An emergency fund can provide peace of mind in case of a layoff or unexpected medical expense. Over the past few years, I’ve leveraged my emergency fund as F-You money. Having resigned from my job without a plan several times, it has taken the pressure off of having to find another job immediately.
How much should be saved up in an emergency fund?
The main benefit of having an emergency fund is that it allows a person to handle unexpected financial needs without taking on (more) debt.
Thus, many financial experts recommend at least 6-12 months of living expenses set aside in an emergency fund.
Personally, knowing my volatile professional choices, I like to be more conservative in padding my emergency fund.
Whenever I quit my job without another job lined up, I wanted to take time off to clear my head before jumping into the next job.
Since I needed time to figure out the next steps, I built an even longer runway. So I had over a year of living expenses saved up in my emergency fund.
I needed roughly $2000 each month to comfortably cover my mortgage, utility bills, gas, groceries, etc. I had about 15 months of emergency fund savings in the bank.
If worse came to worse, I planned to sell my condo, car, index funds and so forth. So far, I haven’t had to cross that bridge.
Everyone’s risk tolerance is different, so it’s up to you.
Either way, always plan for the worst case scenario. Trust me, I’ve experienced my worst case scenarios during one of my brief periods of unemployment.
This included a medical emergency while traveling overseas during my Eat, Pray and Love journey.
The anxiety over the hospital bill felt ten times worse than the physical pain I was in the hospital for. Sure, I had health insurance. But not overseas coverage.
Then a week after of returning home, I found out my father was in a car accident. I found myself flying across the country to be with him in ICU. He’s ok now but let me tell you, last minute direct flights are expensive!
Fortunately, I did not deplete my emergency fund before I was able to lock down a Plan B. However, the lesson learned was priceless.
Planning for the worst case scenario can offer some peace of mind during crises!
Having a back-up plan should everything go unexpected is critical. My back-up plan was to sell my condo, car, then my stock investments before I needed to sleep on a friend’s couch.
Unemployment for over a year? Large unexpected medical bill? Last minute flight purchases for emergencies?
Whatever that worst case situation may be for you, be sure to factor it in your emergency fund. Here are my recommended financial tools that can help you plan for the worst case scenario.
How did I build my emergency fund in 6 months?
I didn’t bother with small savings.
When it comes to saving towards a big goal, saving on the small stuff isn’t going to get you there soon enough. That’s why I don’t bring up cutting coupons, bringing lunch into work, or cutting down on your Starbucks coffee on this website.
So where can you save bigger? Take an inventory of your monthly subscriptions. Are there subscriptions that fall under your “needs” or “wants” category? Can you cut back on eating out, happy hour, or car insurance?
I increased my tax refund.
One of the most overlooked areas when it comes to saving big is taxes. As a law abiding US citizen, I pay my taxes each year. But it doesn’t mean I enjoy it.
So I make an effort to see where I can increase my tax refund (and lower my taxable income). This includes contributing to my retirement and a health savings account.
Are you getting the biggest tax refund possible each year? Here are 5 simple ways I increased my tax refund.
I created multiple income streams.
Ok so you’ve figured out ways to decrease money going out but how about increasing money coming in? If you don’t want to work 20 hours of overtime at your 9-5, explore ways you can make side income.
Can you sell items collecting dust in your closet? Have you diversified your assets so that you’re earning a higher rate of return than keeping all your money in a savings account?
Start a blog, rent out my car, I tried a lot of different side hustle gigs! Here are several ways I created multiple streams of income.
I created passive income.
Job searching takes time, especially if you don’t want a more fulfilling career than your last. Once I quit, I made it my full time job to figure out what it is I wanted.
I was able to clear my head and figure out my calling. It forced me to get my finances squared away for the next chapter of my life. I started creating passive income to speed up my path to financial freedom.
In addition, I started NotABondGirl.com to write about my journey to financial freedom. I enjoyed it so much that I realized I wanted to be my own boss one day. Soon enough, I was able to create passive income through affiliate marketing strategies.
I invested in myself.
It’s easy to have a Plan B but figuring out a solid Plan B takes time. It’s your next chapter in life! Though it doesn’t have to be permanent, having a solid Plan B can save you the time of repeating same mistakes.
Getting out of the rat race takes time. If you know in your heart of hearts that it’s time to move on from your current job, start the soul searching asap!
Before I quit, I was doing a lot of soul searching in order to be more intentional about my job searches. Otherwise, I would be aimlessly sending out online applications and wasting a lot of time.
Doing the soul searching is an ongoing process, even once you find that dream job. So start now! Need ideas? Not sure where to start? Here are my favorite work from home opportunities that I came across during job searching phase.
Need more support to increase your emergency fund savings? Then it’s time to get your financial ducks in a row!
Consider using a personal finance app to help manage your finances.
Personal Capital is a free financial tracker app that allow you to sync your financial accounts in one location. It's similar to Mint and easier to use!
No more sitting around. Take the first step to manage and grow your emergency fund today.
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Get FIRE’d up about financial freedom! There are a endless ways to create side hustle income and reach FIRE.
Investing in stocks, owning rental property, creating your own online biz, and so forth. But it doesn’t mean you need to do it all.
Just pick 1 or 2 that gets you excited.
Everyone's financial situation and personal interests is unique. It’s important to try out different side hustles to see what works best for you.
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