Unexpected expenses can occur when you least expect. There is no telling when your car will break down, or when you'll end up in the emergency room, but there are steps you can take to financially prepare, such as creating an emergency cash fund. This type of safety net can be beneficial for all types of consumers. The following are a few tips that can get you started:
Save your tax refund - Each year, millions of Americans receive a tax refund from the government that many people see as an opportunity to spend. According to Kiplinger, this money could be put to better use by adding some - or all - of it to your emergency fund. The majority of taxpayers receive a refund, so this could be a good foundation for people who are unable to set aside much from their paychecks.
Cut certain non-essentials for a month - One of the biggest obstacles to having an emergency fund is getting started. To help yourself out, Daily Finance recommended going on a 30-day spending diet in which you cut out some non-essential expenses, and save instead. For example, you daily coffee would cost a lot less if you brewed it at home. You'd be surprised how much you can save in a months time by completing this step.
Set up a spare change jar - An old-age strategy people use to save money is by tossing their change in a jar. If you don't use this method, it may be time to start doing so. While throwing a few nickels and dimes in a jar may not seem like much, it can add up over time, and provide a good basis for an emergency fund. Anything is better than nothing, and using a spare change jar allows you to have at least a small savings.
Complete a financial checkup - There are some essential expenses that you can't eliminate altogether, but you may be able to reduce your bills. For example, if your cable package comes with 150 channels, and you only watch 20, you could probably save money by eliminating some of them. Other areas you should look into include your insurance polices, Internet bill and cellphone bill.