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7 tips for building your personal emergency fund




7 tips for building your personal emergency fund

A personal emergency fund is a stash of easily accessible cash that you need to set aside to cover unexpected expenses. It’s a crucial financial safety net that can really come in handy in the event of job loss, medical bills, home repairs, or other unexpected costs.

Without a personal emergency fund, you may find yourself relying on high-interest debt or tapping into your retirement savings during tough times. Follow these seven tips to start building a robust emergency fund:

Tip 1: Bank windfalls strategically

When you receive a tax refund, work bonus, contest winnings, etc., allocate a portion to immediately boost your emergency fund. Consider sending at least 50% of any windfalls directly to savings.

You can also take a look at one professional online tax filing service to potentially maximize your refund amount. A tax professional can help you take advantage of all available deductions and credits so you can receive the largest refund possible.

Tip 2: Start small, but start now

You don’t need thousands of dollars to start your emergency fund. Even setting aside $10 or $20 per paycheck is a good start. The key is developing the habit of saving regularly. Once you’ve built some momentum, you can increase your contributions over time.

The key is not to wait until you have “extra” money to get started. Instead, make it a priority to save, no matter how small the amount.

Tip 3: Set a specific goal

While experts suggest aiming for three to six months’ living expenses, you can choose a specific dollar goal for your emergency fund. Having a clear, quantifiable goal makes it easier to track your progress and stay motivated. As you get closer, you can adjust your aim higher if desired.

Tip 4: Temporarily reduce costs

Look for areas where you can temporarily reduce expenses to free up more money for emergency savings.

Save a few months on discretionary costs like dining out, entertainment, memberships and subscription services. Small sacrifices for a short period of time can give your fund a healthy start.

Tip 5: Pay yourself first

Deal with your personal emergency fund contributions as you would with any other recurring invoice. Set up an automatic transfer to move a set amount of money from your checking account to a special savings account each pay period.

Making it one of your first “payments” ensures that the money is saved before you have a chance to spend it elsewhere.

Tip 6: Earn more, save more

In addition to cutting expenses, look for ways to generate additional income streams, such as: sidejob, freelance work or selling items you no longer use. Any money you earn from these additional sources can easily be transferred directly to your emergency savings.

Tip 7: Keep it liquid and separated

Your emergency fund should be kept separate from other savings in a liquid, interest-bearing account that is easily accessible. This way you can quickly access the money when you really need it.

Whatever you do, avoid investing emergency funds in riskier assets that can fluctuate in value. While these investments may seem lucrative at first, they can be unreliable if you need immediate access to cash.

Finance your future

Building a personal emergency fund is all about creating a solid financial foundation. Yes, reaching your entire savings goal takes dedication and patience, but even a small amount can go a long way toward weathering life’s inevitable storms.

Start small, save consistently, and watch your safety net grow over time. Having cash reserves for a rainy day provides invaluable financial security and peace of mind.