Cap’n Crunch Breakfast Cereal (4 Pack) solely $6.86 shipped!


Here’s a great stock up deal on Cap’n Crunch Breakfast Cereal!

Amazon has this Cap’n Crunch Breakfast Cereal, Original, 14oz Boxes (4 Pack) for just $6.86 shipped when you checkout through Subscribe & Save!

That’s just $1.71 per box shipped.

You can also get this Life Breakfast Cereal, Original, 13oz Boxes (3 Pack) for just $5.86 shipped when you checkout through Subscribe & Save!

Note: Once your order ships, you can go into your Amazon account and cancel your subscription if you don’t want recurring orders.

Thanks, Hip2Save!

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*HOT* Softsoap Moisturizing Liquid Hand Cleaning soap (6 pack) simply $3.56 shipped!


Stock up on Softsoap Moisturizing Liquid Hand Soap with this hot deal!

Softsoap Moisturizing Liquid Hand Soap

Running low on hand soap? Amazon has these Softsoap Moisturizing Liquid Hand Soap (6 pack) for just $3.56 shipped when you clip the $1.50 off e-coupon and checkout through Subscribe & Save!

That’s just $0.59 per bottle shipped which is a great deal.

Note: Once your order ships, you can go into your Amazon account and cancel your subscription if you don’t want recurring orders.

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Prime Day Offers Nonetheless Obtainable (That Anybody Can Get!)


It was a crazy two days of Prime Day Deals on Monday and Tuesday! But guess what? Many of them are still available (and don’t even require you to have a Prime membership!).

Prime Day Deals Still Available

Check out all of these Prime Day Deals still available that you don’t want to miss!

1. Get Healthy U TV Annual Premium Membership for $3 (Reg. $69!) — Unlimited Access to On-Demand Fitness Classes!

2. Craftsy Annual Premium Membership for just $2.49 (Reg. $80!) — Access to over 1500 crafting classes!

3. Screened-In Patio Furniture Set deal — We have this exact furniture set on our porch and we absolutely love it!

KiwiCo Boxes

4. KiwiCo Box for $9.95 shipped — This matches Black Friday pricing and rarely comes along. Our kids have loved KiwiCo for as long as I can remember!

5. Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara for $4.47 shipped — This mascara get 162,000 amazing reviews and our readers are obsessed with it! Go read the reviews!!

6. Finish All-in-1 Dishwasher Detergent (85 count) only $8.24 shipped — Such a great stock-up price!

7. Mini Vase Refrigerator Magnets Set for just $22.99 shipped — People LOVE these adorable magnet sets! And they make such unique gift ideas.

8. 10-foot Solar LED Lighted Patio Umbrella with Tilt Adjustment only $76.50 shipped (Reg. $130!) — These umbrellas are so perfect for backyard summer hangouts. And this one gets great reviews! Another reader favorite!

9. Sequence Board Game for $8.39 — This game is so much fun and this is a really great price on it!

10. Women’s Two-Piece Activewear Sets for just $14 + shipping — This is such an amazing price on these activewear sets!

BISSELL SpotBot Robotic Hands Free Portable Carpet Cleaner

11. BISSELL SpotBot Robotic Hands Free Portable Carpet Cleaner only $99 shipped (Reg. $150!) — I can’t believe this Prime Day Deal is still available!!

12. *HOT* Furbo Dog Camera for just $118 shipped — This pet camera is SO popular and it’s still at Prime Day pricing for all Amazon customers right now!

Two Bonus Deals:

Audible Discount: 53% Off First 4 Months — This one is only available for Prime members, but it’s a super HOT and very RARE discount on Audible! And they extended it beyond Prime Day through the end of June!! {Psst! You can grab a free trial of Prime to take advantage of this if you want!}

Free Kindle Unlimited Trial

FREE Two-Month Kindle Unlimited Trial — Right now, you can sign up to get a FREE two-month subscription to Kindle Unlimited! And the best part is that you can take advantage of this deal even if you’ve signed up in the past! This includes many of my favorite reads!

What was the BEST Prime Day Deal you got this year? We’d love to hear in the comments below!

Magnificence Manufacturers: $15.98 Liter Sale (Redken, Matrix Biolage, CHI, Paul Mitchell, and extra!)


Need to stock up on hair products? Check out this $15.98 Liter sale that Beauty Brands is currently offering!

Beauty Brands Sale

Right now, Beauty Brands is once again hosting their popular $15.98 Liter Sale! There are over 200 salon brands like Redkin, Matrix Biolage, CHI, Paul Mitchell and more included in this sale!

This is a great time to stock up on all your favorites.

Shipping is free on orders of $50 or more.

Valid for a limited time only.

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Why Are So Many Homebuyers Making 20% Down Funds in 2021?



If you’re hoping to buy a home in 2021 with a small down payment, prepare for a reality check.

One of the far-reaching consequences of the pandemic is that the 20% down payment is making a comeback.

Just to be clear: Lenders aren’t requiring you to put 20% down. Mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration, known as FHA loans, require just 3.5% down with a minimum 580 credit score. Veterans can still get a VA loan with no money down. Conventional loans, which aren’t backed by the government and have stricter credit requirements, still allow down payments as low as 3%.

Yet here’s what a typical down payment looks like in 2021:

  • 25% of residential sales were cash deals in April 2021, according to the National Association of Realtors.
  • Of the remaining three quarters of buyers who did finance a home, 50% made a down payment of at least 20%, the National Association of Realtors reports.
  • Just 29% of first-time homebuyers made a 20% down payment in April 2021. But first-time buyers are increasingly squeezed out of the market. The percentage of buyers who were purchasing a first home fell from 36% in April 2020 to 31% a year later.
  • The median down payment for September 2020 through February 2021 was 15.9%, according to Redfin data. That’s up from 15.3% for September 2019 through February 2020.

If the difference between a 15.9% down payment vs. a 15.3% down payment doesn’t sound like much, consider that the median sales price shot up by nearly 14% during the same period. For the homebuyer, those numbers translated to a down payment that’s more than $8,500 higher compared to one year earlier.

Why Down Payments Are Getting Bigger in 2021

Even before COVID-19, new home construction wasn’t keeping pace with population growth.

But the pandemic unleashed a flood of would-be buyers, many with the ability to work remotely for the first time, in suburban areas. Historically low interest rates have fueled demand. Wealthier buyers have sought second and third homes in record numbers.

But owners are often hesitant to put their homes on the market during uncertain times. Between March 2020 and March 2021, housing inventory shrunk by 30%, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University’s State of the Nation’s Housing 2021 report.

With supply and demand so out of whack, sellers are getting an average of five offers when they sell their homes. About 50% are going for over list price. Successful buyers are also sweetening the deal for sellers by throwing in extras, like paying for the seller’s closing costs or even their moving expenses.

But banks typically won’t allow you to finance a home for more than the appraised value minus your down payment. In a red hot market, appraised values are often lower than the list price. When this happens, buyers often have no other choice but to front the additional cash.

For example, suppose you’ve agreed to pay $300,000, but the appraiser concludes the home is only worth $250,000. You’d have to come up with $50,000 cash to cover the difference because your lender will only finance $250,000.

“It’s pretty much standard now to include appraisal addendums with offers, which puts in writing that the buyer will cover any and all costs regarding low appraisals,” said Tiffany Alexy, broker/owner of Alexy Realty Group, in Raleigh, North Carolina. “With houses going so far over list now, it’s the only way to make your offer stand out.”

But the potential for a wide appraisal gap isn’t the only reason sellers care about the size of the down payment. Though contracts vary by state, in many states the seller sees how much the buyer is putting down and how much they’re financing. Sellers want to know that a deal will close quickly.

“The worst-case scenario for a seller is to accept an offer, have the buyers’ financing fall apart, then the house ends up back on the market,” said Sean O’Dowd, CEO of Chicago-based Close Concierge, which provides transaction coordination services for agents. “Many people will then assume, since the house is back on the market, that something is wrong with it. It makes it substantially more difficult to sell again.”

A low down payment doesn’t necessarily mean a buyer has shaky finances. In many cases, the buyer is simply taking advantage of low interest rates or looking to conserve cash. But it’s the perception that matters.

It’s also hard for buyers with any sort of financing to compete with cash buyers in terms of speed. A cash deal can close in a few days vs. several weeks for a financed deal.

“In the Denver metro area, we are seeing dozens of offers being made on nearly every listing within 48 hours of hitting the market,” said Sean Simon, mortgage loan originator with Planet Home Lending. “Financed buyers are having to offer appraisal gap guarantees, inspection waivers, and faster closing times. Usually we would close loans in about 30 days, and today we’ve begun offering 15 and 20 day closings to help financed buyers compete with cash.”

What About FHA and VA Loans?

Sellers tend to be especially wary of government-backed financing, like FHA and VA loans, because they think they’re inflexible and take longer to close.

In part, that’s because with government-backed loans, so much is at stake with the home appraisal.

“The Amendatory Clause of FHA states that if the house does not appraise, the buyer can back out and receive their earnest deposit back,” said David Rider, a certified mortgage adviser and retirement specialist with NEXA Mortgage in Chandler, Arizona. “In this market, where houses are selling for way over appraised price, it puts the seller in a difficult position to accept a VA, FHA or USDA loan if they want to maximize their sales price.”

Lenders often have strict appraisal requirements for government-backed loans. “Small repairs will be scrutinized by the lender,” said Peter Winscott, a Denver-based real estate agent with Orchard. “A buyer would need to ask the seller to fix these issues in order for the loan to go through, which puts FHA/VA loan buyers at a disadvantage.”

What if You Can’t Afford a 20% Down Payment?

Winscott said it’s possible for buyers without extra cash to compete if they can uncover other seller motivations. “As an example, sellers typically want extra time to move out and in many cases, still need to find their next home,” he said. “So offering an extended seller rent-back may ultimately be more important than top dollar to a seller.”

In some cases, buyers are even offering a month or two of free occupancy to the seller.

Writing a heartfelt letter to the seller has also proved to be a winning strategy for some buyers. But it’s a controversial one. In fact, the National Association of Realtors advises agents not to help clients draft or deliver “love letters” and to avoid reading them because the details they reveal often raise fair housing concerns.

You may also be able to make your offer appealing by speeding up the process. For example, you could bring a home inspector out right away, rather than waiting a week.

Waiving contingencies, which allow you to back out of a deal, may make your offer more appealing. But you should only do so with extreme caution. For example, when you waive the financing contingency, you’re forfeiting your deposit if the deal falls through because you can’t finance the purchase. You should only waive the appraisal contingency if you’re confident you can afford to make up any difference between your offer and the appraised value.

But bear in mind that home prices are rising at their fastest pace since December 2005, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index. Many housing experts believe the housing market will start to cool off as life returns to normal. Many workers still don’t know whether they’ll be able to work from home permanently. A lot of empty-nesters who are ready to downsize or move to senior communities have put off selling. Inventory is likely to gradually increase as uncertainty fades.

Yale economist and Case-Shiller index co-creator Robert Shiller recently told Yahoo! Finance he expects housing prices to “come back down, not overnight, but enough to cause some pain.”

If you’re lacking cash reserves, it may be worth waiting to buy — both to save more money and to see how the housing market shakes out. That may be frustrating to hear, especially if you’ve already been waiting for some time.

But the right time to buy a home depends just as much on your personal circumstances as it does on the housing market. A good rule of thumb is that your mortgage payment shouldn’t be more than 28% of your pre-tax income. Having a three- to six-month emergency fund in addition to a down payment is essential.

The bottom line: Don’t let fear of missing out drive you to buy a home you can’t afford. And if you’re preparing to buy a home right now, be prepared to adjust your budget upward or buy less house.

Robin Hartill is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She writes the Dear Penny personal finance advice column. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected].




HOT Offers on Girls’s & Males’s Nike Working Footwear!


Nike is running some great sales right now, plus you can get an extra 20% off with code FAST20 at checkout today! Even better, Nike+ members (free to join) can get FREE shipping on all orders!

Here are some great deals we spotted…

Nike Women’s Flex Experience Run 10 Shoes — $45.97 (regularly $65)
Use promo code FAST20 to get an extra 20% off
Shipping is free for Nike+ Members (free to join)
Final cost $36.78 shipped!

Nike Men’s Flex Control 3 Shoes — $45.97 (regularly $65)
Use promo code FAST20 to get an extra 20% off
Shipping is free for Nike+ Members (free to join)
Final cost $36.78 shipped!

Nike Women’s Renew Run Shoes $51.97 (regularly $90)
Use promo code FAST20 to get an extra 20% off
Shipping is free for Nike+ Members (free to join)
Final cost $41.58 shipped!

Nike Men’s Renew Fusion Shoes $54.97 (regularly $85)
Use promo code FAST20 to get an extra 20% off
Shipping is free for Nike+ Members (free to join)
Final cost $41.58 shipped!

Nike Women’s ZoomX SuperRep Surge Shoes $68.97 (regularly $140)
Use promo code FAST20 to get an extra 20% off
Shipping is free for Nike+ Members (free to join)
Final cost $55.18 shipped!

Hurry — this deal is only valid through the end of today, June 23, 2021.

Go here to see all the Nike Shoes included in this sale!

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How one can Make Your Aspect Hustle a Full-Time Job


There comes a point in time where you may reach this crossroad. Is it that time to 100% bet on myself and my dreams? How can I take my business more seriously and solely invest everything I have into it? The never-ending juggling act of working a traditional job while pursuing your passion projects can often leave you overworked, coupled with a laundry list of things that require your attention. Before you make your side hustle a full-time job, let’s explore these steps below to help best prepare you for your new, thrilling (and most likely frightening) transition.

Consider all of your expenses

Before we fully commit to our own businesses, we have to take a step back and evaluate – how will my household expenses be taken care of month after month? What is the total of my recurring expenses? How will my family make adjustments based on this? Review your budget as it is today and don’t make any adjustments at this point. The next order of business would be to review your most recent bank statements. Are you actually abiding by your budget? What do your discretionary spending habits look like? Are there areas that could use some improvement? While we hope that your business begins (or continues) to generate income, you must consider some very important things. If your business does not profit for a set amount of time, how long are you able to comfortably cover your personal and business expenses?

In the instance you still have full-time employment, take this transition period to save as much as possible. Not only will your overhead need covering, but there will also be startup costs incurred as your business continues to grow – impacting your overall budget. The last thing you want to do is remove your safety net and place yourself in a constant state of anxious frenzy trying to figure out how you’re going to keep you and your family afloat. Running a business in any capacity requires other areas of your life to maintain a certain level of peace. Making any premature moves can have a long list of negative consequences in the future.

Pro tip: If business expenses have been charged on a personal card, start tracking business transactions by adding custom categories and tags in the Mint app. This will help you get a clear picture of how much you’re spending, even if the charges are on multiple cards!

Save as much as possible

We’ve all heard the saying, “patience is a virtue.” Well, saving is too! If you already have an existing emergency fund, feel free to increase this amount. Keep in mind, the money you are accustomed to receiving per-pay period will no longer be rolling in. To ensure your transition to full-time entrepreneurship is a bit smoother, stash away as much as you possibly can. This can start off incrementally to build momentum and gain traction over time. Remember house repairs, car expenses, and other life events will not choose to take it easy on you. Do the necessary work upfront to avoid too much financial overwhelm later.

The next major savings category is dedicated to business expenses. Have you sourced any funding through grants, loans, or small-business programs? Depending on your business type, you may have to invest more money into technology, advertising, or inventory. Understand that if you are self-funded, it’s best to position your finances to handle whatever may be thrown your way.

Review and assess your current, overall business health

How much revenue is your business currently generating? What are your business monthly expenses? If you have a product-based business, take a look at your best and worst performing month. Seasonality is something that has to be taken into consideration, no matter the industry.

If you are operating a service-based business, also take a look at your net income. For either type, are your rates or prices too low for what you’re providing the consumer? Many business owners believe that they’re charging a relatable premium. While that may be the case while you still have full-time employment, that may not apply going forward. This serves as an opportune time to revamp some ideas and execute based on where (and how) you want your business to grow.

If you’re having a difficult time being impartial, view this from the lens of an auditor or a potential lender. Is there enough information for a third party to evaluate your business? You can leverage someone you actively trust – or invest in the help of a business coach. No matter the method, it can assist you in making the right steps toward not only surviving but excelling in your business endeavors.

Establish a backup plan

In the case things don’t pan out as quickly as you’d hoped – please make sure you’ve created a plan to increase your earning potential if the business isn’t executed as projected. This doesn’t necessarily mean going back to the traditional 9-5 job (even though this is always an option). It could be, picking up a part-time position that still allows the freedom and flexibility that’s needed to run a business. This could also be having an emergency fund that’s used to handle household or business expenses. All in all, you want to make sure your bases are covered and try your best to put your pride at bay. You don’t want to fall into a deep hole of debt in the process.

Learn how to embrace the storms

Life journeys can be quite unpredictable, causing us to not always understand how things end up the way they are. When a business is in the ideation stages, there’s a lot of time dedicated to making sure things begin well but also are sustainable over time. Because of this, home life may look and feel a bit different. Your time that was once dedicated to family and friends will be shifted to ensuring your business is everything you’ve imagined it to be. As situations arise, keep in mind these serve as steppingstones. Remember the process of learning how to do complete something for the first time? It seemed so daunting. There were probably occurrences where you didn’t want to attempt again out of fear. Operating and running a business isn’t any different. As you mature in business, things will become more seamless and less intimidating over time.

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Marsha Barnes (19 Posts)

Marsha Barnes is a finance guru with over 20 years of experience dedicates her efforts to empower women worldwide to become financially thriving. Financial competency and literacy are a passion of Marsha’s, providing practical information for clients increasing their overall confidence in their personal finances.

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11 Wholesome Steps to Take


You go to the doctor for your annual physical to make sure your body’s healthy. But when’s the last time you had a checkup for your financial health?

It’s important to know how well you’re managing your money and where you can make changes for the better. Without a regular financial checkup, you might continue to repeat poor money moves, like giving into frivolous impulse buys or only paying the minimum on your credit cards.

Here’s how to examine and improve your financial health.

11 Steps to Complete Your Own Financial Checkup

1. Update Your Budget

Budgets should not be static. Jump in and adjust yours if it’s not working for you.

Increase or decrease spending limits in your various budget categories so they fit your current priorities and desires. Test out a different budgeting method or combine a couple to create your own money management plan, like this woman did.

2. Track Your Spending

Do you often wonder where all your money goes? If so, logging every dollar you spend will give you some insight.

Practice tracking your spending for a month, but don’t just include dollar amounts and what you bought. Jot down notes on why you made that purchase and how it made you feel.

Pro Tip

Kakeibo is a budgeting method that incorporates mindfulness about spending.

If you’re overspending on take-out during the work week because you’re too tired to cook, that could be a sign to start meal prepping. If you love how you feel after taking a drop-in yoga class and realize you want to do that more frequently, you could save money with a monthly pass rather than paying per session.

3. Reduce Your Fixed Expenses

Your fixed costs — the unchanging amount you pay for things like rent, cell phone service and auto insurance — may seem inflexible, but they don’t have to be. Research competitors’ rates to negotiate your bills with your current provider or to switch to a new one.

When it comes to housing costs, getting a roommate can significantly reduce that fixed expense. Just make sure to screen all potential roommates so you don’t end up with a dud. Or if you’re cool with the nontraditional, these alternative housing options can help you save money.

4. Add to Your Emergency Fund

An unexpected crisis can pop up at any time. Having a robust emergency fund makes those situations a little less stressful.

During your financial checkup, review how much money you have set aside for emergencies. Many experts recommend having between three to six months worth of expenses saved, but some are advocating for even more — especially after so many people had their savings wiped during the Covid-19 pandemic.

If you have less, make a plan to add to your savings in the year ahead.

A man reviews his finances.
Getty Images

5. Check Your Progress on Other Savings Goals

Even if you’ve automated your savings for, say, an upcoming vacation or a home down payment, your goals aren’t something to just set and forget. Use this financial checkup time to see how close — or far away — you are from meeting those goals.

Do you need to adjust your deadline or increase regular contributions to your sinking funds? Are you making the most of your money by putting it in a high-yield savings account or money market account?

6. Assess Your Retirement Contributions

Even though retirement may seem like a long way away, the best time to start saving for it is now. Retirement accounts grow the more time you give them to benefit from compound interest.

Are you meeting your employer’s 401(k) match? Did you up your retirement contributions the last time you got a raise? Could you free up a little more each paycheck to divert to your retirement account, even if it’s just an extra 25 bucks?

Every little bit helps.

7. Evaluate Your Debt Repayment Plan

There are different ways to tackle paying off debt. Use this financial checkup to determine if your current repayment plan is working for you.

If you want the gratification of clearing an entire credit card balance, the snowball method of debt repayment focuses on the smallest balances first. If you want to attack the debt with the monster-sized interest rate, try the avalanche method.

8. Improve Your Credit Score

Your credit score is important when it comes to things like taking out a loan or renting an apartment. A low credit score can mean getting denied — or paying significantly more in interest or for a security deposit.

Conversely, the higher your score, the less money you’ll have to pay.

You can raise your credit score by paying down the balance of your existing loans and credit cards, not incurring additional debt, requesting limit increases on your credit cards and paying your bills on time.

9. Pull Your Credit Report

Your credit report delves into the reasoning behind your three-digit credit score. It details who you owe, how much, recent credit inquiries and if you have any debts that have gone to collections.

You can get a free copy of your credit report from all three credit reporting bureaus — Experian, Equifax and Transunion — once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com.

Review your credit reports to check for any inaccuracies. If something is on your report in error, you can dispute it with the credit bureau and potentially raise your credit score.

10. Update Your Resume

Stay prepared to jump on a great job opportunity by keeping an up-to-date resume.

And while you’re making sure your resume is in stellar condition, here’s some advice on how to write a winning cover letter.

11. Protect Your Assets

To maintain good financial health, it’s smart to have a contingency plan for if something goes wrong.

Disability insurance lets you collect income when you’re sick or injured and can’t work. Home, renters and auto insurance pay to repair or replace your property after an accident or disaster. Life insurance takes care of your family in the event of your death.

Review your various policies to make sure you have the coverage you need.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.




Free Pattern of Replenix Redness Lowering Triple AOX Serum


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Easy methods to Begin an Emergency Fund From Scratch



When your tire blows out on the highway, you fracture your ankle on vacation or you experience a layoff, having emergency savings can prevent you from sinking into credit card debt and tanking your credit score just to stay afloat.

 

An emergency fund is that safety net you can fall back on when faced with the unexpected. Having one should be among your top financial goals if you don’t currently have a stash of cash to access in a crisis.

 

How to Start an Emergency Fund

Follow these steps to get started building an emergency fund today, so you can handle your next unexpected predicament without maxing out credit cards, taking out a loan or tapping into your home equity.

1. Determine How Much Money You Need Saved for Emergencies

The general rule of thumb touted by many personal finance professionals is to have between three to six months’ worth of expenses stored up in your emergency fund.

 

That doesn’t necessarily mean you need a minimum of triple your monthly household income. But ideally you’d have at least three times the amount of money it takes to keep your household running for a month.

 

Look at your budget — or the past few months’ worth of bank statements — to figure out the amount of money it takes for you to live. This doesn’t include what you spend dining out or on clothes or on cable. Those things can be easily eliminated if you had to drop down to a bare-bones budget after a job loss.

 

Even when considering only your essential monthly expenses, it can feel intimidating to try to save three to six times that amount. Start by breaking your savings goal into smaller chunks. Focus on saving $500 and build from there to eventually reach your emergency fund goal.

 

Pro Tip

Make each mini goal specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. People tend to be more successful when goals are framed as SMART goals.

 

You’ll hear some financial experts, like Dave Ramsey, talk about having an emergency fund with just $1,000. (Ramsey’s famous money management plan — known as “baby steps” — does urge followers to save three to six months of living expenses, but not until after paying off all non-mortgage debt.)

 

However, keep in mind that your emergency fund is all about giving you peace of mind that you’d be able to weather a crisis and cover unexpected expenses. Accredited financial counselor Kumiko Love told The Penny Hoarder she tried Dave Ramsey’s plan but didn’t stick to it because as a single mom she thought $1,000 wouldn’t be enough to get through a true emergency.

 

“I was up at night worried that I didn’t have enough for safety in my emergency fund,” Love said.

 

Also, consider that if your car insurance deductible is $1,000, and you got into a serious fender bender, you wouldn’t have enough money saved to cover car repairs plus medical expenses and any other costs.

 

Though three to six months of expenses is the standard, your goal for your emergency fund may vary depending on your situation. If you’re the sole breadwinner of your family or you work in a field where it’d be tough to quickly get another job in the event of a layoff, you might want to save up more than six months of living expenses.

2. Figure Out Where You’ll Keep Your Emergency Fund

It’s important to keep your emergency savings liquid and easy to access. Avoid locking your money in a savings vehicle where you’d encounter penalty fees by withdrawing it in an emergency, such as a 401(k) account or a five-year certificate of deposit. Also, although investing your savings could help it grow, you don’t want to risk losing your emergency funds. 

 

Michael Gerstman of Gerstman Financial Group recommends you keep your emergency fund in a no-risk account, like an FDIC-insured savings account or money market account

 

 

Stashing your cash in a checking account is another option, though most won’t earn you as much interest.

 

Make sure you store your emergency fund in an account where you won’t be tempted to spend the money. Consider an online bank or a bank account without a debit card if you feel you might be enticed to make unnecessary withdrawals. Putting your savings in a different bank or credit union than where your main checking account is will add another layer of separation.

 

3. Find Ways to Add to Your Emergency Fund

A mixture of regular savings contributions and lump-sum deposits will build the balance quickly.

 

Have your employer split your direct deposit so a portion of each paycheck goes to your emergency fund, or set up automatic transfers to your savings account after each pay day. When you don’t see the money in your main checking account, you won’t be tempted to spend it.

 

If your budget is tight, you could cut your spending by switching over to the cash envelope system, cancelling monthly subscriptions, joining a Buy Nothing group or switching to less expensive service providers. Or you could increase your income by taking on a side hustle or working a second, part-time job.

 

 

You can also increase the amount of money in your emergency savings account by depositing any extra cash you receive from one-time windfalls. Sell items around your house that you don’t use or could part with. Crash with friends for a week and rent out your home on Airbnb. Transfer work bonuses and your income tax refund over to your rainy day fund before you spend a dime. 

4. Know When (and When Not) to Tap Into Your Savings

It’s not enough to know how to start an emergency fund. You must also understand what qualifies as a good reason to take money out — and when you should leave it alone.

 

It can be tempting to see thousands of dollars in your account, but avoid using that cash unless you have unexpected expenses due to true emergencies.

 

A good rule of thumb is to avoid spending your emergency cash on expenses that can be predicted, like routine car maintenance, a large annual insurance bill or summer camp enrollment. You don’t want to build an emergency fund only to spend that money on expenses you could have prepared for. Set up separate sinking funds for those savings goals instead.

 

And keep in mind, once you’ve spent money from your emergency fund, be sure to replenish it so you’re prepared for the next big thing that comes your way.

 

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.