When you live paycheck to paycheck, a fully funded emergency fund may seem out of reach. These tips will get you saving money quickly so you can be prepared for the unexpected.
Why you need an emergency fund
Things go wrong. Unexpected, unbudgeted things happen.
For example, in just the past week, I’ve had to take my cat to the vet, our garage door broke, and the A/C in my car is on it’s last legs. Any one of those items by itself, I could squeeze the money out of the budget.
But all 3? In the same week?
You can quickly build your emergency fund with these 6 tips.
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Set up a payroll deduction
Have you ever heard of the phrase “pay yourself first?” Even if you can only spare $5-10 out of your check, it will add up over time.
Set up a savings account and send part of your direct deposit directly to savings. Using a payroll deduction, you won’t forget to save and you probably won’t even miss the amount out of your paycheck.
Change your withholdings
If you received a large tax refund this year and your financial situation hasn’t changed, consider changing your W-4 withholdings. You’ll see a smaller refund at tax time, but why let Uncle Sam keep your money?
Check with your accountant or tax advisor first.
Put the extra amount from your paycheck straight to your emergency fund savings account. Pretend you never even saw it.
Find ways to reduce expenses
Look for ways to reduce expenses. Be sure to check out my Pinterest Board for money saving tips from over 40 bloggers for inspiration!
Any money that you save from cutting costs should be deposited to your emergency fund.
Go on a spending freeze
Have you seen this story about Cait from Blonde on a Budget? She went on a one year spending freeze! Could you go a whole year without buying certain things?
Challenge yourself to a week…a month…or even more…of not spending money. It adds up fast! Need some tips on how to make it work? This article will help you endure that spending freeze.
Skip groceries for a week
Have one week a month where you don’t buy anything except necessities/perishables such as milk and bread. Dig in the reaches of your cabinet and cook with what you had hiding.
You can easily save $100 or more during the month with this trick. Get creative and pretend you are on an episode of Chopped! Skipping a week’s worth of groceries is a huge boost to your emergency fund.
Clean out your closets
I recently bought the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and read almost the entire thing in one sitting. I highly recommend it! You will gain real perspective of what’s important and what you should let go of in your life.
You’ll take a closer look at what you own and what you really need (and don’t need). If you have stuff laying around the house that your not using, why not make some cash in the process?
Sell what you don’t need on Craigslist or your local Facebook yard sale page. Some things you can sell to resale store to make cash, such as clothing, books, and movies. Any cash you make from selling your stuff should go to your emergency fund account.
Build your emergency fund
An emergency fund is an important step in getting your finances in order. See if you can successfully complete a spending freeze or make some money selling stuff you don’t use any more. Set up a payroll deduction so you save without even thinking about it and consider changing your withholdings. Find ways to cut costs around the house and try to skip groceries for a week.
You’ll be surprised at how quickly little amounts add up to a fully funded emergency fund!