Saving for an emergency fund is more than just smart, it’s a valued tool for families who are mindful and intentional about their finances. If there’s one thing we can count on, it’s that the path ahead will include rainy days.
It’s not a question of if you need your emergency fund. It’s only a matter of when.
Wondering How Much Emergency Savings You Need?
Just like everything in financial planning, the best answers are customized to you and your circumstances. But there are certainly some universal tips that can guide you to saving enough in your emergency fund.
First things first - emergency funds are talked about in terms of monthly expenses. How much money do you need to pay your bills and feed and shelter yourself and your dependents each month?
STEP 1: Figure out your monthly expenses. In an emergency - how much money do you need each month to get by?
STEP 2: Determine if you need a 3-month or 6-month emergency fund.
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
Do you rent or own your home?
Are you married?
How many dependents do you have?
How fixed are your monthly expenses?
Do you have a safety net of people who could help you?
If you both work, have fairly stable incomes and few fixed expenses, you might be able to get away with a 3-month emergency savings.
The more fixed expenses, the more people you support and the more variable your income -- I highly recommend a 6-month emergency fund.
When you’ve saved a big enough emergency fund, unexpected expenses and other life-altering events are more manageable.
Struggling to Save Enough for Your Emergency Fund?
Figuring out how much to save is only half the battle. Next up - tackling the challenge of actually saving the money.
As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, I help families mindfully plan for their future. The best tips I’ve found for amassing enough for a rainy day are:
Find a system that works for you: you know your spending habits and how you work with your partner - don’t be bound by someone else’s system - find one that meets your needs.
Find a system that you can stick with: you’ll never get there if you can’t consistently follow your plan.
Try reverse budgeting: Start with your goal in mind and work backward to identify how you can build your savings.
Stay mindful: Only worry about the things in your control and don’t spend energy on playing the "what if” game on things you can’t change.
Avoid self sabotage: While piling up cash for an emergency fund, get real about what you need vs. what you want. Don’t confuse the two and you’ll have a better chance of success.
Applying mindful planning to your emergency fund savings takes the stress out of reaching your goal. When you can see your abundant future ahead of you each month you’ll love seeing the savings account number steadily rise.
If you still have questions about what you need in an emergency fund, I can help you find a number that works for you.