Do you have an emergency savings fund? If you don’t, you’re not alone. It’s something everyone should have, but few do. In fact, according to Bankrate, over 40% of Americans can’t cover a $400 emergency expense.
So, why should you have an emergency savings fund? While your general savings account is meant for things like a new car or a trip abroad, emergency savings funds are meant to be used for just that; emergencies. They’re for the “Oh $#*!” moments when your car’s transmission goes out, or you land in the ER with a broken arm. Life happens, and you need a game plan to have it covered financially because the last thing you’ll want to do during tough times is take out a loan or charge big bucks to your credit card.
Having your savings built up for an emergency might sound daunting, but the truth is that it’s something you can knock out today in four steps - really! Keep reading to learn how you can set up an account and start saving for life’s unexpected adventures.
Determine your savings goals
Obviously, you can’t know what the future holds or what expenses might be down the road. A good target is to grow your savings to equal about one month of your current gross income. Once you’ve achieved that, experts recommend saving three months of income to be prepared for unexpected, life-changing events, like losing your job. These savings can help cover food, utilities and anything else that might come up during tough times. It might feel impossible to reach your savings goals, but by chipping away at your goal month by month, you might be surprised at how fast you can achieve it.
Open up a Personal Money Market Savings Account
Now that you have a goal amount in mind, it’s time to set up your savings account. There are lots of different accounts out there, but ultimately you’ll want one that works best for your savings goals. With a Personal Money Market savings account, you get a high yield interest rate (not your typical big boy bank rate of 0.01%), pay no fees, and you get checks for the account to easily access your money.
Set up auto transfer
Once your account is opened, you can set up auto transfers to send money from your checking account to savings. When it comes to saving, start small; even $20 or $30 from each paycheck will get you on the right path. Auto transferring money makes saving easier because you don’t have to be reminded each month to move money over. Instead, you can consider the amount you transfer each month another “bill” being automatically deducted. But instead of going toward actual bills like utilities, it’s going back into your pocket as savings (plus interest!).
Start building those savings
Now comes the fun part: building up your savings. With an account and auto transfer set up each month, you can count on gradually building your emergency fund. If you want to accelerate growth, there are plenty of ways to save more.
For a month or two, challenge yourself to avoid grabbing a $5 coffee every day or going out to lunch. Instead, do a quick transfer via the banking app, put that money into your account, and see how quickly it all adds up. Or, if you’re really serious about saving, see if you’ve got stuff lying around your house you could sell online, like an old bike or last season’s clothes.
If you don’t have emergency savings, get started today. You’ll be more prepared for whatever challenges are down the road and avoid the costlier alternatives and interest you’d face with emergency loans or credit cards. If you ever have questions about saving or need help setting up a new savings account, our team is ready to help you out. Happy saving!