5 Questions: Pay yourself first
Emergency fund a necessity, expert says
It’s never too late to start saving, says Carol Young, Kansas State University Research and Extension financial management specialist, even if it’s just $10 or $20 a paycheck.
Q: I have a steady job and decent income. What’s the big deal about having an emergency fund?
A: An injury, illness, accident, or failure of a home appliance, heating or cooling system will typically generate unexpected expenses, said Carol Young, Kansas State University Research and Extension financial management specialist. Without emergency funds, those who are experiencing the emergency often must borrow without time to shop for the lowest possible loan interest rate.
Q: Why not just put emergency purchases on a credit card?
A: Opting instead to charge emergency expenses can add to financial woes. If not paid in full within the billing cycle, such charges can carry a high interest rate and additional fees. A lack of savings can make it difficult to pay the balance in full.
Q: How much should I have in an emergency fund?
A: You should have at least the equivalent of a month’s living expenses in an accessible, interest-bearing account. Having as little as $250 to $500 may be enough to eliminate the need to incur additional debt.
Q: I just have trouble saving. Is there an easy way to do it?
A: Check with your workplace human resources department to see if earnings can be directly deposited into checking and savings accounts. If the paycheck can only be deposited in a checking account, set up an automatic electronic bank transfer on payday from checking to savings as a commitment to ‘pay yourself first.’ When saving is automatic, there’s less temptation to spend.
Q: Where can I find more help with setting up a savings fund?
A: More information on managing money and Kansas Saves, a state campaign inspired by the Consumer Federation of America’s America Saves Program, is available at local K-State Research and Extension offices.