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An emergency fund is money set aside for unforeseen financial surprises. We all face them at some point or another — car troubles, unexpected vet visits, emergency home repairs, job loss, etc.

If you plan ahead and save for life’s bad breaks before they happen, these bad breaks are no longer debilitating, stress-inducing crises. They’re minor inconveniences.

Use our emergency fund calculator to help you figure out how much you should set aside for a rainy day.

How Much Should I Save?

Expert Recommendations vs. Reality

Many personal finance experts recommend saving 3-6 months worth of living expenses for your emergency fund. We share the same view, but we also recognize that for a lot of people, saving that much money can seem out of reach.

If saving 3 months of living expenses sounds impossible right now, set a smaller savings goal.

Make a goal to save $200.

Then, work on getting it up to $500. And keep slowly adding to it from there.

TL;DR: Don’t not start saving because you think you’ll never have enough anyway. Start small and make consistent progress.

Where to Keep Your Emergency Fund

Wherever you decide to emergency savings, keep these two things in mind:

  1. You need to be able to access the money quickly
  2. You don’t want to be tempted to spend the money on non-emergencies

A savings account is the best place to store this money, because it meets both of the above requirements. You can quickly access the money if you need it, but it’s kept separate from your normal everyday checking account.

A high-yield online savings account can also help you grow your balance faster by offering a higher-than-average interest rate.

Author

Our mission at DollarSprout is simple: we want everyone to worry less about money and spend more time on the things that truly matter in life. By bringing you our latest ideas on how to make money, save money, and make smarter financial choices, we are doing our small part to help.