7 Best Ways to Build Emergency Savings

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We all need saving’s to cushion and protect us in case of any emergency that may arise at any time. What makes it hard is the fact that somehow seem to not make enough money to create that stability before the next emergency sets in or strike once again. This alone is enough to give you lots of stress that may force you to give up or go into depression. However, that should not be the case as there is a quick way to build an emergency saving’s fund from zero. Here are seven best ways to build emergency savings.

Create or Set Aside a Coin Jar

This is one of the oldest modes of saving but trust me it is all worth the effort. This method involves throwing what we call change into a jar.  Adding in little balances don’t feel like real money to us and are small enough that it won’t be missed. This jar may be full sooner than you expected.

If you are already following the money jar or cash envelope system you will likely be receiving plenty of change from all your transactions.

By depositing your change into a jar for savings it will immediately do two things for your subconscious mind.

First, you will start to believe yourself when you see your savings build up that you do in fact have the money you are saving and no longer think of yourself as ‘broke’.

Second, is that you will start to think of it as a game and find yourself yearning to put even more money in the jar. You will start to get excited as you approach the top of the jar and find yourself search your friend’s couch cousins for the final spare change to get you over the top.

Keep doing this frequently with any little amount from your purse, wallet, house or desk and collect it in the coin jar. When it’s full immediately take it directly to the bank, not to get a gift card or anywhere else, this jar had a purpose of savings and we want to make sure it makes it all the way there.

This is a great way to start saving towards your emergency and you’ll begin to believe that big things can come from little actions. For those who use a card for the majority of their purchases consider an app like Acorns, but beware their services won’t be free.

Set Your Long-Term Savings Goals

One of the very critical steps you need to undertake is to first identify how much you want to save each month. Make it a realistic stretch, just out of reach but still plausible. This will help you set your sights on meaningful and achievable saving goals.

Once you can get things rolling on this long-term saving goal, you will be less likely to concede. This can also involve you limiting your expenses throughout the month and shifting what would have been spent instead moved into your savings to save a little more for your emergency fund.

Always ask yourself this question, how much do I want to save and how much can I reasonably start saving? The answer is always the right figure for you to start saving towards any emergencies.

Clear Off Your Debts

Debts can consume all your monthly earnings if you are not careful. It is therefore important to ensure that you limit how much debt you incur throughout the month. You can ensure that you achieve this by limiting your borrowing rate, clear off all your previous debts and with that done, you are set to start building an emergency saving.

If it can be paid off within the next few months, make that top priority. Once it’s paid off split what you were paying towards it to pay off additional debts and the other part to help build up your savings (to get you started). As your savings creates that cushion for you, then you can change your focus to any additional debts.

You need to first stop the money bleeding if you need help with self-control. Go drastic, put your cards in a cup of water and freeze the cup in your freezer. Your cards will be there if you ever TRULY need them but otherwise, you know they won’t be touched.

Create a Monthly Savings Milestone to go Along With Your Long-Term Plan

Have you cleared your debts and everything is in check? If this is well achieved, then you can shift your focus. This can involve you saving up to half of your monthly paycheck into a savings account.

Though, the good rule of thumb is 6 months of your living expenses that can seem daunting when you first start. I say start with $200 then $500 then $1000. Once you have $1000 saved it becomes easier to manage when true emergencies come up. Maybe before they were only $300 or so for new tires or to fix your car, but now you don’t have to go straight to your credit card and back into debt.

This is an activity that only needs be done once and you will be good to go. It ensures you have a pool of funds ready to keep you going. You don’t have to stop there but continually save something little every month to add up to what is already saved. With such a plan, you are sure to meet all your emergency expenses with ease.

Sell Your Stuff

Do you really need two gaming systems or 20 pairs of shoes? What about a stack of books or DVDs that are gathering dust? How about some old furniture or tools that aren’t used the way they were years ago?

I knew of a client who said they couldn’t afford to have a savings plan, yet they owned a motorcycle, and a van that didn’t work, along with a trailer. They would say that “One Day I was going to fix them up and enjoy them”, sadly they’ve held onto them for over a decade and the sellable value has considerably dropped.

Think if they fixed it up when they first had it and could sell it for much more than they bought it for. Now they keep seeing an incomplete project sitting outside and dread the day they’ll have to remember what’s broken with it in the first place.

There is some value in those even still, maybe enough to get them up to $1000 but the fear of losing out on the future day of having that settles in. I have them ask themselves this question. If you had no debt and a considerable amount of savings and those projects were still sitting there, then would you feel the time is right to fix them up and enjoy them? Or will those items still be sitting there, and you’d go out and buy a newer motorcycle that works and van that works?

It’s up to them to decide. Is it the sentimental memories involved with that material item, or just the thought of having that item to enjoy when times are better. There are rare sentimental considerations but the majority of the time you had an end goal of fixing it up to sell it you’re better off doing that sooner than later. Fix it up, enjoy it for a bit and sell it to move on and look for your next project.

Think if you were good at fixing motorcycles, how your financial situation would change if you could buy them cheap and sell them for twice as much and do that every year? You’d be much better off than holding onto a single project that will ultimately eat you up inside every time you see it.

This way of building an emergency saving is beneficial to those who understand what they ought to have at a particular time. A stroll in the house can tell you what you need and what you don’t from this end then you are able to see what to do. You can opt to sell off what you don’t need and channel the cash towards savings. Just have what you truly need in the house, the extras can be sold and saved for emergencies.

Be a negotiator.

Once in a while, you may have to negotiate your bills with your service providers. Always talk out how much you are willing to spend with a key eye on savings after purchase. This is a better way of ensuring that you save the little you have towards emergencies. Some service providers let you negotiate range from cable and internet providers to your landlord, to say the least.

I worked for an Alarm company in my early college years. We did the installation and then we would sell the contracts to a monitoring company. The monthly rates for that initial contract were high, around $25-$40 a month. That was because it would include the salesman, technician install and equipment. But after the contract was up, if nothing was changing, then the monitoring company would be ready to negotiate new terms. If the customer didn’t want new equipment or change anything to the plan then they would typically drop their monthly rate to a low amount around $10-$20 a month.

Also, being a landlord I’ve come to negotiate with my tenants before especially as it’s time for them to sign a new contract extension. Typically, I would allow the same rental rate (or only slight increase) for an extended 2-year contract then I would for a shorter term contract.

Make sure when you negotiate you provide options for what you want and what you’re willing to negotiate. If you ask your landlord for something, be ready to provide something else (money, service, extension) back on the table so there is something to negotiate with, it’s no fun trying to force demands that can’t be managed and adjusted.

Hide Money From Yourself

This one is the best ways to save. Out of sight, out of mind is an adage that well explains what should be done here. You are likely not to spend what you don’t have. Ensuring that you have a creative saving plan is a good way of ensuring you save the little you have by denying yourself the luxury of having tons of bucks at your disposal. You subtract a certain figure and spend the rest keeping in mind that you don’t have what is already subtracted. That way you are able to save up for any emergencies.

You can do this by creating an automatic savings plan that will pull money out of your account when you get paid with each paycheck, you’ll rarely know it’s missing.  Typically we believe that if there is money in the checking account at the end of the month then we need to spend it on something,  let that something be a savings account.

Especially when you get an extra windfall (bonus, dividend, rental income, proceeds from sales), they should NEVER touch your main checking account. Decide how you will split up that money ahead of time. Something like 50% towards any debt and 40% towards savings and 10% to spend. Pick numbers that work best for you and adjust them as needed, but this windfall was never planned on and should be dealt with as a special category.

 

Conclusion

All said and done, it is important to always ensure that you can make some extra income from a different source which is not your day job. Freelancing and hustling is a great way of ensuring that you are able to build saving faster in case of any emergencies. Hustling ensures that you have enough to save in a quick and impressive way. Or you could use your new special distribution ratio from above to split up your new incoming money as if it were a consistent windfall.

We should all ensure that we save a little towards emergencies. Emergencies are uncalled-for and no one knows when a calamity will knock at your door or how long it is going to stay. Let us all find ways to build up our emergency saving plan.

What are some other ways that have work for you to build your savings?

 

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6 Comments

  1. Over the years, I’ve gotten really bad with my methods for “purging” the house. I use to sell stuff, and somehow got into the habit of donating it all. I wasn’t finding the time to sell items, and I just got lazy to be honest. Last month I had a pile of donation items piling up by the back door, and I forced myself to take some pictures and try to sell at least a few items online. I ended up selling $175 in two days! This money went into our emergency/vacation fund for this summer, and quickly reminded me to look through my things before I just give them away. Yes, it takes some time to post them (I used Facebook to sell them), but it was worth the 30 minutes of effort!

    As for your other 6 ideas, I use them all, and they ARE great and easy ways to build an emergency fund. 

    • Oh yes.  I usually always try to sell first and drop the price once and if it still doesn’t sell then I’d donate it (or list is for free).  It’s amazing how quickly some people will come if you list items for free.  I had listed 1 item for free that I couldn’t sell and had some many responses of people offering to pay for it that I was able to pocket $100.  

  2. That’s an awesome post on savings. You have provided great ideas. The fact is, savings come into play when you have extra money to save it. So for me, it’s always about “How to earn more!” instead of saving more. But, of course, saving is crucial for everyone. I’m glad that I get to read your post for better understanding. 

    I’m taking the printout of this post for further reference. Thanks a lot for sharing this useful post. I’ll get back to you, when I get stuck or in case I need more information.

    • Sounds good.  More income is always helpful, but you always need to keep yourself in check.  Too many have high incomes and say they are broke because they don’t have enough saved up.  They feel they should spend what they earn.  So it’s always good to manage your finances.  Start minimizing your expenses and saving and then increase your income so it can multiply based on your current management system.  

  3. Hi there. I am the worlds worst at saving money or putting some money away for a rainy day. I was hoping to find some tips on saving money for an emergency as I have tried almost everything to stop me dipping into the cash pot and always end up spending it on something else that I need.

    One thing you write about here though is to negotiate with our service providers and that is something that I hadn’t thought about. I always thought that staying with them long term would work out cheaper but thinking about it I haven’t seen any reduction in my sky bill in a few years and I always see the advertisements about new customers getting this and that if they join sky.

    Maybe its time to talk to them to see if I can get a bit of a discount for being with them for so long and hopefully get spare money every month which I can put towards that emergency saving fund that I have always tried to have.

    Do you know if most service providers would be up for negotiation? 

    • Negotiations are always tricky.  It used to be that everyone would try to get you a better rate if you even mentioned canceling your service with them.  But now they feel they can get new customers easier with online advertising and that’s why they entice the new customers and believe they will only see the new intro rates and forget that the price will go up a year later.  

      Nowadays you usually need to talk to a manager or higher and see if they will price-match or provide a discount.  To find out if your provider may negotiate, you could check forums or facebook of the company and see if others had any luck negotiating a better rate.  Or you could contact them directly and mention you’re considering canceling and want to know if there are other options.  

      Usually, they will at least upgrade your service or throw in a better deal for a long-term extension, but even if you don’t move forward with them.  What’s the worst that could happen?  I’ve never heard of any company ‘raising rates’ because you called and asked, so go for it.  

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