#freshstart2017: Build an Emergency Fund

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Whoa, wait -- didn't we just do this one? Kind of...but not really. Your mini-emergency fund is an essential part of your financial success, but not the most important. That smaller account will keep the boogeymen away, but your bigger, fully funded emergency fund will keep you out of seriously scary situations.


If you can't imagine a situation when you could possibly need many months of income, just take a trip to GoFundMe and see what most often puts people in a disadvantaged situation: Fires, accidents, and vet bills top the list. An unexpected job loss, a surprise pregnancy, or even a great opportunity that comes along with a drop in pay could all mean you need to rely on savings.

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You'll most often hear that you should have 3-6 months stashed away, which, I'm not gonna lie, is a LOT of money. To zero in on your goal amount, take a look at your budget. Trim whatever excess you could do without in an emergency, like a deluxe cable package, dinners out, or personal training sessions. Get yourself down to the bare minimum lifestyle: Housing, food, insurance, and absolute musts. Multiply that by 6 and that's your goal.


Commit yourself to putting a small amount aside each month until your goal is met. Just like your mini-emergency fund, you'll need this one close, but not too close. You may not reach your goal for a while, and that's ok! Something is better than nothing -- whatever you've been able to save will save you when you need it.