If you currently have an emergency fund, how large is it? What do you consider an emergency? Food, shelter and medical attention are important. What about a gift for a wedding or a shower? How about school fundraisers? All of these things should be closely monitored and considered when you are building up your emergency fund. Do your kids need lessons after school every season?
What about your summer plans? Can you do a stay cation? How many animals does your family have or need?
One year we bought a generator, It was the last one in stock and we did not have any electricity. Did we sit down and say how much will this cost us per day? Or did we snap it up feeling that if we would be without electricity too long we would need to pay for a hotel.
So many things come up that will prevent you from saving for your future. Outgrown clothes, a new shirt to take a yearbook photo, an expensive school field trip, a broken down car or a replacement water pump.
Let us break these items down into the necessities vs wants.
Necessities are similar to satisfiers and dissatifiers. When you are satisfied with something you don't necessarily appreciate it but when you are dissatified you might complain.
My son needs a new dress shirt for his 8th grade photos. True. Is it a necessity, no. Does he have a suitable dress shirt? No because he outgrew it. What happens when you go to the store? Do you only buy a dress shirt or do you buy a matching tie and a suit. How did a suit even come into the picture? I would like to call it bargain shopping. A suit is on the radar for May and June events. If the previous dress shirt purchased last year is too small chances are the previous suit is going to be on the smaller side also.
My oldest son is not too familiar with hammy downs while my youngest children often get hammy down toys and clothes. This year one even got a hammy down back pack when theirs broke less than half way thru the year.
School trips might not always be expensive but some can definitely be on the pricier side. A bus trip out of state with theater tickets, lunch and dinner is certainly on the more expensive side.
A school trip and a new shirt might be very small expenses compared to a broken down car, a generator or a water pump. Some of these items can be saved up for so that you do not need to touch your emergency fund. Chances are when your older car is inspected you will need certain things such as new tires, brakes, windshield wipers and various lights. A generator might be needed only every few years for a short amount off time. Can you make do without one? For some a generator may be a necessity while for others it might just be a want. Most things beyond food, shelter and medical treatment could be considered wants. A third car may be a necessity for three drivers in a family and other families find ways to share the two or one cars that they own.
Good luck in determining your needs and wants in the upcoming months.