(Video): How to Start an Emergency Fund When You’re Flat Broke

100 dollar bills sticking out of pink piggy bank for emergency fund

Image credit: Tax Credits via Flickr

Emergencies happen. Of anyone in the world, a truck driver knows this best. Your truck is full of safety and emergency equipment. Sometimes you need it, and sometimes you don’t. You’re never angry when you have it and don’t need it, but getting your load to its destination gets brutal when you need the emergency equipment and you don’t have it. Your financial life is the exact same way.

Starting an emergency fund comes down to three simple words: expect the unexpected. Things will happen that are out of your control — it’s inevitable. You don’t want to have to rely on credit cards and loans to cover life’s emergencies. Maybe you lose your job or your furnace goes out. If you’re financially savvy and have some money set aside for such situations, these emergencies don’t have to destroy your finances and throw you into debt.

Watch my video below for more information on emergency funds.

How much should I save?

Financial advisers throw out different numbers all the time, but the general consensus is between three and six months worth of household expenses. Now, obviously you can’t set aside all this money at once, so you must create a plan for how you’ll get the funds to put into the account.

3 Ways to Get Some Extra Money

  1. Unclaimed money. Every state has an unclaimed money website. These pages let you know if any company or organization owes you money that you either forgot about, or didn’t know about! It’s not usually too much, but every little bit helps. Just Google “your state + unclaimed money.”
  2. Sell stuff. Everybody has stuff lying around that they don’t really need. Sell it! Have a garage sale when you get some home time. Sell it on Craigslist, eBay, or in newspaper classified ads. If it’s just sitting around collecting dust, why not get any money you can for it?
  3. Save from high mileage weeks. As a truck driver, your paycheck isn’t always the same. You won’t always get the same amount of miles every week (unless you’re on a dedicated lane). So save any extra money from those exceptionally high mileage weeks and put it towards your emergency fund.

Your emergency fund should be easily accessible, but not so easy that you’re tempted to withdrawal money from it on an everyday basis. Do not get any debit cards to go with the account, and keep the checkbook out of sight. This account is for emergencies. Vacations, entertainment, and down payments are not emergencies. Job loss, medical bills, home/car repairs, and appliance replacements are.

You might have to live a little tighter financially when you’re trying to save for an emergency fund. Remember, it takes a while. Be patient, and keep in mind that an emergency fund will prevent you from having your financial life ruined by avoidable disasters. You can’t afford not to have an emergency fund.

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At The Healthy Trucker, our goal is to provide FREE everyday, practical advice on taking better care of your money and we’re happy to have Pete on our team. We’re ALL going to learn a lot along the way because we ALL can do better financially.

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About Pete the Planner

I'm Peter Dunn, aka Pete the Planner and I'm an award-winning comedian and an award-winning financial mind. I released my first book, "What Your Dad Never Taught You About Budgeting" in 2006 and am the host of the popular radio show, "The Pete the Planner Show" on 93 WIBC FM. I am also the resident Fox59 News personal finance expert, appearing at 8:15 a.m. EST every Wednesday. I was the mastermind behind 24 Hour News 8’s "60 Days to Change" and have appeared regularly on Fox News, Fox Business, CNN Headline News and numerous nationally syndicated radio programs. Pete the Planner on Google+