10 Ways to Build Your Emergency Fund Out of Thin Air

10 ways to build emergency fund

A study from Bankrate revealed that 63% of Americans are just $1,000 away from financial ruin. This is because they lack any form of emergency fund, or the fund is so small it is almost pointless. Everyone should have some form of emergency fund.

This guide will introduce you to 10 easy ways to begin building your emergency fund out of thin air.

​1. Siphon Your Salary

Stop relying on your level of willpower on any given day to build your emergency fund with. Set up an automatic agreement with your bank that will siphon off a proportion of your income for a savings account before you can get your sticky fingers on it.

Now it’s something that happens and you don’t have to think about it.

​2. Bank Any Extra Money

There are two people in this scenario.

  1. The first person has received a huge raise and they are about to celebrate with a fancy dinner and a trip to Vegas.
  2. The second person isn’t stupid. They have received a huge raise and they have set most of it aside in their bank account where it can do the most good.

In the simplest way possible, if you happen to receive any sudden windfalls, don’t blow it on meaningless luxuries. It’s okay to cut loose sometimes, but make a habit of always setting something aside.

​3. Use Coupons

Coupons and various deals are always seen as products of the poor. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Coupons are a great way of setting aside dollars every week. If you’re serious about this, you can save a huge amount of money on coupons alone. Pocket the difference and place what you would have spent in that savings account.

​4. Drop the Bad Habits

Are you spending $20 a month on a magazine subscription for a publication you rarely read more than five pages of?

Then get rid of it. If you’re throwing money away on things you don’t need on a regular basis, recognize these bad habits and drop them as soon as you can. You’ll be surprised at how much money you can save just by doing that.

​5. Use the 10% Rule

For any windfall, pay check, gambling win you get you set aside 10% without any questions. You can come up with a thousand ways to apply the 10% rule. One family even sets aside 10% of their grocery shopping money every week.

This happens in small amounts, but it really does start to add up.

​6. Use an Accountability Buddy

If you have trouble staying on track, work with someone else. They will be able to give you the accountability you need to stick to your guns. You could even create fun little challenges to make it into a competition.

Those with a competitive nature will go out of their way to set money aside!

​7. Use Cash Instead of Cards

Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away when using plastic. By using cash instead, you are ensuring that you always know exactly what you’re spending. When you go out for an evening, take only cash so you know you can only spend so much.

​8. Sell What You Don't Need

Spring cleaning is really a good way to clear the clutter and to generate a great start for your emergency fund. Get into the habit of going through the stuff you have acquired over the last year. You can sell anything particularly valuable online, but for everything else you can hold a yard sale.

​9. Buy Discounted Gift Cards

You can buy gift cards through secondary sellers. For example, purchase a Walmart gift card on the secondary market for $45. You would save about $5 on a $50 card that you can transfer into your savings. This is a great way to pay.

​10. It's All in the Mind

This doesn’t mean you have to live like an amateur monk. Allow yourself a luxury here or there to keep self-esteem high. Creating an emergency fund out of thin air is about using what you already have, rather than waiting for a raise or another investment coming in from somewhere.


It takes time to build an emergency fund, but there are more ways than you might think to generate that capital you so desperately need. Even with smaller amounts, it can really start to add up in the long-term. Get started with your emergency fund today and reap the rewards of good financial habits.