Starting an Emergency Fund – Tips

Starting an emergency fund is on my to-do list. I am not talking about a savings account. I mean a separate fund for emergencies. You never know when something pricey can come up. The phrase, “When it rains, it pours” is frequently used for a reason.

When it rains, it pours

I am convinced that our appliances secretly communicate and conspire against us. It never fails that more than one will break at a time. This goes for vehicles, too. In the past few months, we have had to replace a hot water tank, fix our dryer, pay some hefty medical bills, and two out of our three vehicles have required some expensive maintenance. Oh, and my blender and mixer just broke while making Thanksgiving goodies. If we had an account strictly for an emergency fund in place, we could easily wipe it out.

I could go on and on about why an emergency account is important, but I don’t think that’s necessary. We all know how expenses like to pop up and push our bank accounts to their limits. Instead, I would like to share some tips on how to either start an emergency fund or help build it up.

Pink Piggy bank

Tips to Start an Emergency Fund

Save change – If you pay cash while shopping, always give a larger bill and save the change. You are never too old for a piggy bank. It’s easy to toss change into it without missing the money. It can add up quickly when you take that full piggy to the bank.

Clip coupons – When you clip coupons and save on groceries, actually save that money. Look at the bottom of your receipt and put that amount into your emergency fund. Sure, this takes discipline, but so does cutting coupons. Tip: Use the Acorns app to round-up spendings to save automatically. 

Shop banks – When it comes time to open your new emergency account, shop around. Look at Capital One 360’s Black Friday sale where you can take advantage of fee-free accounts, plus earn cash bonuses just for depositing. In addition to taking advantage of deals on banking, brokerage and mortgage products yourself, you can give your friends and family the gift of financial peace of mind by encouraging them to take advantage of the deals and refer them to the sale. If they sign up, you may be eligible for a $40 referral bonus.

Pay your bills on time – Yes, this is not always easy, but think of all the fees you avoid by paying your bills on time. Find a system that works for you. I know many people now use online bill-paying. Personally, I am still old school. I write checks to pay my bills and then place them into my daily planner as to when they need to be mailed. This also shows me the reality of my spending. I am never tricked into thinking there’s extra money in my checking account!

Hunt for deals – Between the internet and apps these days, finding deals is easier than ever. Always do your research before shopping. I save so much when shopping online by using coupon codes, cash back shopping, and combining the two. And it doesn’t take much time to do so!

Sell your stuff – Once again the internet is making it easier than ever to liquidate things you are no longer using. No need to have a labor-intensive garage sale when you can push a few buttons and sell online. If you aren’t comfortable with sites like, Amazon, eBay, or Craigslist, there are many Facebook groups where local people list items for sale or trade.

There are just a few tips that I plan on using to start and, hopefully, beef up an account for emergencies only. I want to try to make it a rule that we have to have a certain amount in the fund at all times. Whenever it dips down, we will have to really tighten up to replenish it. It’s all worth it to have #FinancialPeace!

Hurry and open a Capital One 360 account now to take advantage of the $100 bonus. That’s a good way to start the emergency fund off right!

Do you have an emergency fund? How about any additional tips to save money?

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35 Comments

  1. We keep $1000 in our emergency fund. We had to use it last month when expensive car repairs had to be completed — but without this cash, we would have needed to charge those expenses. It’s tough to get that much together but it’s such a blessing when you actually need it for a real emergency!

  2. I love saving my change and getting to turn it in. I wait until I fill up this container before I even think about cashing it in.

  3. I try to have an emergency fund at all times. Sadly, it seems to be harder and harder to maintain with big things needing to be covered.

  4. I do really need to look into Capital One–I have only heard great things about them! Thanks for sharing this. It gives me some perspective on needing to save more and spend less!

  5. We have a pretty decent emergency fund, so fingers crossed that we would be ok should anything happen.

  6. My husband and I have worked hard to have an emergency fund. With 3 kids, a home, and life in general, something is bound to come up.

  7. We do not have an emergency fund, but I need to start one. My husband just started working full time and we are going to be able to do this soon.

  8. I always make sure I have an emergency fund, because you just never know when you are going to need it. i have done all of the above hints, and it has really helped.

  9. Great tips, there’s lots of money just laying around most houses. We also like to reevaluate our expenses now and then to see where we can cut corners.

  10. It’s hard to save, especially in this day & age. However, that only makes saving even more important. Thanks for the tips.

  11. Great tips. I am horrible at saving and really need to get on the ball. Especially since we are slowly having issues with all of our kitchen appliances

  12. I do not have an emergency fund right now. I will definitely work on getting one in place. Thanks for the great information.

  13. Those are great tips to build up the emergency fund! We have one…and let me tell you…we are facing needing to use it, but I know how hard it was to build up so I really don’t want to use it. lol. Do we REALLY need a radiator in the van? lol. But seriously the emergency fund is saving us on that account.

  14. We do all of the above except the last one although hubby and I have been wanting to have a garage sale for the past 2 years. Just haven’t had the time to go through everything yet.

  15. Great tips. They say that you should always have 3-6 months of your salary saved in the bank for emergencies.

  16. These are all really great tips. It is important to have an emergency fund. I have one i have been working on building for a few years now.

  17. I totally agree about the appliances. They do work against you together! An emergency fund is totally a great idea.

  18. We try to budget as best as we can and put aside money for emergency! It’s hard but, not impossible.

  19. We recently started an emergency fund and hope to be able to add to it plenty starting in 2015. It feels good to have that since of security.

  20. These are such great tips, I really need to start saving for emergencies. Some day soon I HOPE! Right now, it’s so hard to save even though we make enough to save something. I usually just put away all change (except quarters) and change them in to put into savings whenever the can is full. That helps a little bit!

  21. I need to sell a TON of stuff out of my house! Would help with the finances and clean my house up too!

  22. All of your tips to start an Emergency Fund are great. Your right, when it rains, it does pour. I’m do need to start an Emergency Fund.

  23. I am amazed by how much money can be wasted by paying just a day late. I save over $40/month by paying bills all on time and online. For me that is a lot of money. Crazy.

    1. For sure!!! I try to avoid late fees as much as possible. If I accidentally get one, I call and ask to have it waived. They are usually good about waiving them if you don’t do it too often.

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