How To Build An Emergency Fund When You Don’t Have A Lot Of Extra Money

In the event of an emergency, an emergency fund is the only thing that can protect your family. However, implementing an emergency fund can be particularly stressful and difficult if you don’t have a lot of disposable income to build an emergency savings with. This saving has been indispensable for us from a range of deaths in the family to loss of income it helps keep me from stressing out. 


If you have never had an emergency fund, you may not fully understand what they are used for. Yes, they are named emergency funds so that part is self-explained, but your emergency fund should only be used for true emergencies, not imagined ones.

A true emergency can include something as diverse as medical emergencies, car repairs, bills if you lose your job and so on. By spending the money in your fund on anything, you will add the stress of always needing to replenish your fund.

I suggest placing your emergency fund in another account that you don’t see when doing your regular banking. For us, we have 3 of these invisible savings accounts. The $1000 basic emergency fund, The BIG emergency fund we are building to cover 4-6 months of expenses, and a hills and valleys account due to our unstable income. 

By having multiple accounts that are not visible unless we take an extra step when we log into our banking app it is easier to not feel tempted to use that money. This can be a huge help now that we are a one-income family due to recent world events.

You can use these same tricks to build your first $1000 emergency fund along with building your larger emergency account.



Take stock of everything you are spending money on each day when you first begin to build your emergency fund. There is a good chance that you can eliminate some of them. Put that money in your emergency fund instead of spending it every day. 

If you add up what you spend on your morning coffee over a few weeks, you’d be surprised how much you can save. ditching one soda a day for water can save you 200+ calories and at least $1 a day without even noticing. 


The cost of gas seems to rise every week, and each time they rise, you spend more money. In contrast, if you walk more and drive less often, you will be filling up your car less. Add the money you aren’t spending to your emergency fund to help you build your fund quickly.

The past few months the cost of gas has gotten to be insane. The good news is my husband can ride the motorcycle which really saves us a lot of money on gas until it gets cold.


Are you capable of raking leaves or mowing a lawn? Is it possible for you to babysit? On the weekends, why not clean one or two houses? Finding ways to make up for a lack of wiggle room in your income will be necessary if you want to build an emergency fund. 

Finding odd jobs around your town or taking on a side job will help you get the money you need to start paying your bills. This is how I got started as a content creator MANY years ago. 


There are a lot of things in your home that you no longer need or want. Every home is full of things that are no longer needed or wanted, simply because we tend to collect things. 

In your living room, bedroom, or basement, you find unwanted items that make up your emergency fund. The things you list for sale online or the items you put up for sale at a garage sale can be used one more time before they are discarded. You can fill your emergency fund quickly and without stress, with the money they bring in.

If holding an old-fashioned yard sale is not your thing you can make a good bit of money by posting items for sale online in buy, sell, trade groups. 


Make a calculation to find out how much you could put into your emergency fund if you ate out less often. If you spend $40.00 per family meal at a cheap restaurant, even one meal a week could add $160.00 to your emergency fund each month.

Adding more fresh produce from your home garden is a great way to save money and eat healthier which can lower your health care costs. 

Building a stockpile of food on sale can help you feed your family for less putting a bit more money into your emergency fund when you make the choice to bank what you save. 


You probably have a lot of spare change lying around if you use cash. Take it out of the couch or the washing machine and deposit it in the bank. It may not be a huge help, but every dollar in your emergency fund is one less dollar you need. When it comes to building an emergency fund when you don’t have a lot of money every dime counts.


It is very easy to accumulate one-dollar bills, and this can help build up your emergency fund. This is an excellent option for those who are financially more comfortable. Put each $1.00 bill in an envelope as soon as you get it. You can place these funds in your emergency fund at the end of each week or month. 

You’ll probably be able to fund at least 25% of your emergency fund by doing this for a solid month. It is still possible to save your spare change and dollars if you don’t use cash. You should transfer any dollar amount or change amount from your main checking account to your emergency fund at the end of each day to ensure an even balance in your checking account.


 Our bank gives us 10 cents back for every time we use our debit cards. This adds up fast and can easily add $10 to $15 to our savings account each month. I set it to auto-deposit the reward at the beginning of each month into our emergency fund and never have to think about it. That may not seem like much but it will feed our family, pay on a bill, or fill the gas tank when we need it most.

Building an emergency fund quickly may seem impossible depending on your current financial state. As soon as you have made up your mind and decide to build one, you’ll realize that everywhere you look, money is available for it. You can add more pennies to it every time because every penny you add is more than you had beforehand.

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