Before the weather turns frosty, learn how to build an emergency fund in a few short months to have just in case you end up at the mechanic come winter. And if you’re lucky to make it through the colder months without any car trouble, you can continue building your stash to have in case you need it to replace a faulty home appliance or have to visit the emergency room for a health issue.
Car repairs can range from $75 to thousands of dollars, depending what needs to be fixed. Try to save between $500 and $1,000 by early December, which can help you to meet your insurance deductible if needed or can help you cover the cost of most auto services.
Plan to stockpile your savings in a high-interest savings account to help you earn the most money possible. After all, every penny counts!
Set a monthly savings goal. Whether it’s $50 or $500 you want to save each month, the best way to accomplish your goal is to make arrangements with your employer’s human resources department and your bank to have a particular amount automatically deposited from your paycheck into a separate savings account. Out of sight, out of mind - and it grows while you aren’t looking!
Cut discretionary expenses. Sure, having new lip gloss colors and special dog toys for your pup delivered to your front door each month is a nice surprise for you and Sparky, but subscription boxes and extra expenses, like treating yourself to a hot latte every morning, add up fast. Try to eliminate unnecessary costs for a few months in favor of building your emergency fund. You can always resume your monthly Ipsy delivery and Netflix access once you’ve met your savings goals.
Consider supplemental income. It can be difficult to take a second job when you already have other commitments, like spending time with your family or attending a weekly meeting for the board you sit on, but a second job doesn’t require the same hours as your primary position. You can pick up a couple shifts at the coffee shop down the road, walk dogs, take surveys, deliver groceries, or start a blog and take home a few hundred extra bucks each month with minimal hours spent.
Sell things you no longer use. Whether you have stacks of college textbooks you haven’t looked at in years, a spare room full of old nursery furniture and toys your children have outgrown, or gift cards to restaurants you never frequent, you can always list these items on digital marketplaces and make some fast cash. Just be sure to deposit your newfound money in your emergency fund!
It’s important to leave these funds untouched unless you’re withdrawing them to fix your car, especially because it can be the difference in experiencing short-term financial strain or sinking into debt. As fun as it would be, picking out extravagant holiday gifts or meeting friends for dinner and drinks after a rough day at work do not constitute as an emergency. Keep the funds tucked away in the credit union so you can watch the account grow, then sigh with deep relief if you end up needing the dollars.