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Tips for Creating an Emergency Fund
Emergency funds are key to financial security, as it protects you against an uncertain financial future. If you are having money troubles, don’t worry, you can still take baby steps to create an emergency or rainy day stash for you and your family.
An emergency fund will help you avoid needing to borrow money during a crisis and can help even out your budgeting.
- You can start with a small amount to fund the emergency fund and you are on your way to using effective strategies. An emergency account can be set up even if you don’t have much money to start it with. Just save anything you can and you will have a decent emergency fund in just a little time. If you make sure to deposit to your savings account regularly, your fund will obviously get bigger.
- Try to save at least $10 to $20 every week and put it into a separate bank account that you will not use for any other purpose.
- Pay yourself before anyone else. Request that the bank deduct a specified amount of your salary to put toward your savings. When your money disappears before you ever see it, it doesn’t “hurt” so much, making priority saving toward your emergency fund even simpler.
- Lower your current expenses. Look closely at your spending pattern and identify ways to cut down on your daily expenses. Any saved money should be added immediately to your emergency fund.
- Your fund will increase rapidly if you rein in discretionary spending for items like restaurants, lattes and premium TV channels.
- Round expenses up when you pay with a check. Every time you enter expenses in your checkbook, make it a practice to round them up to the next dollar amount. Even when you spend $10.01, you can round it up to $11. When the pay period ends the sum of the “round ups” will be moved to your emergency fund.
- Pay yourself. Once you have made the last payment on a particular debt, such as a credit card bill or auto loan, stash in a savings account the money that you previously allocated to that debt. This will not affect your budget and it will allow your emergency fund to grow even quicker.
- Put in your bonuses and refunds from the IRS. Deposit to your fund immediately any unexpected check from your job or from the IRS. If you don’t see it, you won’t think about it. You’ll be happier down the road that you’ve done this rather than buying some unnecessary item that caught your eye.
- Save the change you get. Pay cash whenever you can and put the change somewhere safe. Transfer it to your bank account once you have a whole bagful. You can do this with dollar bills, too. Whenever you use a larger denominated bill take the one dollar bills you receive as change, save them, and soon you will have a large amount of money.
- Sell things from your garage. Sell every item you no longer use, and include older DVD players, vehicles and items your currently store in your basement, attic or garage. We all have things that we have accumulated over the years, which we don’t need anymore, so why not sell them and add the money made to your emergency fund.
- This will give you a cushion of money should an emergency arise.
The reality is that it does not take a lot to get an emergency fund started, and every little bit helps. Even small amounts build up over time and you will be rewarded in the end. A critical and important step you can take to protect you and your family is to have a financial plan to handle any emergency.