Starting an emergency or savings fund will be one of the best financial decisions you ever make.
If you don’t have one, I promise you, it’s really simple to understand what you need to do to build.
Then that begs the question:
If it’s so simple, why don’t more people have an emergency savings fund?
Well besides sometimes not knowing how important it is, building a savings fund requires discipline and self-control.
I know I know…no fun, right. But it’s important to understand that many of the money problems that we face are emotional and psychological.
Sometimes our money problems are because we don’t make enough.
But sometimes it’s are money problems stem seeing that new dress or buying that daily Starbucks coffee that we just have to have (or so we think).
I’ll warn you upfront. Building an emergency fund won’t be fun (although my emergency fund freebie can make it more fun…I’ll tell you more about it later).
It’ll feel like your account will never be fully funded. You’ll feel like you will never reach your goal.
But I promise you, if you keep going, you WILL get there! Don’t give up. It’s so worth it to have money in the bank knowing you have a financial support system in a way that will catch you when you fall.
Think of money in your savings as peace of mind. It’s buffer against the monetary storms of life that befall everyone.
Why an emergency savings is so important
Why is an emergency savings so important to have? Life is crammed full of uncertainty and change.
One minute you have a “steady” job, then next minute your boss is calling you into their office with a layoff pink slip laying on their desk.
Let me ask you, if you lost your job today, would you be able to eat tomorrow?
Would you be in utter despair because of your situation or would be like “Okay, that hurt but I have these other streams of income and I have an emergency savings to fall back on.
My family and I will be taken care of until I can find another job.”
If your response is that you would be in despair with no groceries stocked in the pantry and no money in a savings account, then you need to follow the steps in this post ASAP.
But what if what happens is not as extreme as a job loss? What if all 4 tires on your car needed to be replaced to the tune of $400?
Would you be good to pay with cash or would you be pulling out a nearly maxed-out credit card to pay for it?
The truth is many Americans and many people around the world don’t have enough savings to pay for even a $400 emergency let alone a lost job.
I mean this from the bottom of my heart: Please don’t be in this situation! Please please please!
If 2020 and all that has happened in this year hasn’t taught you the importance of having a savings I’m not sure what will.
You must absolutely have money in the bank or one day you will regret it.
The Lord tells us in Proverbs 6:6-8 ESV “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.”
This is one of my favorite verses because there’s so much wisdom in such a short passage.
But what I want to touch on is the part where it says “she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest”.
Now I’m sure that has been interpreted a million different ways.
What I gather from it in the context of saving money is that while you have plenty, you need to be putting some away for when you don’t have plenty.
If you go further down in that same passage to verse 10-11 in the CEVUK version it says “Sleep a little. Doze a little. Fold your hands and twiddle your thumbs. Suddenly, everything is gone, as though iit had been taken by an armed robber”.
In other words, if you are not paying attention (to your money), one day you will look up and it will be gone (like a robber took it).
And trust me that emergency will come up and that money that was just spent all willy nilly (I’m so old school lol) is going to be sorely missed.
I’m sure this verse wasn’t talking just about money but for our purposes, it fits perfectly. You need a savings fund and you need a plan to get started. So I will walk you through it.
The 3 easy steps to building an emergency fund
1) Calculate how much money you need to be able to survive for 3 to 6 months
So the first step you need to take to start building your emergency fund is this:
You need to get out a pen and a piece of paper (see, told you I was old school) or if you must, you can use a digital device of some sort (whateves lol) and write down all of your monthly expenses.
But wait that’s not all. You also need to write down all of your quarterly expenses and your annual expenses.
I’m thinking it would be good for me to use examples so you know exactly what I mean.
Let’s make up a family. Its’ the Roger’s family with Johnny and Susie as the mom and dad.
They are a family of 4.
The Rogers’ have the following expenses every month (we are going to use nice round numbers bc well…math)
Cable Bundle: $200
Car payment: $250
Monthly Total: $2,050
Etc… you get the picture
These are their quarterly expenses
Random unnecessary subscription: $100
Trash Pickup: $45
Another random subscription that they don’t need: $50
Quarterly Total: $195
And these are their annual expenses
Car insurance: $750
This is how much money the Rogers need to survive for 3 months:
$9,285 ($2,050 + $195 + $850=$3,095 x 3 months = $9,285) (I went ahead and added the annual expenses in here as well)
This is how much the Rogers need to survive for 6 months:
$18,570 ($3095 x 6 = $18,570)
2) Next calculate how much money you currently have that you can contribute to the fund
Now that the Rogers know how much money they need in order to have a fully fund emergency savings account, they can now determine how much seed money they can put into the account.
What I mean by seed money is you want to go ahead and put some money into your account (I will cover shortly what kind of account you should put the money into).
Otherwise, that zero balance staring back on you will be intimidating. Putting some money into the account will make you feel like you have at least started making progress towards your goal.
Money that you put into your emergency fund can come from several places:
1) After you did your budget (you did do a budget?), was there money left over?
Although this is not the true proper way to save money (you should really pay yourself first blog post link), if you do have money left over after paying your bills, put that into your emergency fund.
2) Did you have any money from side hustle that you can put into your emergency savings account
3) Thinking about buying a dress for no good reason? Don’t buy the dress…instead use that money to fund your emergency account.
4) Did you use cash for a purchase and have change left over? Start setting that money aside and deposit it into your emergency fund.
5) Sell something that you don’t need but someone else might want.
3) Now start funding your emergency savings fund using this trick (automatic savings)
Yes! Now it’s finally time to start putting money into your account. You’re going to start seeing your savings grow like what!
Because this is what we are going to do…
You are going to start saving money automatically from each paycheck.
You’re going to put this money into a high yield savings account like this one ( Ally bank) and you will set up a recurring transfer from your primary bank to your emergency fund.
It’ll go something like this:
1) Open a high yield bank account like the one at Ally bank (I highly recommend them and I’m not getting paid to say that).
2) Set up a link between this account and your primary bank preferably the one where your paycheck is directly deposited into.
If you don’t know how to do that ask either your current bank or Ally bank how and they will help you.
3) Set up a recurring transfer from your primary bank account to the emergency fund account that you’ve just opened.
With Ally bank, you can actually name your account. So you can name it Emergency Fund and then put the amount that you need to save in order to have 3-6 months of emergency savings.
In other words, if you need to save $7500 for your 3-month emergency fund then name your emergency fund “Emergency Fund $7500” so you’ll have a reminder of your goal and how much further you have to go.
How much you put into your emergency savings fund will be based on your own budget. I don’t know how much you can set aside each month or per paycheck.
I would suggest going as fast as you can until you at least get to $1,000.
If you’re doing the Dave Ramsey baby steps then after you get the $1,000 emergency fund you start working on your debt.
If you don’t have debt start working on the full 3-6 months so it the account can be fully funded as fast as possible.
Why are we using a different account than your primary account?
Because it is more likely to build that way.
If you use your primary checking account, the account that has bills coming out of it and the account you pay groceries out of, its unlikely that you will be able to stop yourself from spending it.
I don’t know how many times I’ve looked at my balance at the end of the month and wondered where my money went.
But that never happens with my separate account because I basically don’t spend any money from it. I just deposit money into it for the most part. That way it can grow and grow.
Free Download: Emergency Tracker & Other Financial Freedom Printables
You can download my Road To Financial Freedom Step 1: $1,000 Emergency Fund Tracker & Action plan free of charge.
It’s in my Healthy Finances resource library.
Click the link below, sign up, and the password to the Healthy Finances library will be sent to your inbox.
Please do so because I truly want you to get started as soon as possible.
Get to know the freedom of not stressing out about every little emergency that comes your way. It’s an awesome feeling I promise.
Download your free tracker and action plan to get started today.