An emergency fund is one of the most crucial tools you can have at your disposal. This stash of cash is a financial catch-all for unexpected emergencies, and it boosts your budget when your paycheck falls short.
Conventional wisdom says to save up to three to six months’ worth of living expenses in this fund. A substantial balance like this can help you cover a variety of little bills or one big one that comes out of the blue.
While anyone can stand to benefit from having an emergency fund of this size, you may want to beef up this savings account in special circumstances. Here are four of them below:
1. You Want to Pay off Loans
If you don’t have savings, working with direct lenders for installment loans may be a way to get a handle on your expenses. They help you tackle unexpected emergency expenses that arrive before you can build up an emergency fund.
An installment loan acts as a substitute for savings when things go wrong, but they don’t replace the need for an emergency fund entirely. This mindset can help you attack debt more effectively. Once you start savings properly, you can turn an emergency fund before you take out another loan.
2. You Bought a House
Owning a home is a major achievement in life, and it’s a smart one, too. Once you get a foot on the property ladder, you’ll have equity, and your mortgage payments will likely be less than what you were paying in rent.
But there are hidden fees that can tie up your budget in other ways. As a homeowner, you’re financially responsible for keeping up with repairs and maintenance.
You can tap into an emergency fund any time you fall short of what you need to take on expected things like yearly furnace checkups and gutter cleanings to unforeseen plumbing emergencies and appliance breakdowns.
3. You Drive a Car
Your vehicle needs regular maintenance just like your home. It’s a good idea to build your budget around expected tune-ups and tire rotations. But sometimes, your vehicle will need work out of the blue whether you have the cash on hand or not.
An emergency fund helps you handle unexpected repairs that you can’t avoid, like when your tire blows or your car breaks down on the side of the highway. You can tap into these funds to cover auto bills that are hard to predict and cost more than your usual upkeep bills.
4. You Are a Freelancer
As a freelancer, your paychecks aren’t a guarantee. While you can hustle to ensure you have contracts lined up, your workload may vary depending on the season and, as many found out during the lockdown, the economy. It’s inevitable you’ll run into lean months from time to time.
An emergency fund can help you weather these weeks or months when you’re earning less. You can also tap into it when you’re facing more costs than usual, like when you need to replace broken equipment or pay a larger tax bill than you anticipated.
Start Building One Today
While not everyone reading this will be a freelancer or homeowner, most people will run into unexpected expenses that they didn’t budget for sooner or later. And that includes you.
So, sit down with your budget to learn what you need to do to build out your very own emergency fund. Remember the target of three to six months of living expenses, and adjust your contributions to meet your goal.