Building an emergency fund
Things happen almost every day that are out of our control and some of them can’t be avoided no matter how hard you try. The ones you can plan for are the ones you should be worrying about and creating an emergency fund is the best way to combat all financial disasters. A reserve fund is different than a savings account because it is for emergencies only. You can’t use it to buy Christmas presents or to go on vacation. An emergency fund is something that you build and leave alone until the terrible day you need it.
If you think that you can’t afford to create an emergency fund, you are dreaming. In reality, you can’t afford NOT to have one. You may think you have credit cards to fall back onto, but what if your company slashes your credit limit or increases your interest rate? With plastic, you’re at the mercy of the credit card companies.
The hardest part is to get started. If you have a hard time stashing money away, create a bill for yourself that you have to pay whenever you get your paycheck. By treating this as something else you have to pay every month, you’re more likely to forget that you’re actually saving money instead of spending it. If you are already feel like you’re squeezing every drop out of your money, think about how hard it will be to find extra money when an emergency does come up.
Keeping your fallback fund out of your easy reach makes it much easier to avoid the temptation of spending it. Open a completely separate account at a bank you don’t visit often and don’t get online access. If you can’t drain it on a whim, it’ll be much easier to keep it around for when you do need it.
There are varying opinions of how much you should have in your emergency fund. Some financial experts say you should have three months worth of expenses and some say one year. You want to at least have a month’s worth of expenses in the event that you lose your job or you can’t work due to illness, a death or anything else. Do what you think would fit your lifestyle best and if you can afford to build up a year’s worth of living expenses, then by all means do it.