Personal Finance

Create a Financial Cushion with an Emergency Fund

As I move closer to my new rural lifestyle, I think about what the other requirements will be to make this transition.  Definitely a good solid financial base is one of those things.    So I am going to be working on several articles that dive into this area some to create more awareness and to align my financial goals with my lifestyle goals.

We all know about saving for a rainy day, but in today’s economy it seems like every day is a rainy day. Creating an emergency fund can dry up those rainy days and give us peace of mind for the future. Don’t walk around without your financial cushion.

What is an emergency fund? It is a sum of money that is set aside for the “what ifs” in life. Any one of us can have a misfortune befall us. Natural disasters put people in financial binds all the time. Accidents, job loss, death, divorce, and other situations can set us back quickly. Unless you are independently wealthy, your finances will take a hit.

Be prepared for the worst with an emergency fund. It does require sacrifice on our part to set up the fund. No one just has money lying around to put in a savings account so we have to create the opportunities.

The basis of the fund is to have at least three to six months of income set aside for those rainy days. If you and a spouse work then both incomes are included. But, for some, that is a large dollar amount. Let’s start with something a bit easier.

It can take a while to save that much money. Set smaller goals so that the larger one doesn’t seem so unreachable. Begin with saving a certain dollar amount from each paycheck.

For convenience, if you have direct deposit, modify it so that amount automatically transfers to your savings account. This keeps the money out of your hands where it may or may not make it to its predetermined destination. We all get a little weak in the knees when it comes to money.

Empty your pockets every night. This is more of a man thing to carry change in their pockets. Place those coins in a Mason jar or a piggy bank. At the end of each month or once the container is filled, go to one of those cash machines in the grocery store and tally it up. Add that money to your emergency fund. This is something everyone, even kids, can do to help out with the financial cushion.

Keep everyone accountable. Remind them of the peace of mind that comes with knowing you can handle financial emergencies when everyone pitches in to save money.

The hardest thing will be not disturbing the emergency fund. The sacrifices that you make will be in the form of incidentals that you don’t need to have. Examples of these things include, going to the movies, going out to dinner, buying new clothes or shoes unnecessarily and more. It also encourages us to find new ways to enjoy family time. Spending less time on the go will allow you to find activities your family can do together at home or that cost little or no money out and about.

What about your emergency fund? Have you started it? If not, throw a few pennies in a jar and begin today.


photo credit By EJP Photo

2 thoughts on “Create a Financial Cushion with an Emergency Fund

  1. I have a small emergency fund, but it isn’t equal to three to six months worth of income! That’s a great goal to work toward. I’m already keeping a coin jar and have some money in a savings account, with the goal of adding more monthly. I’m definitely on the road to savings, and am willing to do more.

    I wish you all the best in your intention of a rural lifestyle. I’ve been living in a cabin in the mountains for the last twelve years and don’t want to go back to the level of civilization I came from – the San Francisco Bay Area. Some days I daydream about moving to small towns, but never to big cities.

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