Q: The last few months have been rough on my finances and I’ve used my savings to get by. My emergency fund and savings accounts have dropped to zero. With my financial situation improving, though, I’d like to start building these up again. Where do I begin?
A: Using emergency funds to survive prolonged unemployment, an unexpected large expense or a medical emergency is the best way to make it through a financial hardship. If your savings are depleted, though, it’s best to start rebuilding as soon as possible.
Set a goal
Before getting started on saving up money, establish a tangible goal. You can try to recover the value of the savings lost, or start smaller, with a more attainable goal. Bear in mind that experts recommend having funds to cover three to six months’ worth of living expenses set aside in an emergency fund or savings account.
Trim your spending
A good place to start finding extra dollars for saving is by reviewing your spending for ways to cut back. Look for expenses that can make a difference in a monthly budget without dramatically affecting quality of life.
Find a side hustle
A great way to land extra funds is to find a side job that doesn’t require a major investment of time. Some options include taking surveys on sites like Swagbucks and doing gig work for companies like Uber and Rover.
Sell your old treasures
Turn forgotten treasures into moneymakers by selling them online. You can sell old clothing on ThredUp, unwanted jewelry on Worthy.com and unused sports equipment on Swap Me Sports. Use the cash earned from these sales to jumpstart your new nest egg.
Make a plan
Once you have a goal in place and you’ve maximized monthly contributions toward savings, it’s time to create a plan. Map out a timeline of how long it’ll take to reach your goal when putting away as much as possible each month. Remember: The more aggressively you save now, the sooner you’ll reach your goal.
The best way to ensure that putting money into savings each month actually happens is to make it automatic. You can set up an automatic monthly transfer from your MECU Checking Account to your MECU Savings Account on a designated day of the month. Give us a call at to discuss your options.
Put unexpected windfalls in savings
To speed up the process of rebuilding depleted savings, you may want to resolve to put unexpected windfalls into an emergency fund or savings account. This can include tax refunds, a work bonus and gift money.
Rebuilding depleted savings isn’t easy, but the security of having a safety cushion to get you through a financial setback will make it well worth the effort.