In praise of an emergency fund
Today I came out to my car to find the front left tire completely flat. A bit of Fix-a-Flat later, I was off to the mechanic. In months past I would be freaking out, "I can't afford this!" But this time, I had the assurance of an emergency fund.
Building savings while unemployed or digging out of debt is horribly difficult, but it can be done. Best of all, it helps to break the debt cycle. It's not fun or glamorous, but it helps.
My mode was to automate my emergency fund and save spare change until I had enough to deposit. Not having the dull feeling of doom made it worth the months of scrimping.