (because, obviously, I’m the Phone Whisperer).

Now this was when I started to panic. My contract with AT&T isn’t up for renewal until next July, which means if I need a new phone, I’m going to have to pay for it, you guessed it, out of pocket. Also, with all that’s happening in my life right now – the job search, my friends’ wedding, etc. – I needed a working phone ASAP. This means I didn’t have the time to research phone prices on resale markets or anything like that. My best option would be to buy a phone straight from AT&T for full price.

That Damn Murphy

I’m sure most of you know what Murphy’s law is. It’s an old adage that goes like this:

Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

Well, of course. OF COURSE! Right when I post about depleting my emergency fund, of course something like this happens!!!

After several minutes of freaking out, complaining, and feeling defeated, I pulled myself together and came up with a plan! Okay… I sat and moped for half the day.

Eventually, I came up with two choices. A) put the purchase on my credit card or B) take money out of my Roth IRA.

Neither of these options were attractive to me. On one hand, I had just gotten out of CC debt and would hate to turn around and tell y’all that it was all a fluke and this whole “using my EF to pay off my CC debt” thing backfired. On the other hand, I really, really did not want to touch my Roth IRA. Sure, there are no penalties to withdraw from my own contributions, but still – I wanted to keep that money untouched for as long as possible and a broken phone just felt like a lousy excuse to touch it.

Fortunately, the BF and my brother both suggested I do a phone reset. I know more than half of you are probably thinking to yourself, “Uh, DUH! Why didn’t this chick think of this herself???” In my defense, I’m not the most knowledgeable when it comes to technology. So, my brother looked up the process and I tried it out and low and behold, my phone is working!



Lesson Learned

Set up that emergency fund, y’all. If mine still existed, buying a new phone would have been no problem and I wouldn’t have went through this crazy rollercoaster of emotions.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t regret paying off my credit card debt. But now I’m even more motivated to replenish my emergency fund. I got rid of my credit card debt because it stressed me out. Now, not having an emergency fund is stressing me out. #dilemma

Hopefully by the end of this year, I can say that I’m both credit card debt free and that I have my emergency fund up to at least $1,000.

Did you ever have an emergency or scare and didn’t have an emergency fund? How did you deal with it?


  1. Tahnya Kristina December 7, 2013

    This is exactly how my life goes…just when I think some part of my life can’t get any worse, the man upstairs reminds me that YES it can. But no matter how awful my life seems to be at any give moment I try to tell myself it will get better. Being as prepared as possible for awful situations makes them easier to get through – so I definitely agree with you about the emergency savings fund.
    Tahnya Kristina recently posted…Friday Faves: I’m getting my Christmas treeMy Profile

    • Lisa E. December 9, 2013

      I know what you mean! Every time I think something is going to happen FOR SURE – God always proves otherwise 😛

  2. Tara @ Streets Ahead Living November 23, 2013

    Lisa, glad it worked out for you! Worst case scenario, you could have purchased an iPhone used on eBay which would have saved a few dollars. glad you didn’t have to spend any though!
    Tara @ Streets Ahead Living recently posted…Some ways to make extra cash for the holiday shoppingMy Profile

    • Lisa E. November 25, 2013

      Thanks Tara! Yeah, I could have used eBay but I literally needed a phone that day! Figured it would have been worth it to buy right away from the store so I could have a phone in my hands right away. Thank God I didn’t have to!

  3. Brent November 23, 2013

    If you’re looking to replace a phone before your subsidy kicks in from your carrier check out eBay and Craigslist. You can always get a good phone for a good price on those sites. Make sure to buy one that is compatible with your carrier or one that is unlocked so you can use it without needed to spend anymore time or money to unlock it.
    Brent recently posted…Are You Reading All The Wrong Books?My Profile

    • Lisa E. November 25, 2013

      Thanks Brent! I’ll keep that in mind if this ever happens again.

  4. Dear Debt November 22, 2013

    Glad your phone is working again! I’ve had my fair share of emergencies: ER visit, car accidents, etc. Which is why I have a minimum of 1k in an EF. Truth be told, this is the lowest it’s ever been. So I’m kinda nervous, but I’m trying to hustle to pay off this debt. Since I’ve had emergencies, I know how valuable it is!
    Dear Debt recently posted…The Female BreadwinnerMy Profile

    • Lisa E. November 25, 2013

      Thanks! I think $1K is a good amount to have in an EF. It covers most emergencies and you can focus on getting out of debt!

  5. I have a tendency to totally freak out before considering all the alternatives and taking the time to think things through. Thank goodness for boyfriends to calm us down 😉
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted…Finance Confessions: My Money MistakesMy Profile

    • Lisa E. November 25, 2013

      Haha right?? Freaking out is just an automatic reaction for me!

  6. The ability to have money on hand to solve most problems is from seeing others go through their own OH NO moments. I will continue knocking on wood and avoiding ladders as I spill copious amounts of salt over both shoulders!
    Amanda @ Passionately Simple Life recently posted…The Student Loan StoryMy Profile

    • Lisa E. November 22, 2013

      Tell me about it! You can bet that I’m working hard to replenish that money!

  7. Newlyweds on a Budget November 21, 2013

    I’m glad your phone is working! we have about 11k in 0% interest debt left to pay and while we have the money sitting in the bank, I just haven’t been able to pull the trigger. I guess in our case, the situation is complete opposite of yours! We actually earn more money by letting the cash sit in the bank (even if it is 0.5% interest) than by paying off our debt, but the allure of being debt free is just too enticing.

    • Lisa E. November 21, 2013

      Wow, 0% interest? That’s great! Yea, it would have been a different story if my emergency fund was growing faster than my debt. Is the 0% just an introductory rate? Because if it is, I say get rid of it! But if it’s the permanent rate, I don’t think you should worry about paying it off fast.

  8. Simon @ Modest Money November 21, 2013

    Murphy’s law…its just unforgiving…I might even add to it, when bad things happen, they tend to do so in succession…or perharps it has been my experience. The past couple of weeks have been awful…strike one, I lose some money (long story), two, appliances start breaking down…one by one, almost like clockwork (yeah I know, sounds far-fetched). With no significant e-fund I’ve been forced to eat humble pie and borrow from my parents!!
    Learnt my lesson the hard way…am doing whatever it takes to have a significant e-fund by year end.
    Simon @ Modest Money recently posted…Top 10 Reasons You Will Get Out of Debt This YearMy Profile

    • Lisa E. November 21, 2013

      Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry about your situation. Although, there’s nothing like humble pie to get you to straighten up! Hope everything turns out well!

  9. E.M. November 21, 2013

    I am glad the reset worked for you! It’s never good when your phone goes unresponsive. I am a worrier, so whenever I hear something the least bit off with my car, I start thinking it’s dying or something extreme. It’s silly, but I panic far too often. This is why I knew I needed an emergency fund as soon as I could start saving money. The stress of not having one would likely eat me alive.
    E.M. recently posted…What To Think About When RelocatingMy Profile

    • Lisa E. November 21, 2013

      I freak out whenever I hear the slightest thing is wrong with my car, too! You can say I overreact, but I like to think that I’m careful 😛

  10. Erin @ My Alternate Life November 21, 2013

    I would probably just go without. I have a love/hate relationship with my phone and it would be nice to not have to answer all the time.

    Glad you found your phone and avoided Murphy!
    Erin @ My Alternate Life recently posted…A Saving State of MindMy Profile

    • Lisa E. November 21, 2013

      If I didn’t have a ton of events coming up, I would have postponed purchasing a phone. Thank God I didn’t have to worry about it!

  11. Budget and the Beach November 21, 2013

    LOL I was thinking that same thing about resetting it but thought “oh I’m sure she already thought of that.” 🙂 It does seem like Murphy and his stupid laws like to mess with your head like that. When I bought my trip to Iceland, I swear work just stopped out of the blue. Like dead. I did have some regret…but now I’m busy again so whew!
    Budget and the Beach recently posted…A Community Comes Together: The South Bay CaresMy Profile

    • Lisa E. November 21, 2013

      Nothing like a scare to make you reevaluate your actions!

  12. Alicia November 21, 2013

    Oh my gosh, that is my worst fear… and also probably why I have way more cash to access than anyone in $32000 worth of debt should have!
    Alicia recently posted…how do you make friends as an adult?My Profile

    • Lisa E. November 21, 2013

      Let me tell you, it was not fun!

  13. Kali @ CommonSenseMillennial November 21, 2013

    I’m glad you got your phone working again! I scare myself half to death just about every day with my phone.. I am REALLY GREAT at dropping it straight on the ground. Thank goodness for Otterbox!
    Kali @ CommonSenseMillennial recently posted…The Importance of Saving No Matter How Much You MakeMy Profile

    • Lisa E. November 21, 2013

      Tell me about it! I damaged my last phone when I dropped it in the ocean -_-

  14. LLBigwave November 21, 2013

    My unfunded emergency came in December 2007 when my home HVAC system failed. A new system cost $6000. I didn’t have it.

    I charged it to a credit card, opened a new airline CC with a six month 0% interest rate, and transferred the balance. The transfer fee plus one year’s annual fee came to $158, and I got a free round trip ticket anywhere within the U.S.

    This was the catalyst for a complete financial makeover. Six years later, we are completely debt free (mortgage included!), and have a year’s living expenses in cash. Plus, we’re pumping lots of money into our retirement funds now that the debt is gone.

    Nothing like a little fear to spark some motivation!

    • Lisa E. November 21, 2013

      Whoa, congrats on being completely debt free! That’s amazing!

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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