Barbara Jones, of Detroit, was a happy woman when she got an unexpected $6,000 bonus from her job last year. “At first I thought it would be fun to use it to take a trip, but until I made up my mind I just put it in savings, “ Jones says. Then, life intervened.
“A week before I decided to book a trip to Italy, my central air conditioning died a horrible death,” she says. “Thank goodness I had this money stashed away, because it took every bit of it to get a new one and have it installed.” While Jones hadn’t designated the savings as an emergency fund, after the AC incident, she created an account especially for the unexpected.
According to the Federal Reserve’s Report on Economic Wellbeing of U.S. Households in 2015, 47% of Americans would have a hard time coming up with the cash for a $400 emergency without using credit cards, selling something or borrowing from friends or family. But we can all do better, if we have a plan. Here are 10 steps to do it:
1. Start Small
Kelley Long, a financial planner and spokesperson for the Financial Finesse financial wellness company, says having an emergency fund is a key part of being financially secure. It can be tough to find the money for it, though. “While paying down a mortgage, credit card debt and saving for retirement, it can seem overwhelming,” Long says. “So start small, even if it is just $25 or even $3 to $4 a day.”
2. Keep Your Emergency Cash Separate
You’ll set yourself up for failure, however if you keep your emergency fund cash with the rest of your money. Long suggests setting up an account that is not attached to your core spending and savings account. “Then, set up a regular time each week to deposit the money you want to put in that account,” she says.
Read more at 10 Ways To Build An Emergency Fund