Each and every family should have an emergency fund to be used for, well, emergencies. When a car repair is absolutely necessary or the plumbing desperately needs fixed, there needs to be money set aside just for those occasions. Establishing an emergency fund is not that difficult. Here’s how you can do it.
- Figure out how much you will need to have saved. There are many different philosophies as to how much should be in an emergency fund. Some will say three months’ worth of living expenses. Others will say six months and some will come up with a flat amount of, say $5,000. Whatever the number is, decide how much you want to save.
- If you decide that you will save dependent upon monthly expenses, you will need to calculate those expenses.
- Once you have the amount that you plan to save, open an account, separate from your other checking and savings accounts, with your bank or credit union. The emergency account needs to be liquid, so use a checking or savings account, a money-market account, or a short-term CD. If possible, utilize an interest-bearing account so that your balance will grow even more.
- Develop a plan and figure out where in your budget you can find the extra dollars to start building the emergency fund. Don’t worry about how much you can save. Even $20 per month will help you build your fund.
- When you have figured out where the money will be coming from to help build up your emergency fund, set up an automatic deposit. This way, you know that the money is going into the account every month.
- Every month that you have a budget surplus (if that ever happens) place some of that surplus into your emergency fund. There are a few times during a year that you may be paid three times in one month. Utilize some of the extra pay to help build the emergency fund.
While it may take a while, if you are disciplined you can build up your emergency fund fairly quickly. If you find yourself in need of emergency funds before your account is built up, you can always resort to quick sources of cash like car title loans. If you have a vehicle with a clear title, you can do an auto title loan with a company like Embassy Loans. The company can process your loan usually within 24 hours and have your cash quickly to help pay off your emergency.