Here's How I Prioritize Building My Emergency Fund

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KEY POINTS

  • An emergency fund is a powerful financial tool that can help you avoid debt.
  • Changing your thinking and treating your emergency savings contributions like a bill may help you prioritize your savings goals.
  • Saving even a small amount of money every month can help you cope with future unplanned expenses.

Saving money is a wise move if you're working to improve your personal finances. But for many people, it's challenging to prioritize saving money. Even if they have good intentions, they may fail to reach their goals because they spend all their money before they get the chance to save it. Are you finding it difficult to reach your savings goals? If so, you're not alone in your struggles. Here's what I do to ensure I continue to build my emergency fund.

The importance of an emergency fund

Why do you need to prioritize saving? Unexpected life events can quickly alter your situation even when life is going well and you make a decent income. A surprise home repair, trip to the vet, or medical bill can impact your personal finances and cause additional stress.

But an emergency fund can save the day. An emergency fund is a collection of extra money saved for emergency expenses. When an unforeseen life event happens, you'll have the cash you need to continue to pay your living expenses. Having the option to use money that you've saved can help you avoid accumulating expensive credit card debt.

How much cash should you keep in your emergency fund? No set amount will work for everyone. Many experts suggest saving at least three to six months of living expenses, but it doesn't hurt to keep building beyond that. You can use an emergency fund calculator to calculate your monthly costs and set a realistic savings goal that works for your situation.

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Treat your savings like a necessary expense

I feel most confident about my finances when I have extra money saved. I want to feel comfortable knowing I'm well-prepared for life's twists and turns. But I wasn't always the best saver. Eventually, I realized that I needed to change my thinking and routine. Shifting my thinking helped me prioritize saving so I could stay on top of my goals.

I changed my thinking by treating my savings contributions like a regular bill. To me, it's a necessary expense, not an optional expense. Similar to my mortgage, electric bill, car insurance, and water bill, it's a must-pay expense. I include my savings contributions when calculating my monthly expenses and figuring out my budget, so I know I can afford it.

As I've gone through different chapters of my life, I've experienced various small and big emergencies that have impacted my finances. Having an emergency fund has made my life easier and has helped me manage my stress when the unexpected happens.

If you're struggling to reach your savings goals, you may want to give this strategy a try. Automation has also helped me minimize forgetfulness. You can set up automated transfers so money is regularly transferred from your checking account to your savings account. Keep your extra cash in a high-yield savings account so you earn interest and boost your balance.

Plan for the unexpected

Don't neglect to save. Even when life is going well, planning for the unexpected is beneficial. Setting aside extra money each month can help you prepare for the future. Even if you can only afford to save $50 or $100 a month, it'll make a difference. A solid savings account balance can give you greater confidence, as you'll know you have extra money available when needed.

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4.00/5 Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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