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Tips for Building an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund serves as a financial “safety net” so you aren’t forced to borrow money when unexpected expenses pop up.

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Ways to Save and Maintain Your Emergency Fund

Small changes can pay off big. Use these tips to get your emergency fund going:

  • Pay yourself first. Establish an allotment or bank transfer to set aside money each paycheck.
  • Consider selling unused household items online or through a garage sale.
  • Explore adding another source of income either with a second job (with command approval) or spouse employment.
  • Visit the IRS Withholding Estimator to see if you should adjust your withholding to get more money per paycheck.
  • Save a portion of your tax refund or bonus.
  • Explore the possibility of a one-month deferral on your auto loan payment. Ask your lender about fees or additional interest charges associated with a deferral.
  • Save $3 a day! Do this for a year and you will save over $1,000 in your emergency fund.
  • Go on a spending fast. Eliminate all impulse and nonessential purchases for a week, month, or until you hit your savings goal.
  • Immediately work to replenish your emergency fund if you need to draw from it to cover an unplanned expense.
  • Take advantage of military-specific savings opportunities like the Savings Deposit Program.