Starting An Emergency Fund
How prepared are you for the unexpected? If you are like most Americans then you aren’t very prepared at all. Starting an emergency fund is not only a strong financial move but also one that can help give you some peace of mind.
You are already paying bills and saving money so why should you also be putting money into an emergency fund? Right now seem like a waste but down the line it could be a huge weight off of your shoulders.
Why An Emergency Fund?
A big unexpected expense that comes out of nowhere is rarely for a good reason. Having something saved in an emergency fund can take a little bit of the weight off of a situation you didn’t expect to be in. A sudden cost can also be the start of a debt snowball - you put it all on your credit card and the interest guilds and builds until it is really hurting your life.
How Much Should Be In It?
Your emergency fund doesn’t have to be enormous and really depends on what you can manage. The fund should have at least $500 but can go as high as you think is suitable for your life. Even $500 can be a huge help if your car suddenly breaks down or you have an unexpected medical cost. The emergency fund doesn’t have to cover the entire cost but it should reduce the strain on your finances.
How Do I Start?
Your tax return is a perfect way to start an emergency fund as is any one-time financial windfall because it doesn’t affect your month-to-month finances. If you can’t use that or don’t get a refund start by putting a little bit away from each paycheck.
If you don’t have a lot of wiggle room $20 is a fine start and you can make adjustments as you go. Just make sure that it is set aside outside of your normal savings so it is clearly marked for emergencies only. You can open a separate savings account or simply stash away some cash someplace safe.
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