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starter emergency fund

Starter Emergency Fund

In this article I am going to explain the meaning of a starter emergency fund. I will also share how much I recommend you save in your starter emergency fund, and I will give ideas for how you can fund your starter emergency fund.

By creating a starter emergency fund,  you will be helping your family to stand on wonderfully firm financial footing! 

What Is a Starter Emergency Fund?

A starter emergency fund, or a baby emergency fund, is savings that you put in a separate savings account and that you don’t use for anything else besides a true emergency.

Of course people define emergency differently, but I consider an emergency something that is essential for you to get by. So if your car breaks and you have to have your car to get to work, that is an emergency. However, if you have a car and it breaks but your spouse also has a car and you can get to work for a few months by riding your bike and in the meantime save up the money to fix the car, then that is not an emergency.

The difference between a starter emergency fund and a full emergency fund is that you build up a starter emergency fund very quickly, and you save less money in your starter emergency fund than in your full emergency fund. Read the next section to learn how much I recommend you save in your starter emergency fund.

Learn how to build a fully funded emergency fund here.



    How Much Should You Have in a Starter Emergency Fund?

    I recommend that you save somewhere between $1,000 and one month’s worth of expenses in your starter emergency fund. Note that I mention one month’s worth of expenses—not one month’s worth of income. If your expenses currently exceed your income, then work on reversing that trend. 🙂 But the starter emergency fund should be based on your monthly expenses, not your monthly income, and should cover up to one month’s worth of expenses. But if you feel comfortable with a $1,000 starter emergency fund, then go with that amount because you can save that up more quickly and because $1,000 will cover most financial setbacks you will have.

    Find awesome ideas for how to fund your starter emergency fund in the next section!

    How Can You Build Your Starter Emergency Fund?

     There are two main ways you can build your starter emergency fund, and I recommend that you use both of them. 🙂

    The first is to work to reduce your expenses. Cancel your cable or satellite service, cancel subscriptions and memberships, save money eating out and slash your grocery spending, do a spending freeze for a period of time, and make other cuts where you can. Treat funding your starter emergency fund like an emergency! (That way, when you have a financial setback or emergency, you’ll have accomplished this goal quickly so that you’ll be prepared.) For more information on how to reduce your spending, see this article.

    The other way to quickly build your starter emergency fund is to make extra money. You could do overtime at work or get a second part-time job, or take on extra clients or work if you own your own business. You could start a side hustle. You could rent out rooms in your home on Airbnb, or you could get a side gig driving for Lyft or Uber. You could sell stuff around your house that you don’t need.

    For more ideas, check out this article on increasing your income.


    If you don’t have a starter emergency fund, treat getting one like an emergency! 🙂 Try to have your starter emergency fund funded in a month or less if you can by making extra money and reducing your spending. And then after you have your starter emergency fund and have paid off your nonmortgage debt, work to build your fully funded emergency fund of three to six months’ worth of expenses.


    How much do you feel is a good amount for your starter emergency fund? What ideas do you have for funding your starter emergency fund? Leave a comment below and let me know—I would love to hear your ideas!


    Invitation to Share

    Was there something in this article that inspired you to change something about your money? Are there ideas or tips that you feel could help a family member or friend or people in general? Would you please take a minute to share this article via email or social media? I would love your help to share these principles of financial well-being with others. Thank you!

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