How COVID-19 Has Changed People’s Money Habits:

The Significance of an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund is a specific amount of money that you set aside for periods of uncertainty or suffering – such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people don’t have (or even know about) an emergency fund until the pandemic struck and they realized that preparedness is crucial. Unfortunately, many people were not prepared for the financial implications that came with the pandemic.

While some people received less income during the pandemic, others lost jobs entirely. An emergency fund is one way to keep yourself afloat in the face of the unexpected.

When to Build an Emergency Fund
If you have a job or some source of income, the best time to build an emergency fund is now. Many people are still struggling financially because of the pandemic, or perhaps you are one of those who aren’t able to set aside funds. If that is the case, there’s no need to beat yourself up over it. Get started as soon as you feel you have both feet on the ground and can afford to set aside a little toward the fund.

Fortunately, emergencies do not happen every day. Therefore, there’s no need to go out of your way to set aside tons of money. Instead, small, or reasonable amounts every month will suffice. The idea is to ensure that you will have somewhere to start when the unexpected happens. Over time, those small contributions will add up to a substantial amount of money.

How to Build an Emergency Fund
As soon as you decide to save money for an emergency, the first step is to open a savings account specifically for that purpose. Once you have opened the account, you can make the deposits when it suits you. You can do this every month, every week, every payday – whatever works for you.

TIP: Use Money Manager inside Online Banking to set a savings goal! There’s even a special category for emergency funds. Money Manager will help you track your savings and also see where else you’re spending your money to help you budget.

LEARN MORE: Money Manager Online Money Tracker, Free for Green Country Members!

How Your Emergency Fund Can Grow Quickly
Steps can be taken to make sure that your emergency fund grows at a fast pace. But, of course, it can only work if you are still receiving a steady income. If you have lost your job, or the income you are receiving at the moment isn’t enough, it’s understandable that you may need to wait or grow the fund at a slower pace.

Growing the emergency fund at a fast pace starts with creating a budget and analyzing money habits. How have you been spending your money? Certain expenses, including rent and mortgage payments may not have changed during the pandemic, but it’s possible that other expenses can be reduced. The goal is to cut expenses and spend less money.

It might seem like it’s an impossible task, but the pandemic has taught many consumers what they need to survive and what they can live without. Creating a budget and changing money habits is a great way to build an emergency fund and be prepared if the unexpected happens again.