Lucky 13 emergency savings strategies

9. Remove the temptation.  Maybe skip a trip to the mall and go to a specialty store to pick up the item that's actually on your shopping list. Or go to the park for diversion instead of window shopping. It's not fun finding yourself on the wrong side of the window shopping experience, and in most cases the old adage "out of sight, out of mind" rings true for impulse buys.

Dieters don't do well sitting in a bakery sniffing mouthwatering treats all day. Why put yourself in the same position to fail financially?

10. Treat it like a friend  Treat your emergency fund the way you treat your friends: Don't abuse it and don't use it except when needed. Payne suggests this trick when weighing spending decisions. No one likes a user. If you expect your emergency fund to have your back when trouble strikes, maintain a healthy relationship with your money.

11. Keep them separated.  It's important to keep your savings in a different account than the one from which you pay your bills, but maybe a little extra space can be helpful. Epperson suggests keeping checking and savings accounts at different institutions. This strategy makes your savings just slightly less accessible because of the waiting time on fund transfers, and maybe that lag is just long enough to help you cool off your spending impulse.

She points out that unbundling your products gives you the opportunity to take advantage of high-yield accounts offered at online institutions, rather than the low-interest-paying brick-and-mortar bank where you keep your checking account.

12. Enjoy compounding for a change.  Being on the right side of compound interest is a rewarding experience. Instead of the negative compounding (paying interest on interest) that often occurs with credit cards, you can watch your money grow effortlessly.

Earning interest on interest is a powerful tool that most people don't really understand, says Gail MarksJarvis, money columnist and author of "Saving for Retirement (Without Living like a Pauper or Winning the Lottery)."  

"Here's how it works," she says. "Let's say you simply invest $200 this year, and nothing after that and you earn 10 percent on the money each year. At the end of the year you will have $220. That's $200, plus the $20 you earned." But here's the powerful part: After five years, the original $200 grows to $322. After 15 years, it mushrooms to $835.

Start saving now -- no excuses. Then when you're not able to save or not able to save much, your money will still be doing the work for you. The key is to start early for maximum gains.

13. Treat it like taxes.  Most people are used to having taxes deducted from their paychecks, Payne points out. They accept both the mandatory nature and regularity of the contributions. So it might be helpful to think of saving to your emergency fund as a taxation that benefits you.

If you really hate taxes, it may be more helpful to think of your savings as a hassle-free insurance policy. The insurance pays out when you need it most.


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