Some of us are creative thinkers, especially when it comes to making excuses about saving for our emergency fund. From the weak economy to the falling dollar to high gas prices, there are new ones every day. To break the trend of using our creativity to think of excuses, I challenged myself to instead think of some not so obvious ways to build an emergency fund. I actually had fun doing this exercise but what’s more important is for those struggling to build an emergency fund to try some of the tricks listed below. Here they are:
Treat the Emergency Fund like An Expense
This one might not be so creative, but why not add a twist to it by having your family member bill you for it? The plan actually works best if your kids collect the money because late payment is going to be painful. Trying this idea will also involve your children in a real world situation earlier in life while giving you a chance to teach them about financial matters. (Click here for 20 more personal finance tips to teach your kids.)
Pretend Everything Cost 10% More
If you automatically put 10% of the purchase price into the emergency fund every time you buy something, you will very quickly build a big emergency reserve. Doing this makes everything more expensive, so if you are disciplined enough to implement this, you may end up buying less too.
Alternatively, pretending our utility bill is double the cost will also work the same way. Be creative.
Save Every $5 Bill
I didn’t come up with this idea because a lady already managed to save a good amount of money doing this. I bet it was fun every time she received cash.
Pretend Gas is $5 a Gallon and Save the Difference
Gas is expensive but not many are driving less. Maybe you should try to pretend that each gallon actually costs $5 and save the difference. Do the calculation every time you fill up our cars and deposit the difference into your savings account.
Rewards from Credit Cards
If you use a credit card without a generous reward program, do yourself a favor and switch to one that does. Once you start receiving the rewards, transfer them directly into your emergency fund.
Sell Your Old Stuff
Everyone has stuff lying around the house that can be sold. Start selling them and put the profits into your emergency fund. (Maybe if you add a note that explains the reason for selling is to build an emergency fund, people will actually not haggle you as much on the price.)
Any Other Suggestions?
How do you save money for your emergency fund? Do you have a creative way to entice yourself to save? We’d love to learn from you so please share with us.