So there's all sorts of debates about whether you should save for an emergency fund or pay down debt first. Some say, hey, if you pay down those debts, you'll just charge them back up again, you need real money in the bank! And some say, if you don't have debt service, your monthly payments are gone, so your emergency fund can be smaller! Yet others say, to hell with it! Where are the chocolate-covered bananas?
Obviously everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it interests me to see how much attention is paid to the logical, numbers-crunching side of the game, and how little to the emotional side. This is the direction that Money and Values is heading in, but I think it's worth it for the rest of us to examine why we do what we do with our money too.
Money is fraught with emotions, and depending on what emotions you've fraught it with, you'll have different responses to this debate. My personal feelings about money have to do with safety. Money is there to help me if something goes wrong or something expensive and unanticipated happens (thanks, pig.) Only in the most immediate sense do I have money to buy stuff. Yes, that's what you end up doing with your emergency fund if you lose your job - you buy food, electricity, gas, clothing - but for me the emergency fund is there to buy me safety. It means that I am always at least $2,000 worth of needing stuff away from going into debt.