Financially speaking, anyway, the best piece of advice we ever listened to was Dave Ramsey's suggestion of a $1,000 emergency fund. It wasn't easy to come up with that money in the first place, believe me. It came a little at a time, from expenses we cut back here and there, things like life insurance, changing our student loan repayment plan, cutting back on groceries, and cashing out savings bonds.
But that $1,000 emergency fund has been the difference between needing a credit card and not. In fact, I firmly believe that it just being there keeps away emergencies, honestly. In 2009, we used it four times, and paid it back almost immediately each time:
1) To cover my braces until my Flex check arrived.
2) To buy a deep freeze.
3) To fix the van.
4) To cover $200 of the roof repair we couldn’t save in time.
Whether any of those things were real emergencies was debatable, I guess, but to us, they were. (The freezer, especially, you may not understand, unless you know what a "freezer supply" is and how very important it is.)
I guess my point is that, while $1,000 in the bank may seem impossible, imagine how quickly you could come up with it if you didn't have a credit card payment. And how if you had it, you wouldn’t need a credit card payment.
Have a gluten-free day!