Ideally, you’d have a complete emergency fund: at least six months of net income stored in a savings account to be used if—and only if—you lose your job, you have a medical or dental emergency, your car breaks down and you’re without your primary form of transportation, you have an emergency home expense, etc. Here’s a handy guide to what really counts as a financial emergency.
But if you have a less-than-ideal emergency fund, or you’re without immediate access to that account, a credit card can fill in the gap. Cover your costs with that card when disaster strikes, then pay the bill using the funds set aside specifically for that purpose.
—Written by Michelle Sheiman
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