The term ‘rainy day’ is nothing new, but in an article by Forbes in January 2016, it was reported that 63% of Americans are unable to cover a $500 emergency expense. This means you can’t pay in cash. So how can we create a $500 to $1,000 Rainy Day Fund and join the 37% who have found the solution? Easy…We’re Going to Save.
What Is a Rainy Day Fund?
A rainy day fund is a small cash amount set aside for the purpose of handling unforeseen expenditures that come up. Everyone has a moment where the fridge needs a small repair, or the a/c goes out. It could be a car issue or something else. Don’t think major. Think minor but not in budget.
How Much Should Be in a Rainy Day Fund?
There is no set amount, but a guide could be to aim for $500 to $1,000. This account isn’t about loss of income. Many people create an Emergency Fund for that which covers up to six months of expenses. That type of account takes more time and is based off of monthly expenses like mortgage, rent, utilities, food, etc. The goal with a rainy day fund is not to use credit cards or loans to cover the expense.
Where to Store Your Rainy Day Fund
There are a couple options for storing your monies. You can leave it in a current account or open a new one. A checking or savings that gives interest is a good choice, because you can gain on top of what you’ve saved. If discipline is an issue, you could try putting it in a separate bank to decrease the temptation to bother it unless it’s time.
Simple Ways to Build a Rainy Day Fund
There is no one method to start building a rainy day fund. It can be daunting if you’ve never tried saving or have minimum disposable income. The following ideas are fun and simple. When we can break a thing down, it becomes a lot more doable.
$1 Per Day Will Bring Financial Peace Our Way
Whether you take spare change or a bill, set aside a place to put your dollar each day. It may help to do it at the same time. At the end of each week or month, deposit your savings. You could easily move money over to your savings and use the saved money as your daily spending cash. 365 Days = $365
Sales Tax: You Get Tax, I Get Tax
We pay a substantial amount of taxes to the Federal and State governments along with sales tax on various amounts. In 2017, the current NC sales tax was 4.75%. So, let’s say we get a $10 meal. The sales tax would be $.48 rounded. Our savings would get forty-eight cents.
This may seem a bit cumbersome, but you easily find the amount on your receipt and not have to calculate. For everything you pay for, give yourself the same in savings. This includes groceries, eating out, shopping, etc.
If you spend on average $300 in these areas a month, that’s $14.25 each month saved. 12 Months = $171
Keep It Simple Method
For some, remembering an amount daily or pulling out the sales tax may be a too tedious. You can keep your in case of emergency account simple by deciding on a small amount each pay period. If you took an amount such as $10 each week, you’d exceed the $500 that most people don’t have.
Double Down: STEPS = CENTS IN or CALORIES OUT = CENTS IN
Do you have a fitness tracker, count calories, etc.? This one could be a double benefit for you. Because the deposit amount could be high based on your health goals, you’re going to use a monthly average.
Let’s say you average 5,000 steps a day. Put in a penny for your monthly average. Your deposit on this amount would be $50. 12 Months = $600
This one will take self-control, but it requires less attention. $125 per quarter will get you to the same $500. You could liven it up by going with the seasons if you’re blessed to be in an area where you get all four.
In December of each year, look at what you’ve saved on average per month, and increase that in some way. If you’ve saved $100 for example on average per month and decided to double that, the added amount would be $200.
You’d be well over the recommended fund amount.
Rainy Day Fund Calculators
If none of these suggestions work, you can come up with your own. Banks and other financial institutions offer free calculators. Check these out…
A TRUE EMERGENCY FUND
The key is to remember this account is for emergencies ONLY! Set your mind and then follow it with action. Proverbs 6:6-8 talks about how the ant, with no one micromanaging them, puts away in the summer for the winter.
This is exactly what we do when creating our rainy-day fund. We put it away understanding it’s for a specific purpose and time.
With a little effort, you can begin a process that changes your entire relationship with managing money. You can join the ranks of the 37%! Bonus benefits include not having to stress or pull from other sources when these moments happen and being able to help others from your experience.