Life happens, and when you are working on getting out of debt, an emergency can derail your progress. That’s why before you even start knocking out that debt, you should have an emergency fund ready! Here is how I saved for my Starter Emergency Fund of $1,000.00.
Why you need an emergency fund
It’s no fun living paycheck to paycheck
Thinking about it makes me stressed out! When you’re waiting for that next paycheck to pay your bills, or buy your groceries, an emergency is not an option. Having a cushion helps you protect your hard-earned cash!
You can’t PLAN an emergency
But you can plan FOR it. You never know when an emergency is going to happen, but you can be sure that they will. Having an emergency fund is like having an umbrella. If it isn’t raining, no big deal. If it starts, you won’t get wet.
But isn’t that wasted money?
But shouldn’t I just put ALL extra money to paying my bills and debts? The short answer, no. If you have an emergency you aren’t prepared for, it will make a big mess. Maybe because you had to buy a new car tire you end up being late on your credit card bill. Now you have a late fee, and a higher minimum payment next month!
So now what?
So you’re on board, great. You may be asking how do I begin? Well, let me tell you how I did it. First, decide on an amount. I went with $1,000. It’s high enough to cover most unexpected expenses, small enough that- with some hard work- it shouldn’t take you long to save it. So let’s get tracking! And if I need to track something, you know I’m printing up a chart!
Emergency Fund Tracker - Free Printable
Snowflakes Savings Challenge - Free Printable
5 Savings Fund Everyone Should Have
Get Help from this Starter Emergency Fund tracker
Simple, yet effective
This FREE Starter Emergency Fund chart comes in two different styles: original or outline (the outline version uses less ink). It helps you to know, at a glance, where you are on your journey.
Tips for success
How does the joke go? How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you save your starter emergency fund, one penny, one dollar at a time. Of course, it helps the chart is free, take that money and put it in your fund!
Make it a challenge. Set a goal for the money you’re NOT going to spend this week. What can you give up? Coffee, eating out, shopping? According to a recent study Americans can save almost $500 a year making coffee at home vs buying it. That’s half my fund right there and I didn’t even give anything up, I just changed how I got it! As you save, color in your lines!
Side jobs. I watched my friend’s kids and all the money she gave me went straight into the envelope for my emergency fund. Garage sales, if you don’t need it, or can live without it, put it up for sale! Now I didn’t sell much, because kids! But I do know people who sold EVERYTHING. They sold furniture. They went from two cars to one. They went crazy, but they also saved super fast, and were able to start paying off their debt that much faster. But this is your journey, what are you comfortable with? You can always start fast and slow down, or the opposite is true, too. You can always pick up speed! Just start moving!
When I started on my journey I was sure it would take me a year to just save $1,000, money was so tight. But it actually only took me about 2 ½ months. It was amazing how when I looked for extra money to put away, I found it. Not huge chunks, but it all adds up! Look at your budget, where can you pull some of your Starter Emergency Fund from? As you cut expenses you will be able to fill in your chart that much faster.
How to use the chart
The chart itself is easy to use: color in one line at a time. That’s it, each time you save, color in a line. There are 50 lines to color, so if you’re doing $1,000, then each line is worth $20. I like the outline style because there’s more to color. But the original style stands out more once you’re finished coloring it. Tape it up somewhere to keep you motivated, or put it in a special place to go to when you need encouragement.
As you plan your budget for the month, plan on saving for your emergency fund. You can color it every time you put money toward it, or maybe you want to wait for Friday! I couldn’t wait, if I added money to the envelope, I was coloring in a line. I love the flexibility of this chart to do what you need to do to stay motivated!
Your circumstances aren’t going to change until you do. You can’t just say “I need an Emergency Fund”, you actually have to plan for it. So get started! Get the chart, and get to saving. You can do it! And when that next emergency comes at you, you’ll find you can deal with it, and move on. No stress, no sleepless nights wondering where the money is coming from. Just open that umbrella and keep walking.
Please, download this FREE chart and let me know your experience below!