savings

5 ways to grow an emergency fund

Treat it like a bill
Treat it like a bill

Establish a monthly savings goal and make it part of your regular budget. Marquis recommends setting up an automatic monthly transfer, just as you would with the electric bill or fitness club membership, to ensure the money is saved each month.

"The forced savings should feel like a bill pay transaction that is done on the same day of every month," Smith says.

Paying yourself first through a direct deposit from your paycheck into your emergency fund account will help you build your fund steadily. But make sure you've created a balanced budget so you know you have enough money to save, says financial coach Matt Wegner of Matt Wegner Coaching in Sheboygan, Wis.

"Too many people direct deposit money in their savings accounts, only to turn around and pull the money back out to pay bills," he says. "A solid monthly spending plan can help avoid this situation."

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