8 Ways You Can Start Saving for Your Emergency Fund

By Sara

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Last Updated: October 26, 2022

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We have all heard of the financial advice that we need an emergency fund, and if you're reading this post, you probably know why it's so important.

An emergency fund can help you stay out of debt because instead of using a credit card to pay for a new tire, you can use your emergency fund for this. In addition, you never know when something will happen to your car, house, or even your job.

Ideally, it's best to keep 3-6 months of your cost of living in an emergency fund, but this depends on your risk level and where you are in life. 

While you may know that you need an emergency fund, actually saving up for it can be challenging. So where do you start, and how do you keep the momentum going to fund 3-6 months of expenses? With these eight ways to save for your emergency fund, you can start saving now

 

 

8 Reasonable Ways You Can Start Saving for Your Emergency Fund

Cut Down Unnecessary Spending. 

One of the best ways to start saving for your emergency fund is to cut down on unnecessary spending.

Any of this money that you save can be put into your emergency fund. While at first you may not think you have any unnecessary spending, track your spending for one week.

You may find out that you are buying a coffee here and there, getting lunch out instead of making it at home, and taking an Uber when you could quickly walk to the other side of town. Find the areas in your day-to-day spending where you can cut back and put that money into your emergency fund. 

 

Do a No Buy Month.

If you want to quickly save up money to fund your emergency fund, try a "No Buy" month. This will help you flex your frugal mindset and save money.

  • The idea of a No Buy month is that you create a list of what is off-limits for you to buy.
  • Most people allow the basic needs to spend money on, and that is it.
  • Groceries (not dining out or excessive trips), gas, insurance, rent/mortgage, and any other monthly payments you need to make are okay.
  • Everything else, like dining out, concerts, movies, coffee, and so on, are not allowed.

This will help you save a large amount of money if you spend a lot in non-essential areas, and you can quickly save up for your emergency fund.

You may find that you only need to do a few months of a No Buy month to fully fund your emergency fund. 

 

Earn Extra Income.

If you don't have much wiggle room to cut back your expenses for your savings, one way you can put extra money into your emergency fund is through an additional source of income.

You can find a part-time job or side hustle to do for a few months to help you save up for your emergency fund. You can bartend, Uber, or even find an online side hustle that you can do in the comfort of your home.

All this extra money from your part-time job or side hustle can fund your emergency fund. You may be able to get the amount you need in a few months and may find that you enjoy side hustling and continue to do it to reach other financial goals. 

 

Create a Budget.

One of the best ways to save for an emergency fund is to create a line in your budget to specifically save for this.

Before you can do this, you must create a budget, especially if you struggle to save every month.

To successfully create a budget:

  • You need to track your spending for one to three months to see your typical spending habits.
  • Then, you can figure out how much you need to allocate for your needs and wants.
  • Your needs will be things like housing, transportation, and groceries.
  • Wants are anything that is non-essential, like dining out, clothes, coffee, and so on.
  • If you are not saving money, look at your wants list and see where you can cut back.

The money you cut back on can go towards your emergency fund, and this is a way to ensure you are saving every month for this goal. 

 

Save on Utilities.

If you are not able to cut back on your spending and save, one area where you can save is on utilities.

While this initially may seem like a small amount of money, it will add up and seriously help you put away money for your emergency fund.

First, look at your utility habits.

  • Do you go to work every day and keep the temperature the same?
  • Consider bumping the temperature up or down when you are at work depending on the month.
  • This can help lower your bills.
  • You can also save money on your water bill.
  • Take shorter and colder showers as hot water costs more.
  • Finally, unplug the appliances that you don't need 24/7.
  • When you use your air fryer, plug it in, and when you are done using it, unplug it.

These small changes can really add up, and the money you save can be put toward your emergency fund. 

 

Automate Your Savings.

One of the best financial habits to get into is to automate your savings.

This can come in really handy when starting your emergency fund. If you have a certain amount in your budget that goes towards savings, you can set up a bi-weekly or monthly schedule to directly put a certain amount into your savings account.

You should have part of your income going into these accounts as soon as you get paid. It can be hard to remember to do this, so automate it so you don't have to think about if you saved that paycheck or not. 

 

Save Extra Money.

If you happen to have a windfall of money, don't even think about spending it.

Instead, put it directly towards your emergency fund. It's so easy for people to have this money spent before they get it. If you get money for your birthday or something unexpected, you can use this to help start your emergency fund. You'll be able to fund it faster than without this unexpected income. 

 

Set a Goal.

Setting a financial goal can help you get motivated.

If you set a goal, make sure to make it a SMART goal - Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. For example, if your goal is to save for emergencies, make sure that you have a way to measure your success.

Also, make a plan for when you want to achieve this goal. For example, if your goal is to save a six-month emergency fund in 1 month, that isn't achievable.

If you budget, you should know how much you can put towards your emergency fund every month and know that this may take you six months to achieve your goal. This information about your goal will help you stick to it. 

 

 

Final Thoughts 

Starting an emergency fund does not have to be a daunting task.

It takes time to know how much you need to save and how you will save it, but once you have it, you will feel a sense of peace knowing you can take care of your family if anything happens.

These eight ways to save for an emergency fund can be paired together, or you can choose the few tips that will work best for you.

Photo by Tara Winstead

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