Financial experts recommend creating an emergency fund to help during a crisis.
Without an emergency fund, unexpected expenses can sabotage an entire budget. And we all know how easily unexpected expenses can happen – a broken appliance, a dental bill or car repair.
The peace of mind that comes from having an emergency fund is well worth the effort it takes to build it. A minimum goal to start is $1000, eventually building up to between 3 and 6 months of income.
8 Ways to Creatively Build an Emergency Fund
1. Set Up a Separate Savings Account
Create a separate account that offers high-interest (perhaps a Tax Free Savings Account) and faithfully put your deposits there. Keeping this fund separate will minimize the temptation to withdraw the money for non-emergencies.
2. Sell Things
3. Start Small
Calculating the thousands of dollars to put in an emergency fund can be overwhelming. But tucking away an extra $20 or $30 here and there will absolutely add up over time.
4. Save Your Change
5. Treat It Like a Bill
Every month we receive bills for utilities, property tax, mortgage payments etc. These have to be paid on time, without thought. Send yourself an emergency fund bill each month, and pay that faithfully. Another option is to set up an automatic withdrawal, so the money comes out regularly.
6. Spend Less
I love the Duggar family’s saying: “Buy used and save the difference.” Challenge yourself to spend less in at least one budget category, and direct the money you saved towards your emergency fund. If you typically spend $600 on groceries, but you use price matching, meal planning and coupons to get that down to $400, you will have $200 to tuck away. I also love doing this with air miles cash. If I buy $100 in gas with Air Miles, I can put the money I saved towards an emergency fund.
7. Make More
Money is mathematical not magical. To fund an emergency fund creatively you either need to spend less, or make more (or both). Brainstorm ways to make more. Can you ask for a raise? Take on an extra part-time job? Think outside the box with friends who inspire you. Perhaps freelance your skills as an editor, writer, photographer – the sky is really the limit.
8. Find Inspiration
There are many amazing stories on the internet explaining how people choose to live frugally to pay down debt and create an emergency fund. If your focus waivers or you feel discouraged, spend some time looking for inspiration.
Having an emergency fund is a critical step to staying on track with a budget. Although it may feel like a mundane task, creating a stash of cash that is readily available is worth all the effort.
What suggestions do you have for creating an emergency fund?
By: Karen Gauvreau