An emergency fund is an integral component of any sound financial plan. It serves as a cushion for unplanned expenses like car repairs or medical bills that cannot be avoided.
Your emergency fund should be tailored to your situation; however, as a general guideline, aim to have three to six months worth of living expenses saved up.
1. Set a Goal
Maintaining an emergency fund is essential to prepare for unexpected expenses that may arise, such as medical emergencies, home repairs or job loss. With this money you are protected in case of a financial emergency.
Additionally, it can provide security and prevent you from incurring debt through credit cards or personal loans that could become overwhelming in the future.
Begin by setting a goal for how much money you want to save. Experts generally suggest having three to six months worth of living expenses saved.
You can reach your savings goal by setting aside small amounts each week or setting up a savings plan where you deposit a lump sum each paycheck. Additionally, review your goals regularly and adjust them based on changes in your family, work or financial situation.
2. Review Your Budget
Unexpected expenses such as car repairs or job loss can leave you in financial straits that could have been avoided with proper savings. A well-stocked emergency fund should cover rent, utilities, debts and food for three to six months.
Building an emergency fund can be accomplished in several ways, but the most crucial is setting goals. Begin by saving a small amount each month and increase your target with each succeeding month.
3. Take Advantage of Every Opportunity
No one ever plans for an emergency. Whether it’s a job loss or unexpected home repairs, being financially prepared can ease the strain and provide peace of mind in times of hardship.
Make saving for an emergency fund a top priority by finding ways to cut costs on daily purchases. For instance, shop around for car insurance, cell phone contracts, and utility packages to see what offers are available.
Another way to build your emergency fund is by setting aside additional income. Be it from inheritances, work bonuses or prize money, these amounts add up quickly and help you reach your savings goals faster.
Once your savings goal has been achieved, transfer it into a secure, liquid account where it can earn interest. This could be either a savings account or short-term bond fund.
4. Save Your Tax Refund
If you can save your tax refund, consider using it to build or replenish an emergency fund. Doing this is an excellent way to ensure you’re ready for anything unexpected; whether that be job loss or major car repair that necessitates larger sums of cash.
If saving isn’t an option, consider spending your tax refund on smaller purchases such as home improvement projects or a new kitchen appliance. These purchases won’t put a huge dent in your budget and you may not feel the financial strain as quickly.
Another option is to use your tax refund to save for future goals like retirement. This is a wise decision that will reap benefits in the long run due to compound interest.
5. Sell Stuff
Emergency funds are a safety net that can protect you from the unexpected. They provide peace of mind at night knowing that no matter what occurs in life, you have some security to fall back on. Without one, credit cards or personal loans may have to be used in times of need.
If you have unwanted clothes, electronics or other items that you no longer require or want, selling them can help boost your savings. Or you could start a side hustle that generates income in other ways – whether that be through online freelance writing work, selling home decorating services or something else entirely – finding ways to make extra cash can give you some breathing room and give your emergency fund an extra push.