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49 Expenses that are not emergencies

Emergency Room

My wife operates a swim coaching business. From time to time, she teaches clients at a local gym. Her membership was set to expire last week. The salesman offered a great deal for both her and I to sign a three year agreement.

First, I could stand to spend some time at the gym. However, in order to pay for my membership (all due upfront), we would have had to use our emergency fund. I’ll be honest, I was very tempted to make the deal. However, it suddenly dawned on me,  “This is not an emergency!” Although I would enjoy working out with my wife, a gym membership is not what my emergency fund exists for.

This simple event started me thinking about what other things we as consumers are tempted to spend our emergency fund money on that aren’t actually emergencies. So I have created a list of expenses that should not be paid for with money from your emergency fund. I attempted to group them for easier reading.

Disclaimer: I’m not saying you should not buy any of things listed below. Rather, I’m saying that you should save for them and not use an emergency fund.

49 Non-emergency expenses


  1. Date night
  2. Vacation
  3. Bungee jumping
  4. Sky diving
  5. Tuition
  6. Community classes (karate, art, etc)
  7. Crafts
  8. Clubbing

Entertainment / Electronics

  1. Books
  2. Magazines
  3. Music
  4. Movies
  5. Video games
  6. Laptop
  7. New iPhone 4 (unless you dropped yours in a bucket of soapy water)
  8. iPod
  9. iPad

Financial (unless you lose your job)

  1. Mortgage / rent
  2. Insurance premiums
  3. Debt (go ahead and argue with me)


  1. Indoor plants
  2. Home decor
  3. Furniture
  4. Home improvement (not home repairs)
  5. Artwork
  6. KitchenAid mixer


  1. Tools
  2. Lawn care
  3. Outdoor plants
  4. Vegetable garden
  5. Grill
  6. Charcoal (is there any other way to grill?)
  7. Camping gear
  8. Tent


  1. Gym membership (-sigh-)
  2. Clothes
  3. Accessories (shoes, purses, etc)
  4. Make-up
  5. Exercise gear
  6. Gifts
  7. Art supplies


  1. Firearms (unless there is a zombie epidemic)
  2. Ammo
  3. Musical instruments
  4. Purchase a car
  5. Car seat

Things you shouldn’t waste any money on, ever

  1. Gambling
  2. Alcohol
  3. Cigarettes

Hopefully this list gives you an idea of ways you shouldn’t use your emergency fund. When using your emergency fund, stop and ask yourself, “Do I really need to have this item/service? Am I willing to trade my financial security for this item/service? Is there another way that I can pay for this? Can it wait until I save up the money?” You may just find yourself putting the item back on the shelf.

Is there anything that you would add to the list?

Tags: | Filed under Saving Money, Cash Management, Featured