My ‘Teapot’ Emergency Fund Gives Me Peace of Mind
Quarters. I ended up with a fistful of quarters the other day and had flashbacks to the early days of hemophilia.
When my firstborn son came into the world, we lived in Houston. In the early days of Julian’s hemophilia diagnosis, trips to the Texas Medical Center were frequent. One of the stressful parts of traveling from the suburbs of Houston to the medical center was the cost emergency visits incurred. I am not talking about the cost of the physician — I am referring to the cost of parking.
A visit to the emergency room was never a planned outing, and it often caught my husband and me by surprise. A soft tissue bleed requiring a dose of factor was common in the early days, before we were able to infuse Julian on our own, so a trip to the emergency room after business hours was often part of our life.
It cost money to park. I remember paying $10 for up to eight hours, and this was back in 1996, so I am sure prices are now higher. Many times, those emergency room visits would come before payday, and money was tight. Worrying about money caused an already tense situation to become even more stressful.
Once at the emergency room, you never knew how long your visit would last. If we were lucky, we would be in and out in three hours. But more often, our visits were eight-hour marathons in the wee hours of the morning.
This is when quarters came in handy. Visiting the vending machines to whip up a meal was part of the routine. Having change easily accessible for those midnight runs to get coffee or a snack was a lifesaver.
Ever since those early years, I’ve made it a habit to keep an emergency fund easily accessible in my home. I try to keep $100 on hand, but even $20 is helpful. Small bills and change are preferable. I call this fund my “teapot” fund. My emergency fund lives in my favorite decorative teapot in my china cabinet. There is no interest accruing, but it gives me peace of mind.
Although those emergency room visits are now a rarity, having a few dollars and change available reminds me of the tough times. The times when I waited with fear and anxiety for the next bleed to occur, the times I was with my son at the emergency room, and the times when all I had was the $20 in the teapot to get me to and from the hospital, hoping our visit would not end in an admission.
For the times my teapot pulled me out of a tight spot, I give great thanks. And the times it contained just enough change to cover the meter gave me hope.
Do you have a “teapot” to get you out of a bind?
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