One day in March millions of people found themselves out of work with no paycheck coming in.
The Covid crisis hit everyone at the same time and it convinced many to start an emergency savings fund.
If you look up the subject, you see a daunting suggestion: Save 6 months of your expenses. Or a year. It sounds unlikely, if not impossible.
But even one month of expenses, or two, could have saved most people a lot of trouble. Thinking about it that way may seem more doable.
Money experts say to be successful you have to:
- Make your savings automatic.
- Put them in a high-interest savings account.
- Put a manageable amount of money in and keep putting it in.
Yet, to make savings stick in place, you have to define what is and what is not an emergency. Loss of paycheck, for whatever reason, is one emergency. On the other hand, suddenly remembering your car insurance is due is not an emergency.
Before you start your emergency fund, look over your checking account and write down those many chunks of money you have to come up with quarterly or bi-annually: Insurance of all sorts, vacation money, school fees, and the like. Those are not emergencies. They are recurring expenses.
Consider starting two funds. One fund in a savings account at your bank for recurring expenses. One fund in an online, high-interest savings account for long-term emergencies.
At just $10 per week, you can save more than $500 in a year. That gets your fund started.
With another $10 a week, you give your recurring expenses a boost, too.
Any time you get an unexpected chunk of money, put 20 percent in savings. Resolve not to let wants interfere with what you need.