Do you break into a sweat about having to replace a broken refrigerator or cover a big car-repair bill?
That’s when an emergency fund can make a huge difference.
What’s an emergency fund? It’s money you’ve set aside in a savings account for the unexpected.
While it might not be the easiest thing to do based on everything else you have to spend money on, it can save you from having to take on extra credit card debt or loan payments and interest costs.
Experts vary on how much you should have in an emergency fund. Some will say $500 is a good start, while others will recommend saving enough to cover three to six months of living expenses.
Why the big range? Well, $500 might cover that car repair, but a larger amount would help you through a job loss or a medical emergency that could cause you to miss work. It would help with your bills and other expenses.
So how do you start an emergency fund and where do you find the money to build it?
Talk to your financial institution about opening an interest-earning account just for this purpose. Don’t mix it with your checking or other savings accounts so you’re not tempted to use the money for other expenses or saving needs. Then look for ways to start saving money until you reach your goal.
Tips on where to find the money can range from cutting back on regular entertainment costs to even getting a part-time job. Learning how to reduce expenses will be good for you; instead of more money slipping through your fingers you’ll be saving instead of spending.
Once you know you can start setting that money aside, use online or mobile banking to set up a regular automatic transfer from your checking account to your emergency savings. That way, it will become a habit you won’t even think about.
As that emergency savings grows, you won’t melt at the thought of a broken air conditioner.