Let’s be honest, adulting comes with the unexpected, especially when it comes to expenses. Unexpected break ups, job layoffs, car and home repairs. But that’s what majority of becoming an adult is all about — preparing for life’s unexpected expenses being thrown at you. This is where having an emergency or rainy day fund comes into play.
You might ask, “Isn’t that what a savings account is for?” No, and here’s the difference: Savings account is when you’re saving money for planned expenses or a specific goal. It can be planning for your next vacation, saving for a new car or even getting a pet. At the end of the day, you planned for that specific expense.
A rainy day fund is having extra fund for the unexpected expenses, like those mentioned above. According to Business Insider, you should have 3 to 6 months income saved in your rainy day fund. Now that you know the difference, do you have a rainy day fund?
In a 2017 Bankrate's survey, 41 percent of Americans turn to their savings for unexpected costs.
Below, we give you a few steps on how to make sure you’re padding your financial cushion.
1. Create a (realistic) budget
Knowing and understanding the why behind your budget not only gives you a clear vision but also motivates you to reach your goals faster and more effectively, without the setbacks. Above all, you want to make sure that your goals are also realistic. If you aim to save $500 over the span of 3 months, divide $500 by 9 weeks and you will have to save $55 per week to reach your goal. If that’s too much for you, adjust accordingly. You want to make sure that this new goal of yours doesn’t make you become negligent of your bills or other financial goals.
2. Cut the extra spending
Instead of drinking with your friends on a weekly basis, how about cutting it down to once or twice a month? Spending $10-$20 on lunch every day? Here’s a solution: Start meal prepping. If you multiply the cost of your $15 lunch times five days a week that equals to $75 a week. Multiply that by four weeks for the month, you’ll be spending $300 a month on lunch. Simply put: find the areas in your where you can cut the spending. Instead of driving to work, see if you can carpool with a colleague, friend or take public transportation to save costs on gas. Do you really need three versions of TV streaming services? If not, cut it down to one.
3. Use an account that isn’t easily accessible
Now that you’ve seen where all your money has gone, it’s time to do your homework. It’s one thing to decide where and what kind of account you’re opening for your rainy day fund, but it’s also vital for your account to not be as easily accessible as the others. You want to make it difficult for you to withdraw money from your account. Because of how difficult it is to access it, it’ll determine whether the situation is an actual emergency. An example: make sure your account doesn’t come with a card to make withdrawals. Can’t decide if your situation is an emergency? Read Every Dollar’s article to see if this expense is worth the trouble.
4. Automate everything
Once you’ve assessed the expenses that need to be cut and what kind of account you want to open, it’s important to set it and forget it when it comes to your finances. Start deciding how much you want to automate per week or even per month. Automating your rainy day amount helps you save without you even noticing it.
5. Pick up a side hustle
Got some God-given talents that you’re not putting to use? Maybe you’re a great personal assistant, or can do a kick-ass graphic using Canva. Websites like Fiverr and Task Rabbit can help you monetize your skills on your spare time to reach your rainy-day-fund goals faster. If you have a free room that you’re looking to rent for a short period of time, check out Airbnb.