American Consumer Credit Counseling Explains How To Start And Build An Emergency Fund

ACCC provides five tips to begin saving for the all-important emergency fund

Boston, MA – April 11, 2018

How to Start and Build an Emergency FundWhen it comes to unforeseen emergencies, the best defense and readiness tool is a household fund explicitly established for emergencies and unplanned events. To help consumers, national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling has created videos and tips to explain how to effectively start and build an emergency fund.

“Unfortunately, emergency expenses – whether they be home, car, medical or something else altogether – can arise very quickly and usually need to be dealt with immediately,” said Steve Trumble, President, and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “There are a few ways to go about building your emergency fund. It is important to find a way that works best for you so that an emergency expense doesn’t lead to greater debt or other financial challenges.”

According to a recent survey by Bankrate, 34 percent of Americans have experienced a major unexpected expense within the last year. To cover the cost of an unexpected expense, 39 percent of respondents say they would take money from their savings, 19 percent say they would finance with a credit card and pay it off over time, 13 percent say they would reduce their spending on other things, 12 percent say they would borrow from family or friends ,and five percent say they would take out a personal loan.

When starting an emergency fund, consumers should aim to save at least three to six months’ worth of critical living expenses to use in case of emergency. Building an emergency fund to cover 6-9 months’ worth of expenses is ideal. Critical living expenses include bills, such as mortgage and rent, food, utilities, insurance, transportation, child care, and minimum payments on credit cards or loans. Once consumers decide how much they need to save, they should set funds aside in a separate account – other than regular savings – that earns interest.

With several ways to build an emergency fund, it is essential for consumers to find a way that works best for them. Some helpful tips include:

  1. Automatically transfer funds from each paycheck – If consumers never see the money, they won’t have a chance to miss it and will always remember to contribute.
  2. Aim to save five to 10 percent of every paycheck – If a consumer’s budget allows, they should set aside a certain percentage of each check to their emergency fund.
  3. Cut back on unnecessary expenses – Consumers should use the $30 to $60 they’d typically put towards coffee or eating out each month towards their emergency fund.
  4. Allocate any extra money to the emergency fund – Consumers should put any extra cash left over from their budget, side jobs, or any other unanticipated income directly into their emergency fund.
  5. Be patient – Emergency funds can be slow-building. Even if consumers only contribute $10 a week, some money is always better than none.

ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:

  • For credit counseling, and student loan counseling call 800-769-3571
  • For bankruptcy counseling, call 866-826-6924
  • For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
  • Or visit us online at

About American Consumer Credit Counseling

American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management through credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and financial education concerning debt solutions. In order to help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loan assistance, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft,  senior living and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to or visit