Jumpstart Your Emergency Savings

The following post comes from the Military Saves Blog. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

July 25, 2012
by Lila Quintiliani, AFC, Military Saves Assistant Coordinator

New research published by Bankrate.com last week showed that 58% of Americans don’t have three months of emergency savings while a full 28% of Americans have no savings whatsoever.  When times are tough and it’s hard to make ends meet, it’s difficult to see the benefits of saving, but the truth is, an emergency fund can be your lifeline, and the only thing between you and financial ruin.  I have seen people go in to perpetual credit card debt because they suddenly had to buy a set of tires.

At Military Saves, our mantra is to Start Small, Think Big, and that’s exactly the way you can approach building up your emergency fund, even if you’re living paycheck to paycheck.

Here are some ways to jumpstart your savings:

Find some extra cash. You may think that your bills take up your entire paycheck, but you probably have *something* you can cut back on to put some extra cash in your pocket.  Brew coffee at home instead of buying it on the way to work, pack your lunch instead of eating at the food court.  Check out a DVD at the library instead of buying it or renting it.  Get creative and find ways to cut back.  This past week, I changed our cable package to a lower tier of programming and saved us $20 per month.

 

Make some extra cash. If you absolutely can’t reduce your expenses, then you need to increase your income.  Sell unwanted items on Ebay or Craiglist to earn some extra dough.   And I’ve known several people (adults) who made some extra cash by mowing lawns.

 

Put extra debt repayments on hold. While reducing debt is a great goal to have, it is not wise to pay extra on your credit card bills at the expense of your emergency fund.   If you have no emergency fund, then you should consider paying just the minimum on your debts until you have an emergency savings account of $500- $1000.  Then you can start paying down your debt again.

Make it automatic. Once you’ve found that extra cash to save, stash it in a SEPARATE savings account rather than the usual account you use to pay bills.  Better yet, set up an automatic deposit to go into that savings account.  We have a portion of my husband’s pay go directly to our savings account via allotment each month.  If you can’t see it (or easily get at it!), you can’t spend it.

Additional articles to help you save:

Take the Pledge

Savers who make a plan are twice as likely to save successfully. 

Take the America Saves Pledge

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Administrator2 | January 7, 2014

    Second saving strategy: Save for emergencies http://ow.ly/sj3vP

Saver Tips and Stories View all »

Learning to Save

Written by Katie Bryan | October 28, 2013

Kisha Barns’s financial situation was undisciplined, unrestricted, and impulsive before she came into contact with her local America Saves campaign, Charlotte Saves.

Read more...

Transforming “I Can’t Save” to “I Will Save”

Written by Guest Blogger | January 13, 2016

You will not believe what it took to completely change my life. About three years ago, the HR Administrator of the corporation where I worked (as a temp with no benefits) forwarded an email to me. Fifteen seconds. One small act of kindness. That's it - that's all it took!

Read more...

Budget like Nohemi

Written by Guest Blogger | April 19, 2019

Nohemi found out about America Saves a few years ago as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She remembers attending a University of Illinois Saves event where she decorated a piggy bank and took the Pledge, but college life made her put the thought of saving at the back of her mind. Those thrifty thoughts resurfaced when she graduated with a degree in public health.

Read more...

Receive Updates

Take the Pledge

Written by Super User | September 16, 2013

Start Saving

Receive Texts

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | July 15, 2014

Learn More

Partner News & Updates

Written by Katie Bryan | October 18, 2013

Sign Up