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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.

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.


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.

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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Erin Thompson

Erin Thompson spent years managing her own blog about budgeting and debt. Because of that, she has great insights not only about managing spending and borrowing but also about running websites profitably. When she's not writing articles for us, she's traveling and looking for new types of wines to try.
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