Murphy's Law: Anything that can go wrong, will.
A few weeks ago, the air conditioner in my car went out. It started making a noise that sounded like air escaping and then started blowing hot air. Not a good thing, especially when it's already consistently 80-90 degrees here.
When we bought the car, the air was blowing hot. I'm glad we checked, because it was October when we bought it. We had them check it out before we signed anything. It was a good thing, the salesman insisted, because instead of the 'just a recharge' fix he had previously insisted it was, it was a crack in the condenser, and that would have cost several hundred dollars to fix. But, since they caught it before we bought it, they fixed it for us-- no charge.
Fast forward to April. After a few weeks of light AC use, it starts making that ominous hissing sound and blowing hot. Since I have very little clue about anything under the hood, I couldn't remember what part it was that was broken before or what exactly was wrong with it. We took it in to an independent mechanic and got it diagnosed and repaired-- this time they replaced the whole condenser. Stupid, slimy used-car dealer not fixing it like they were supposed to... Oh, did I say that out loud?
But you know what? That's OK! Because even though Murphy was in my back seat by right (I did finance the car, you know), we made it clear he was not welcome and kicked him to the curb.
How? Our mini-emergency fund. We followed Dave's advice (Dave Ramsey) and kept $1,000 in the bank "just in case." So, a problem that could have wreaked havoc on our finances was really simply a matter of getting it fixed, paying the guy, and taking it home.
Moral of the story: Get an emergency fund! Sock away every spare dollar you find until you have that little safety net safely in a high-yield savings account! That way, when life throws you lemons, you can say, "Hey, look! It's a lemon!" and get on with your life. Without the safety net, life throws you lemons, and all you can do is suck the juice out until your face is puckered grotesquely. So just do it. Start today. You'll be glad you did.