Do Students Need an Emergency Fund?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about how much easier it is to be frugal as a student. It’s also usually the case that students live on substantially less than a person who is already in the working world.

Even so, emergencies do pop up for students from time to time. Even if students don’t have a car, they can have transportation emergencies. One time (murphy’s law) my bus actually rolled over into a ditch on it’s way to the stop that I was at. The transit company had to dispatch another bus but it was late by about half an hour. This would have made me late for a final exam, and if you are late, they don’t let you take the exam. I had to take a $60 taxi ride to the school.

do students need an emergency fund


While $60 isn’t enough to be considered an emergency for me, think about if your flight was cancelled the evening before a final, or another important exam. The next one isn’t until the morning, during the time your exam is to be taken. You’ll need an emergency fund in that situation.

I would say that students do need an emergency fund, and here’s why:

Avoid Going Into Debt

Debt is the root of all Western evil (ok maybe I’m exaggerating), and if you don’t have an emergency fund as a student you could end up having to go into debt to pay for the damage of the emergency.

If you are anything like me, you are making every effort possible to graduate without debt. Why put that in jeopardy? Having an emergency fund as a student will pad your account and you are less likely to have to go into debt or rely on student loans for your next semester.

Peace of Mind

Like I guess anybody would like, and probably one of the biggest reasons to have an emergency fund no matter whether you are a student or a working person, peace of mind is a huge reason why everyone should have an emergency fund. With an emergency fund at least you know that you have the cost of it covered if something came up.

The ability to sleep soundly if something came up is important.

Making You Interest

Depending on where you keep your emergency fund, you can make yourself some nice interest on the savings. If you do have an emergency, you won’t have to pay interest on a credit card if you use your emergency.

Might as well take advantage of extra income any way you can.


I can’t imagine life without my emergency fund. Because students live on less, generally, you can have less of an emergency fund. If you travel a lot, have a larger one, but if you are just ensuring that you can get through minor domestic/educational emergencies then you can generally have about half of the emergency fund that people always tell normal people they need (3-6 months of income).

Students – get an emergency fund! As a student did you /do you have an EF or no?


Do Students Need an Emergency Fund? — 9 Comments

  1. I put all of my money from working all summer into my savings account and treated all of my money as an emergency fund. I did my best to live off of my work-study job. I knew I had to pay for books which came from my savings but that isn’t an emergency. I basically did it this way to make me think I had no money. Since I could only spend what was in my checking account (which was very little) I really had to be aware of how I was spending my money.

  2. If they don’t have an account at the bank of mom and dad, then I think an emergency fund (even a small one) for a student would be a good thing. I know that when I was in college, even a $100 emergency was huge to me! But, I had a credit card and was an idiot. I would definitely recommend something small, at least, for a student.

  3. I’ve actually heard many students state they don’t need an emergency fund because they have their parents for those emergencies. Oh, we have a long way to go before we can change the mindset of so many other students.

  4. Everyone needs an emergency fund of some kind, even students. I think starting off with a few hundred dollars somewhere is a good start. Sinking further into debt isn’t a great option for students since they are already in a position of low income (if they have any income) and possible student loan debt. A small cushion could help in emergencies.

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