3 min read September 30, 2021
Quiz: Should I use my emergency fund?

You’ve spent months or years building up your emergency funds. But when is it the right time to use them? These questions can help you decide.

Photo of a woman with a broken down car.

A new water heater. A last-minute vacation. A reduction in hours at your job. We’ve all experienced an expected expense or event that upends the best-laid plans (and budgets).

If you’re facing a shortfall, you’re probably eyeing your emergency fund. Our decision tree can help you decide when to use emergency funds.


Bottom line: Use your emergency fund only for those expenses that are truly unexpected, unavoidable, or urgent, so when a financial emergency does arise, you’re prepared. If you do use some of your emergency fund, make a plan to rebuild it, too.

What's next

This document is intended to be educational in nature and is not intended to be taken as a recommendation.