Emergency fund: something easier said that done. We all know that we need to have at least six months to a year’s worth of salary saved up in the savings kitty, should the unexpected like a job loss or illness happen. No matter how important we know a healthy savings balance is for the welfare of our family, many tend to avoid this requirement simply because they either think they will never need it, or just because they think they cannot possibly afford to save.
But the emergency fund is more than just savings, it’s a safety net to catch you when you fall. When you don’t have a safety net and you are falling, those are the times you reach out and grab a payday loan. When you need quick cash to deal with problems, a payday loan is really your only choice… unless you have an emergency fund!
Here are 5 easy tips to help you build that fund. With a secure safety net, you will never need to rely on a payday loan.
#1 Try Your Best to Stay Out of Debt
One of the biggest culprits of a shrinking emergency fund balance is your credit card debt. When you make purchases using your credit card and carry a balance over to the next month, the interest on even a small balance can potentially take all the money you have left in your pocket. Avoid all unnecessary debt and you will be able to build the balance in your emergency fund quicker than you may have thought was possible.
#2 Make Your Saving Automatic
One of the easiest and most effective ways to save money is to schedule an automatic withdrawal out of your paycheck every week. When the process is done for you, you are less likely to come up with excuses as to why you can’t deposit the money that week. Just don’t think that you need to start saving by dedicating a large amount of your pay to your emergency fund each week; start with what you can afford. Even with $5 or $10 a week your emergency fund will start to grow no matter how much you can contribute to it
#3 Create (and Stick To) a Budget
Odds are you may be thinking that you do not have enough free cash to devote to building an emergency fund. This is why you need to create a budget. When you write down everything you spend in a month, you can easily identify the expenses that need to be kept from the ones that can be eliminated. Something as simple as eliminating your daily trip to the coffee shop can end up saving you anywhere from $10 to $20 a week which is easily enough to get your emergency fund started. You may quickly find frivolous expenses that you never even realized were there, allowing you to free up more cash than you ever thought was possible.
#4 Treat a Bonus as If It Never Happened
This can be one of the most difficult things to accomplish. Instead of spending the extra money on something you may forget about in six months, take that money and put it in your emergency fund. Treat it as if it doesn’t even exist. By this point you should already be accustomed to living on your current salary so you should not need any extra cash in order to make ends meet. Funnel all the excess into your emergency fund and it will be there for you when you need it most.
#5 Don’t use the Emergency Fund, Just Leave It Alone
An emergency fund is just that – an EMERGENCY fund. It should never be used lightly. In fact, it should never be a choice to use your safety net. It is designed to catch you when you fall and keep you alive. So never make a choice to tap into it for funds, only use it when there is no other choice to be made. Only use it to break your financial fall!