3. A Few Ways to Save Now

Right now, you might think you don’t have extra cash to put towards building an emergency fund, but you can gradually reach your goal with some intentional saving and a little creativity.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Start saving a small amount and build momentum. Pick an achievable money goal and grow it from there. Maybe it’s just saving $50 a month or 5% of your paycheck. As you get used to saving that amount, consider increasing it over time. Setting up a recurring transfer from your checking to your emergency fund savings account can help make sure you’re not neglecting that emergency fund.
  • Sell something. This seems obvious, but a great way to free up some cash is to sell something you don’t need anymore. Have some extra furniture you don’t need it. Sell it on eBay. Have a designer bag that was an impulse buy and you never wear. TheRealReal is a great place to sell it.
  • Research where you can get money back. Is there a subscription you don’t need anymore, or could you cook one more day a week and eat out less? Divert that cash into your emergency fund. Think creatively: do you really need that Netflix subscription?
  • Stash away any windfall money. Get an annual work bonus, tax refund or even inheritance? Deposit some (or better yet, all!) of that bonus money into your emergency fund.

4. Check On Your Emergency Fund As Needed

Once you have a system in place for saving, remember to review your emergency fund regularly. What we mean by this is: check your plan from time to time. See what elements of your strategy are working and what elements aren’t working and where you’re willing to do even more.
Motivate yourself by tracking your progress toward your goal number. You may need to adjust your goal dollar amount if you get married, start a family,  or face some other increase in your expenses.
Finally, once you’ve reached your emergency fund goal, look ahead to what’s next. With a solid buffer in place, you’re in a better position to pay off debt faster, put more toward retirement, start saving for a home down payment or plan that vacation of your dreams. If (or rather, when) you do tap your emergency fund, remember to replenish it as quickly as you can to keep your safety net intact — that way you’ll be prepared for the next emergency that may come your way.