Okay, I am wanting to get serious about saving an emergency fund, and I am about to start a part time job.  I have three total income sources now.  My main job, child support, and now what I will bring home from the new part time gig.  My biggest issue is which one do I actually start my savings habit with?  I just want to start somewhere, and be committed to a goal maybe start with $250, and hopefully work my way up to $1,000.  If anyone has any ideas, or suggestions.  I would appreciate it.  Also, thinking of keeping my savings just in a local checking account in my hometown so if the car breaks down, etc.  I have the availability of the funds.  

 

Thank You!

 

Shelly

Original Post

I would personally recommend saving a percentage from each of your income sources. Doing this will help you develop an "all-around" habit of savings.

That way, if one income source ever dries up (of course we hope it doesn't) you won't simply stop saving because that was the income source you saved from.

Saving a percentage helps you to stay balanced. You can start with as little as 1% from each and build that until you are saving a significant amount on a monthly basis.

To jump-start your savings, take a set dollar amount from each income source. With your example given, you would then take $50 from each income source and then set a certain percentage to save from each every month.

You could save it all in one place, which as you mentioned would give you easy access but that might actually work against you. Because it might tempt you to spend the money when you don't really need to, and then you end up right back where you started with nothing in savings

What might be a good idea would be to save it in 3 separate places. Doing this, you would still have easy access to some of the cash but because a portion of it won't be as easy to access, you might be less tempted to spend it.

It is also cool to watch your money grow in several accounts over time because, although it is the same amount, it feels like more when you spread it out.

I personally probably take this a little to the extreme with multiple savings accounts, investment accounts and even a physical stash of nickels, but like I said, it is really cool to watch each savings pile grow over time.

These are just my personal thoughts but hopefully it has given you a few helpful ideas.

I appreciate your idea Moore Income!  I thought about following the Dave Ramsey steps as well, but I truly do not have a ton of debt one credit card, and just my vehicle.  My ultimate goal is to save for my own home because I am tired of paying rent, and it isn't truly my own.  I may just put your idea into practice.  Makes it easier, and not so overwhelming.   Thanks again!

 

Shelly

Hi Shelly! 

Great job identifying a goal and trying to create an action plan on how to achieve it. I like the little steps of starting by getting to $250 and then building to $1,000. I would argue that an emergency fund is the start of one's financial foundation and is an important first step to less stress. 

I would encourage several actions steps:

1 - Commit some time to understand your budget. What is coming in and what is going out. What good does it do if you put money into the emergency fund but it has to be pulled right back out for groceries by the end of the month? Even just starting to understand what expenses you have will be helpful! Then work up to building a budget and trying to follow it. Mint.com can be a good option if you like online tools. 

2 - Open a separate account for your emergency fund outside of your normal checking account. The checking account should be for your bills and day to day purchase. I would encourage you to use an online high yield savings account. First, this gets the emergency fund away from your other accounts so it feels like it is not even there. From a financial behavior standpoint, this can be a big win if you not thinking, "oh I got this extra $1,000 so it is alright to spend" because you see it all the time. Second, you can get a significantly better rate than most local banks. Not a huge amount but getting over 2% versus .25% or less is still a win in my book.   

3 - Set rules on what is and is not an emergency. An unexpected vehicle repair, medical bill, important bills. From financial behaviorial mindset, this is very important to do to help commit to this goal. 

Later Goal: 

1 - Open a second savings account. The reality is that auto maintenance, holidays gifts, and vacations are known expenses that you can save for in advance. I suggest using a second savings account to save a little each month to get ahead of these expenses. I like to call this my "Fun account" so I don't feel guilty when I go spend money!

I hope this is helpful! This is all about you improving a skill. It takes discipline but you can and will learn it!

 

Best,

James 

James,

Thank you very much for the input, and advice.  I like the idea of a second savings account, and I am right on target with having an online savings account.  I have an account with Aspiration that does offer a higher interest percentage so planning on storing my emergency savings in it.  Discipline is key here for sure, and I will be proud just when I have that first $250, then $500, so on and so on.  

 

Thanks again!

 

Shelly

Hi Shelly, 

I hope my input was helpful! Keep in mind, if a true emergency comes up that requires you to use the funds while you are trying to reach this goal do not get down on yourself. This is why you are saving for those important times so you don't go into debt at high-interest rates. Sending you good wishes. 

Best,

James 

Hi Shelly, an online savings account like you started with Aspiration is a good choice for your short-term, immediate savings goal of $1,000. I would not put my need-to-get-to quickly, just-in-case savings into any investment account. An investment account is subject to wins and losses (stock market). That's fine once you've reached your immediate, short-term savings goal that you feel comfortable with.

Well, everyone the whole need for an emergency fund came to light. They deleted my position at my main job, but fortunately I was able to gain new employment as a server for the time being. It's back to basics this month to see how paying my bills with tips will work. I know it is acheivable. Then I can get back to my savings goal, and maybe I can still contribute this month. I will get paid for built up vacation from previous job so hoping to save it.  Thank you for all your advice.

@ShellyW Sorry to hear about your situation. I don't know how I would react if I were in your shoes.

Sounds like you are definitely putting in a lot of effort to make things work. I wish you the best and I know with your drive, you will get through it and come out stronger.

Don't hesitate to reach out for any advice and keep us posted.

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