You may be thinking, why even have a rainy day fund?
Well, have you ever heard of Murphy’s Law? If you haven’t, it states: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Let’s face it, the more you are unprepared for something, the more likely, it seems, it is to happen. There’s always something. Maybe your car breaks down, maybe something needs fixing in your home, or maybe your kid gets injured. The more you are prepared for emergencies with a rainy day fund, the better off you are.
The recommended amount to have in your emergency fund is three to six months worth of expenses. Some experts are even saying 12 months, which I get, especially with what’s going on in our world right now. The more you have saved up the more wiggle room you have to get through these trying times.
My husband and I have six months of expenses saved up. But, it wasn’t always that way for us. We used to have zero saved. But, we started out with small goals. Our first goal was to just save a thousand dollars. Once we hit that first goal, we bumped it up a bit because we knew we ultimately wanted to have at least three months. Once we got to three months, we felt secure and reassured and we were comfortable for a bit. But eventually we decided to try saving up six months worth of expenses. I’m the type of person who wants to be extra prepared and have that extra safety net for our family.
Now, don’t get overwhelmed, it didn’t happen overnight. It took years and years of saving, but we started off small and so can you! Just think, have you ever heard the phrase: How do you eat an Elephant? One bite at a time. It’s the same thing with building up an emergency fund or rainy day fund.
Here are some ideas that you can incorporate right now into your day-to-day life to build up your rainy day fund:
Automatically take a portion off of each paycheck.
Have a specific amount of money automatically deducted from your pay and put into a savings account. Out of sight, out of mind. The key here is to make it automatic, so you don’t even have to think about it. That way, you aren’t tempted to touch it.
Keep the Change Saving Programs.
Many banks, like Bank of America have programs where, when you spend, they will round up to the nearest dollar and automatically put the remainder into a savings account. If your bank offers this type of program, enroll in it! It’s another thing you can do to save without even thinking about it. It might seem small, but over time you’ll start to see it grow.
Sometimes, you might be trying to change a habit. Maybe it’s a swear jar, but you can do this for any habit you or your kids might want to change. Whenever you do that thing, you add a specific amount of money to your jar. You can get the kids involved and they will really stay on top of you to let you know when you need to add money to the jar. It almost becomes like a game.
When eating out or buying a treat, put a certain amount aside.
So, every time you go out for ice cream, a coffee, or out to dinner, add a set or predetermined amount to that fund or money jar. Make sure to do it every time. If you have the money to go out for a treat, you have an extra dollar to put into your fund.
Take a portion of a bonus or refund check and put it aside.
I know a lot of people get so excited when they get their bonus or refund check. That’s fine, but before you spend it all, take a portion off the top and put it into your rainy day fund. You can still splurge or treat yourself, but be sure to save some, too.
Whatever you come up with to do to save for your rainy day fund, get the whole family involved. Write it out and make it a family affair. Include your kids and make it fun. Remember to be consistent. It might seem small at the start but over time things will add up. Be careful not to dip into your fund until there is an actual emergency (and buying a cute pair of shoes on sale is definitely not an emergency).