How to Start Saving in Your Emergency Fund When You Feel Like You Have No Money

When I was first starting out in my financial journey making less than $10,000 a year I made a lot of excuses and felt like there was no way I could start saving. But here’s the thing: I always found money for impulse purchases. That candy bar or the occasional lunch with a friend. A t-shirt I really didn’t NEED and actually never ended up wearing. Sound familiar?

If this sounds like you then welcome. I was in your shoes once and I want to show you how I changed my circumstances and how you can do it too. The truth is if I lost $1 would I have been upset back then? Maybe a little, but I would have gotten over it because that $1 was not going to break the bank. We can use that same thought process for saving.

If you are anything like me then seeing balance in your bank account is like seeing excess money to spend. I broke that habit (kind of) by creating a separate savings account, a separate investment account, and my mindset over those accounts was that I could not touch them. But here’s the thing, for some of you there will need to be more separation than a separate account or even a separate account at a different bank. You need someone to hold you accountable. Someone that if you say “I took that $150 I saved and bought this really cool [insert item here]” they will not judge you, but meet you where you are at and ask you how that changes your savings goal.

It is okay to have setbacks—in fact it’s expected. What matters is that you stay consistent. So how do we do that? By setting a savings contribution amount. You can start slow with $1 if that’s more comfortable for you where you are now, but eventually we are going to up that and slowly get you out of your comfort zone. Slow and steady wins the race, remember? I want you to contribute whatever that amount is EVEN on the paychecks where you are withdrawing from your savings to pay for an emergency, car repair, household repair, or whatever fits into what that savings account is earmarked for. Why do I want you to contribute if you’re withdrawing money? Because withdrawing and contributing fire up different parts of your brain and work different financial muscles. I do not want you to get into the habit of thinking that if you withdraw money you no longer need to contribute. It does not matter that the account will still be net down, it’s about the habit and the actions that we are nurturing so you can become financially independent.

So, what do you say? Will you join me?

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