Using up your emergency fund can leave you teetering on the edge of financial disaster. Our credit counseling advice is to rebuild this safety net as quickly as possible. When it comes to unforeseen emergencies, the best defense mechanism and readiness tool is a household fund established specifically for emergencies and unplanned events. Establishing an emergency fund is one of the first things you should do when striving for financial stability. If an emergency fund does one thing, it gives you peace of mind. Unexpected financial burdens can hit you when you least expect it. Perhaps you suddenly need to repair the brakes on your car, buy a last minute plane ticket to visit a sick grandparent, or even cover your living expenses while you look for a new job. Whatever the emergency may be, having a clear strategy to rebuild an emergency fund will help you stay financially afloat and avoid unnecessary consumer debt.
Quick Steps to Rebuild Emergency Fund
- Reevaluate your budget. In order to rebuild your savings, the first step is getting your budget in order. If you’ve already depleted your emergency cash, it’s more important than ever to make sure that you’re spending responsibly. In the meantime, look for areas and creative ways you can cut costs.
- Cut expenses as much as possible. Look at how your funds are dispersed each month. Determine if there are a few more things you can live without until you’ve reestablished your emergency fund. Cutting your cable subscription and limiting other entertainment expenses is a good way to rebuild savings.
- Employ everyday saving strategies. Take simple steps. Use coupons for groceries. Turn off lights and appliances when not in use. There are many little ways to save a few dollars here and there. Small savings can add up quick over the course of a month or two.
- Sell unused household items. A good way to generate a decent chunk of change quickly is to have a yard sale or sell some items on Craigslist. This can provide a little breathing room without too much effort or stress. Every small step can count towards giving your savings a boost.
- Find a side gig or moonlight for extra money. Working two jobs, freelancing, or otherwise using your free time to earn extra money can be exhausting. However, it is a very effective way to rebuild your savings quickly.
- Less splurging more saving. Be sure to avoid splurging or buying things impulsively. Instead dedicate any windfall money, like your tax refund, to fortifying your emergency fund.
How Much Should I Save for an Emergency?
Guidelines vary but a reasonable starting point for anyone is to amass three to six months’ worth of critical living expenses including:
- Bills you cannot put off or defer without serious consequences or complications such as housing (mortgage or rent) payments
- Child care
- Minimum payments on loans or other credit.
Just about everything else should be considered discretionary expenses and should be the first cut in an emergency financial situation.
If you’re struggling to pay off debt, schedule a free credit counseling session with us today.