By Amy Meo Oviedo
People often feel that it isimpossible to save money. It takes a personal commitment, and some smartsavings tips, to get past the burden of this mentality. If we can acknowledgetogether that an emergency, like a job loss or salary cut, does not typicallygive advance notice, than we can also agree it is wise to prepare ahead just incase. Events may suddenly alter your financial security, which would requirethe immediate need for cash reserves, and are much more difficult to cope withwhen caught without the back-up plan of your emergency fund.
We are not left entirelyhelpless if we take creative action steps and use resources to increase oursavings and build our emergency fund. My perspective is that each householdshould minimally have cash reserves in an amount at least equal to six months’worth of monthly budgeted expenses. To create this emergency fund, focus on maximizingyour income while minimizing your spending. The gap between the two is whereyou will find your savings money.
Spending less is vital toramping up your savings. For example, children typically grow through multiplewardrobes annually. In many communities, you can find a resale store forclothing where you can bring in your children’s outgrown clothing to trade infor store credit, which usually yields a higher value for you than cash back. Thiscredit can then be used to buy clothes that will fit your child today. Adultscan also find similar options through consignment shops or by donating to acharity like Goodwill and buying replacement clothing, if needed, from the samecharity (this may offer tax savings benefits). Additionally, many quick fixeslike drive thru or take-out food appear to cost less, but actually these quickpenny drops can rob hundreds of dollars from your emergency fund.
Now that you have found afew ways to spend less and save more, consider utilizing your local community bankor credit union for your emergency fund savings account. Do not use the samebank as your primary checking account and do not accept bank card access forthis account. You can even consider requesting a split direct deposit form, ifavailable, from your employer to automatically deposit part of your paycheckdirectly to your emergency fund savings account. What a relief it will be toknow the money is there when you really need it.
Amy M. Oviedo, a financial planner with LincolnFinancial Advisors Corp. at 4000 Legato Road, Ste. 1100 in Fairfax, VA, isavailable for individual and business-owner financial planning, group financialacumen training sessions and motivational public [email protected] / 703-897-7638. CRN201201-2062850