Life is unpredictable. That’s probably no surprise to anyone. So it’s probably also obvious to say that when life does throw you a curve ball, it’s usually going to cost money. The best we can do is try to follow the Boy Scout motto and “Be prepared.”
To account for these unexpected situations, stashing away one credit card with no balance on it can be a lifesaver. Imagine having your laptop stolen at college when you have an assignment due that week or coming home from vacation to find your roof leaking. These are just a few circumstances in which your emergency credit card can be an affordable and easy way to deal with an unfortunate circumstance beyond your control.
While traveling, carrying an emergency back-up credit card is also a smart idea. You never know when you will experience a serious illness, have your wallet stolen or just run out of funds. Keeping an emergency credit card in a secondary place – like in your luggage or money belt – will ensure that you can resume your business or leisure activities.
Key to the concept of the emergency credit card is keeping to the definition of what constitutes an emergency. Having to replace your car’s transmission or emergency travel due to family illness are legitimate emergencies. Needing to join your friends for a weekend ski trip is not a real need at all. And it may take discipline to avoid the lure of using your card for wants.
Your emergency credit card is one of the most convenient and immediate ways to access funds. Taking money out of a money market or IRA can cost you in penalties. Tapping into the equity of your home takes more time than one has by definition of the term emergency. In addition, emergencies such as unemployment and disability are the types of situations that may disqualify you from getting a loan, so acquiring an emergency credit card while life is good is smart planning.
A good question to ask yourself is, if you had a $2,000 unexpected expense to cover immediately, how would you pay for it? If you have an emergency credit card neatly filed away at home, you’ve got an answer.
Tags: costs, credit cards, emergency, funds, money, travel