We've all heard it... keep three to six months living expenses saved up 'just in case'. This may seem like an impossible goal, but it really isn't. Using some simple strategies to save money can help you create an emergency fund for your family in case of unanticipated expenses or income loss. Here's how:
Those of us who have close knit families understand that love is the most important thing we can give one another. But, we are material creatures, and we do need to have certain material things in order to live comfortably. We can't survive without food, shelter, and clothing. Because of this, finding easy ways to save money so that we can spend or save it for those we love is important.
If you spend your money unwisely, and this keeps you from saving money for the future, you'll need to change your spending habits. To do this, you must first have a good understanding of money and how it works. Money cannot buy happiness, but you do need it to buy food, shelter, and clothing.
Food, shelter, and clothing. Those are the basics to think of when building your emergency fund. You want to build a basic budget taking your basic living expenses for one month such as groceries, mortgage or rent, insurance, gas for cars, etc. You'll need to build a savings cushion of three to six months of these costs. Don't forget about annual costs such as car registration. I take the total of the registrations for our cars, divide them by twelve months, and add this total to our monthly expenses.
With a savings cushion in mind, now instead of mindlessly buying things on a whim, you'll buy what you need, and shop for value. In fact, simply considering your purchases carefully is one of the very easy ways to save money. Consider how much money you'd save if you thought twice about each purchase, and were determined to make sacrifices in terms of material goods in order to achieve your monetary goals. While it may be difficult at first to adjust your lifestyle, this will pay off for you and your family in the long run.
Using strategies to save money doesn't mean you must pinch all your pennies. You should also work to build this emergency savings account in case you are surprised by unexpected expenses or sudden income loss. If you have a family, then you certainly understand that big expenses can come up just when you're least prepared for them.
Again, to gauge the size of the emergency fund that you should work toward saving, consider your monthly expenses. A good rule of thumb is to build up savings of about three to six months of monthly expenses. This usually means you'll have enough reserves to cover expenses should an unexpected event happen. Realize that this is a slow but steady process; don't expect to save this amount right away.
One of the best strategies to save money is to start with smaller goals in mind. For example, cut some non-necessary expenses, and save what you would have spent until you reach $1,000. Once you reach that goal, work toward your second thousand. Think about selling things too to build up your savings. Little by little, you'll reach your larger goal and amass enough emergency funding to meet your family's needs in case something unexpected should arise.