savings

Lucky 13 emergency savings strategies

Saving for emergencies doesn't have to be about painful cutbacks or Draconian spending measures. Sometimes we get so focused on where we're going to find extra money that we forget the easy pickings are in setting up good savings strategies. Follow these 13 tips to save money without even trying.

1. Autopilot saving and bill pay.  Have your savings automatically deducted from your paycheck before it even hits your checking account. It's easy -- most banks will let you set it up online in a matter of minutes.

Set your fixed bills to be deducted as well, either through automated debit or online bill pay, so you're not tempted to touch the money. The added bonus is you'll never get hit with late or missed payment penalties.

2. After paying off debt, keep paying yourself.  Maybe your finances are tight due to a big car loan or credit card payments. Once you've paid off these debts, shift those payments to your emergency fund "bill," says Sharon Epperson, author of "The Big Payoff: 8 Steps Couples Can Take to Make the Most of their Money -- and Live Richly Ever After." Otherwise, she says, "You know you'll probably just spend it."

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Because you're already used to living without the money, you can use the "extra" funds to build up an emergency buffer to keep yourself from getting into debt again.

3. Enforce 24-hour rule on impulse buys.  Maybe splurging sounds like a good idea in the moment, but will you feel the same way the next morning? There aren't many things we truly can't live without and waiting 24 hours before making a purchase will help you avoid shopping hangover. Remember, getting slapped with the bill later is a real buzz kill.

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