Build An Emergency Fund: Simple Ways To Succeed

Nearly half of Americans do not have funds for a $400 emergency expense, according to a recent survey. This may seem surprising, but considering the number of people living paycheck to paycheck, it makes sense. Many of us worry daily about our lack of financial security. Home repairs can range from hundreds to thousands. AAA lists the average car repair cost at $500-$600. The average cost for an emergency room visit is $1700. Funeral costs can easily be thousands of dollars. We can be better prepared by building an emergency fund and here are some simple ways to succeed.

Prepare meals at home. We spend around 6.1% of our income dining out. It is roughly four times more expensive to buy food outside your home, rather than to cook at home. Utilize sales at the grocery store to create a meal plan that works for you. Take your lunch to work so you see the savings begin right away and your emergency fund will be off to a great start.

If you don’t have a good use for them, selling unnecessary items will jump start your emergency fund. Keep what you actually need and use regularly, but anything left over is ready for a yard sale. If you lack time or space for a yard sale, try selling your items online.

Earn extra income by getting a second job. Even a few hours per month can really add up. Many businesses offer employee discounts, so you can save even more with a job at a grocery store, auto repair shop, or insurance agency. If another job isn’t possible, earning income from occasional babysitting, lawn care, petsitting, or handyman services might work better for you. Get creative and feed that emergency fund!

Make budget cuts. Cancel any subscription or membership you haven’t used in the last three months. If you have an expensive cable television or satellite package, try moving to a cheaper package or stopping the service if you aren’t under contract. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Sling offer tons of programming for much less than cable or satellite providers, but only keep subscriptions you use often. If you don’t use your gym membership much, try reaching your fitness goals in other ways. Consider what you pay for salon or barbershop services. Make sure you aren’t overpaying and that your current services are necessary while building your emergency fund.

Start small in the beginning. If you can find a way to save only $20 each month, you’ll have $240 at the end of the year. If you are able to save $40 monthly, you could handle an emergency expense by the end of the year, with $480 in your emergency fund.

Be conscious of your financial decisions, set realistic goals, and have the discipline to reach them. If you encounter an emergency expense before your fund is ready, visit for other options.