I don’t need to tell you why it’s a good idea to have an emergency fund. Sometimes we focus so much on why we need something instead of how to do it, often the more important step. Here are ten strategies to get you started building your emergency fund right now.
- Direct Deposit: If you’re having problems saving money and want to remove the temptation to spend – or just want to save without thinking about it – set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account to coincide with every paycheck.
- Payroll Deduction: If direct deposit isn’t enough, ask your employer about payroll deduction. Through your employer set up an amount to be deducted from your payroll check to your savings accounts every pay period. When your paycheck is deposited into your account, you can be sure you have already saved a portion of it
- Start Small: It’s a tall task to save the 3-8 months of expenses, so start by saving a smaller amount, like $50 a month, or $1.67 per day. Gradually increase your contributions, as you get more comfortable with the process.
- Race to a Small Goal: Race to save 1/2 of your overall emergency fund. When you reach this goal, you can taper off your monthly savings (but don’t stop entirely). Before you do, ask yourself: I made it this far, can I go for a couple more months?
- Treat Savings Like a Bill: Set up a “due date” for your emergency fund payment, just like you would a normal bill. We all know how important it is to pay bills on time – don’t skimp on paying yourself on time either.
- Allocate Debt Payments: Have you finished paying off some type of debt? If so, save the amount you were paying on that debt to your emergency fund. There’s no extra pinch on your wallet and you’ll already be used to the routine.
- Use Your Tax Refund: Use whatever money you get from your tax return to jumpstart your emergency fund.
- Freelance: We all have skills others may not have. Turn those skills into a valuable business – or a profit generating side-job – and use the extra cash to help build your emergency fund.
- Save Your Budget Surplus: If you set a budget for groceries at $500, but only spend $400, put the extra $100 aside in your emergency fund.
What are other ways you recommend to save for an emergency fund? What was particularly helpful for you?