Financial Advice

Jump-Start Saving

Check out these ways to start an emergency fund—even when it seems like life is all emergency and no funds.

Published Mar 20, 2022 | Updated Apr 18, 2024

Setting aside extra money sounds great, but where does the extra money come from? There are always bills to cover, costs are going up, and time is tight. It can seem impossible to save up. If you feel this way, you’re not alone. Around half of Americans don’t have enough money on hand to cover a $400 emergency.

The truth is, saving may require you to adjust some of your habits. The first good habit to adopt is this promise to yourself: “I set aside some money each month or each paycheck.” Then back up that commitment with action. We suggest these painless ways to begin a cash-stashing routine.

    If you need more ideas to get you on the path to saving, talk to us.
  • Develop a detailed budget to determine how much you can save each month. Begin with whatever you can afford, even if it’s only a few dollars.
  • Set up a recurring transfer from your checking account to your savings account. Or work with your employer to send a portion of your paycheck directly to savings. What you don’t see you don’t miss.
  • Save all or a portion of any raise you receive.
  • Deposit bonuses, income tax refunds, and monetary gifts from birthdays, holidays, or other special occasions into savings.
  • Commit to buying only what you absolutely need, then put the difference into savings.
  • Save all your loose change. A quarter here and a dime there can add up.
  • If you are making monthly installment payments, for example to a car loan or credit card, keep paying that same amount to savings after the debt is paid off.
  • Save even if you have debt. You’ll have funds available for emergencies, kick the habit of borrowing, and establish a positive routine.

Once you start saving, don’t forget about it—monitor it. Watching your savings grow can give you peace of mind and motivation to save more. Don’t give up if you experience a setback—readjust your budget and try to make it up next month.