How I’m Building an Emergency Fund Using 6 Simple Steps
Are you wondering how to start building an emergency fund and where to start? If so, you’re exactly where I’ve been.
One of the things I’m currently working on is actually rebuilding an Emergency Fund (EF). In the past, I’ve used credit cards as my go-to source if I needed quick money for so-called “emergencies” and that has landed me in more debt than I’d ever hoped for!
The very first thing I did when I decided to build an EF was determined exactly WHY it was important. My big why was that job security is unrealistic and more importantly SH*T HAPPENS!
The last thing I want to encounter is a situation where I have an emergency and I have to use a credit card that I’m working diligently to pay off to handle said-emergency (more on what I consider emergencies a little later)!
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I’m far from what anyone would call a planner when it comes to finances. One of the main reasons I started this blog was to publicly hold myself accountable for becoming financially free.
I thought this blog post on how to build an emergency fund would be a great way to share my thoughts and progress.
I also want to track my progress in building a solid financial future for myself and my future.
My goal is to save $1,000 into my initial Emergency Fund. Once I meet this milestone, I’ll save 3 and then 6 months worth of living expenses.
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Currently, I’m saving $75 per paycheck to go into my EF. Monthly, this will allow me to set aside $150 unless there’s a 3 paycheck month. In those cases, I can expect to save $225 for those months.
This is a recent decision and as of now I have a total of $539 saved. Slow and steady is how I’m choosing to run this race.
My mom was kind enough to gift me $300 and I’ve been adding saving slowly to build on the foundation she created for me.
I also have credit card debt, student loans a retirement fund and just everyday life I’m working on so I’m being patient with myself!
I understand I won’t “get there first”… and I’m okay with that.
Defining an Emergency
- Unexpected Medical Expenses
- Major Car Repair
- Major Home Repair
- Job Loss
What’s Not an Emergency
- Holiday Gifts (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Birthdays, Baby Showers)
- Last minute or unnecessary travel
- Personal pampering or shopping (i.e. manicures, pedicures, spa days)
Yes, self-care is extremely important however these things should be planned within your budget and categorized as such.
Here’s How I’m Steadily Building My Emergency Fund:
- Automating Savings – On paydays, I’ve scheduled automated money transfers into my emergency fund.
- Limiting Access – I’ve decided to save for emergencies outside of my main banking institution. I don’t log into this account as often and it’s not tied to a debit card I use daily. I still have access during an emergency, but for the most part this account is out of site and out of mind in terms of everyday use.
- Budgeting – This is probably the most uncomfortable part for me. It’s unfamiliar and not all that fun. However, I know it’s necessary for me to be a good steward of the money I’ve earned. More on this in a future post.
- Using a Planner – I love using my planner to track what bills are due, paid and upcoming. My planner complements my budget spreadsheet. This has been a large part of me successfully paying off my car loan at the beginning of January 2019 and being diligent in saving towards my Emergency Fund. I was also able to pay off one of my credit cards earlier this year as well by tracking progress in my planner. This works for me!
- Side Hustling – I’m currently building my blog and brand with goals of earning from my writing efforts. I’m also currently writing and revising resumes and cover letters as I have a full-time corporate career as a recruiter. This is not the most “glamorous” side hustle but it’s a way to help those without a decent resume and cover letter have a better chance at landing an initial job interview.
- Using a High Yield Online Savings or Money Market Account – I currently use a Credit Union for my savings. However, I’ve been doing research on the benefits of opening an Online Saving Account and I’m seriously considering it. I’ve seen interest rates as high as 2.36% with banks such as Citi as of 4/23/2019. More to come!
I’d love to hear from you! Please share your thoughts and experiences on how to build an emergency fund. What are some ways you’ve built or are building an emergency fund for your future?