Building an Emergency Fund

Financial experts frequently advise people to set aside in an emergency fund enough money to pay for between six and nine months of living expenses.

Recent surveys show many Americans don't have an emergency fund of even $400. What if this is you and you're broke and in debt? What do you do then? Here are a few tips that may help:

Set a Low Bar (at first)

A goal of saving at least six months of living expenses is very commendable, but it may not be realistic for your financial situation. Try for a smaller goal, say $200. If you save as little as $20 a week, you'll have that $200 in 10 weeks. Once you reach that goal, set another incremental goal.

Finding the Money

You might say: "I don't have an extra $20 a week to save." Find a way. It could be as simple as not going to your favorite coffee shop for a week or making a list when you go shopping (studies have shown people spend less when they go into a store with a list). You could look at your monthly bills and see where you can trim.

Sock Away "Extra" Money

We all get unexpected revenue - a bonus, birthday money, or even a tax refund. Resist the urge to splurge. Put that money (or some of it) away in your emergency fund.

Make It Automatic

As your credit union, you can have us automatically put money from your checking account or paycheck directly into a savings account, which helps you to save. You can't spend what you don't see!