Saving money for something specific like a new car or Birthday presents for your kids is pretty easy to do because it's a specific goal. Saving money for emergency's can be a bit more difficult because most of us don't anticipate an emergency. Life is going great, you have a stable job, a reliable car, all of your necessities have been met. One guarantee in life is there are no such things as guarantees. What is great today could come unglued tomorrow. Being laid off, evicted, major car repairs, & medical expenses could leave you in a desperate situation.
Two words, Emergency Fund.
An emergency fund is money set aside for an emergency situation, such as unexpected unemployment, injury, or natural disaster. Emergency funds should be kept accessible, like in a savings account. Some experts suggest three months some experts suggest six months of living expenses. Either way, you can't save for six months of living expenses until you have managed to save three months of living expenses. So the sooner you start saving the quicker your emergency fund will grow.
There are ways to save money without feeling the pinch. First you have to take a look at your numbers, get pencil, paper and your calculator. Write down your monthly net income (after taxes) and in a second column tally up your expenses you currently have. Include mortgage/rent, car payments and auto insurance, health/dental insurance, cellular bill, utilities, estimated grocery and household supplies, fuel expenses, credit cards, and any other bills your family pays on a monthly basis. Your monthly income should be greater than the sum of your expenses in column two. Now you have the ability to see where you can cut costs. You probably can't change your mortgage or car payment, but you might qualify to refinance your mortgage and get a lower interest rate. Health and dental insurance policies can be checked for excessive coverage but are probably not where you'll find savings either.
Savings can be found easily by looking at the expenses you can control. Check your credit card statements for your interest rate, if it's high and your card(s) carry a balance you can call your creditors and request a card with a lower interest rate. If you're approved, transfer your debt to the new card and start paying down the balance. Cable is another area you can cut costs, paying for premium channels or leasing equipment from service providers adds up quickly. The mark up on food we buy from drive thru's and restaurants makes for a blown budget. Packed lunches and homemade meals is where you'll find the most money saved. Just by bringing your own drink (water, soda, tea, coffee) instead of buying one while on the road can save you 300$ or more dollars a year.
There are other options that can help you save money for an emergency fund. Selling unwanted items on eBay, yard sales, Amazon, & resale stores can bring in money. I have sold items using these outlets for years and it has made a big difference in my families bottom line.
Having an emergency fund will give you peace of mind and lessen stress and worry. You save what you can, when you can by looking at your spending habits and your earning history. It isn't about eliminating your basic needs but instead about building a stronger, more stable future.