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How To Thoroughly Build An Emergency Fund

Besides financial security, having an emergency fund puts you at ease. You never know when you’ll need it, and it may come at unexpected times!

What Is an Emergency Fund?

Life throws curveballs, and sometimes those curveballs come in the form of unexpected expenses or economic recessions.

An emergency fund is essentially a financial buffer designed to cover unexpected expenses or financial emergencies. In addition, these funds provide you with the means of handling life’s surprises without needing to borrow money. This would lead to debt and extra stress. Even though only 30% of Americans have an emergency fund, everyone needs to open one!

What if your phone stops working or your fridge decides to quit right before grocery day? Consequently, the emergency fund allows you to handle these situations without relying on credit cards or high-interest loans. It puts you at ease, knowing you are able to leverage larger costs until you get back on track.

Why Is an Emergency Fund Important?

i) You Prevent Debt!

Having an emergency fund will prevent you from falling into debt when unexpected expenses arise. It’s the difference between paying for an urgent car repair with your savings versus putting it on a credit card and accruing interest.

ii) You Are Backed Up!

Knowing you have a safety net provides a sense of financial security and peace of mind. In turn, this reduces stress or anxiety about potential financial shocks.

iii) Your Expenses Remain The Same!

An emergency fund can help you maintain your standard of living during tough times, such as job loss or medical emergencies, without the need to drastically cut your expenses or sacrifice essentials.

How Much Should You Save?

The size of your emergency fund will depend on various factors, including your lifestyle, monthly expenses, and financial obligations.

Above all, a general rule of thumb is to save enough to cover three to six months‘ worth of living expenses.

This amount gives you a cushion to rely on while you address the emergency and find a solution without rushing into less-than-ideal financial decisions.

Where to Start?

Open a Dedicated Savings Account – Keep your emergency fund separate from your regular checking account. This reduces the temptation to dip into your savings for non-emergencies. Look for an account with high interest and no penalties for withdrawals.

Start Small, Then Scale Up – For instance, if saving three to six months’ worth of expenses seems daunting, start with a smaller, more achievable goal, such as $500 or $1,000. Once you reach that goal, gradually increase your target.

Cut Unnecessary Expenses – After reviewing your spending habits, you are able to identify areas where you can cut back through budgeting mindfully. Redirecting even a small portion of your spending towards your emergency fund can make a big difference over time.

* Automate Your Savings – Set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your emergency fund. Automating your savings makes it easier to build your fund consistently without thinking about it.

Questions, Comments, Concerns?

All individuals or families have an emergency savings account set up, so if you don’t, I would highly recommend getting a head start!

If you have any questions about starting your emergency fund, tips to share, or concerns about your financial wellness journey, please leave a comment below.