savings

5 ways to grow an emergency fund

Decide where you will keep the fund
Decide where you will keep the fund © iStock

Decide where you will keep the fund

Your rainy-day emergency fund should be easily accessible, but not so easily accessible that you'll be tempted to make withdrawals for everyday spending.

"I like using an account away from my normal checking account to build a psychological wall between my spending habits and my emergency fund," says Ray Lucia, a nationally syndicated radio host. "Credit unions work well because they normally allow you to start with smaller amounts of money."

Online banks also are good locations for your emergency savings account because you can't just walk into the bank and withdraw your cash.

Consider keeping emergency funds in a combination of locations, including an online savings account, in savings bonds and as cash in a lockbox at home.

If you can't stomach keeping a significant amount of money in a standard savings account with a low interest rate, consider a money market account that allows withdrawals only at certain minimum levels, or purchase short-term certificates of deposit with three- or six-month terms on a regular basis. You'll earn some interest and be required to constantly reinvest.

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5 ways to grow an emergency fund
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