Build up an emergency fund without feeling deprived
Closely review your monthly expenses, painlessly cut out what’s not necessary, then pay the savings to yourself so you have cash when you need it.
The things that make our homes wonderful places to live sometimes create our biggest headaches. An appliance breaks down. The roof leaks. A faucet won’t stop dripping. When these problems arise, it can create a budget headache, too. Smart homeowners set aside an emergency fund to cover such incidents. Even if you feel like you don’t have extra cash to set aside, here’s a two-step plan to save for emergency repairs without feeling deprived.
Step 1: Review your recurring expenses
An unused subscription may seem like an insignificant cost but when you multiply it by 12 months, it adds up! Take a look at the all the expenses you pay each month. Chances are many can be reduced or eliminated altogether. Here are seven areas to review:
- Cell phone and mobile device service — Wireless carriers don’t always promote their best deals to existing customers. Talk to your provider to see if they have a better deal on data and calling than the one you have. Consider switching providers for a better deal.
- All insurance (health, auto, renters, homeowners) — When it’s time to renew your policy, shop around. You could be pleasantly surprised with hundreds of dollars in savings. Also, consider a higher deductible for lower monthly payments. Our friends at Nulty Insurance offer discounts for Consumers members.
- Product subscription services — The cost of product subscriptions adds up. Does the value you get justify the monthly expense for that wine or coffee, or those beauty and shaving products? If not, cancel the subscription.
- Landlines and cable — If you live in a place with reliable cell service, determine if you really need a landline. And with TV and movie streaming, do you really need cable?
- Subscriptions— It’s easy to hit “renew” on subscriptions for software and magazines. The same goes for newspapers. If you can find free alternatives, cut off the cash flowing to these services.
- Memberships — Have you used that gym membership since you signed up in January? Are you paying dues to professional associations that you’re no longer involved in? Cancel memberships that you don’t use.
- Avoid annual fees on credit cards — Annual fees on many credit cards start at $35 and go up to almost $200. Switch to a card with no annual fees (like the cards from Consumers).
Step 2: Bank the savings
It’s not enough to cut or eliminate expenses. The money saved needs to be set aside in your emergency fund. Instead of paying service providers, pay yourself the amount you used to pay them. This is a simple way to save money without feeling deprived.
It’s fun to watch the balance grow larger each month! And, it’s comforting to know that when you need emergency repairs, you’ve got money on had to cover it without busting your budget.
If you find yourself without an emergency fund, or with a repair that requires more cash than you have on hand, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) is an option many Consumers members use. If you’d like to set up a savings account for emergency home repairs or apply for a HELOC, stop by one of our offices or call us at 800-991-2221.
Consumers helps more than 1,000 members finance land, homes and home improvement projects each year. When you need a mortgage or home equity line of credit, call us at 800-991-2221. We’re here to help you get the home of your dreams!