By Wanda Marie Thibodeaux
Rainy day funds are intended to cover expenses you have when you need extra cash but haven’t reached the point of a true financial emergency (for example, job loss). You can build this type of fund even when money is tight. In fact, these strategies can yield hundreds or even thousands of dollars to tuck away.
1) Do without your work raise or bonus.
Just because you get a raise or bonus at work doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend it or start living more lavishly. As long as you have something left after adjusting for inflation, take the extra pay and put it in a separate account.
2) Redirect paid-off debt allotments.
Any time you pay off a debt, don’t readjust your budget. Simply take the amount you were paying every month and throw it into your rainy day account. Alternately, put only half what you were paying toward your rainy day fund and direct the rest at remaining debt. You’ll pay those debts off faster, thereby saving even more money in interest.
3) Protect unexpected refunds or other income payments.
Unexpected refunds can come from the Internal Revenue Service, accidentally overpaying a provider or even product recalls. You also can receive other income payments in the form of inheritance, stock sale, monetary gifts or assets you sell. You don’t normally plan for or include these funds in your budget anyway, so set them aside.
4) Keep the change.
You might not use cash a lot, given how dominant credit and debit cards have become, but bills and coins still are useful for certain situations. When you do use cash, throw up to $5 of what’s left into a jar, box, or other container that’s easy to access in your home. When the container is full, take it to the bank and make a deposit. It adds up faster than you might think!
5) Compete with your receipts.
You can save money at your favorite Sun City, AZ or other stores by buying items on sale and/or using coupons. If you look at your receipts, they’ll likely tell you how much you saved. Take that amount and challenge yourself to deposit it into the rainy day account. This strategy works well if you previously have foregone sales and coupons on a regular basis and, therefore, are used to paying full price for most purchases.
Putting money aside for a rainy day is one of the best investment strategies for retirement or general financial security regardless of what your income level might be. It’s tricky, however, to figure out where the rainy day money might come from. Implementing even one of these methods can result in substantial savings you can use to start your rainy day fund and keep it going.