8 Foolproof Ways to Grow Your Savings

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By Alexa von Tobel

Wish you had a financial game plan tailored to your priorities, lifestyle, hopes and dreams? You can start with this sneak peek excerpt from "Financially Fearless: The LearnVest Program for Taking Control of Your Money," the new book from LearnVest CEO and founder Alexa von Tobel.

At LearnVest, we believe your emergency fund should contain at least six months' worth of net income (up to a year is our recommendation if you have kids or other dependents), and you should only touch it in a true emergency (and no, your family vacation to Hawaii is not a true emergency).

Your emergency fund should contain at least six months' worth of net income (up to a year is our recommendation if you have kids or other dependents), and you should only touch it in a true emergency (and no, your family vacation to Hawaii is not a true emergency).

As I may have mentioned once or twice, the money in this fund is best left untouched unless there is a true emergency. Here are five examples of situations that qualify:
  • Emergency 1: You've lost your job and need to continue paying rent, bills and other living expenses.
  • Emergency 2: You have a medical or dental emergency.
  • Emergency 3: Your car breaks down and is your primary form of transportation.
  • Emergency 4: You have emergency home expenses. For example, your A/C breaks down in 100-plus-degree weather, your roof is leaking, your basement is flooded (and no, a kitchen in need of redecorating doesn't count, no matter how much you hate that wallpaper).
  • Emergency 5: You have bereavement-related expenses, like travel costs for a family funeral.
Here's another reason why you should always have money in a freedom fund: If you don't, and one of these five types of emergencies arises, you'd likely be stuck using a credit card to handle it, leading you into (or deeper into) credit card debt. In fact, medical expenses are the leading contributor to credit card debt, with low-to moderate-income households averaging $1,678 in credit card debt due to out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Plus, paying for emergency expenses on your credit card (if you don't pay off your bill immediately) will end up costing you more over time, as you'll rack up interest payments as you try to dig yourself out of debt. Having a fund will not only save you more money in the long run but also give you peace of mind in knowing you have the safety net to catch those unexpected curveballs when they arrive.

If getting six months of take-home pay together seems daunting, here are eight tricks:


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lyanewullur

to save our lives will be healthier because, without saving our lives was already on the verge of death because, now a hospital without money will not be served, is not this life so valuable? so do not waste it living, let us start saving now so that we are always healthy and prosperous

December 28 2013 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
betty_brock

Do like the EPA guy and pretend to be a spy. You can lay out of work every day and collect your pay. Maybe Obama is a spy. Is that why he takes so many vacations?

December 18 2013 at 7:21 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
Valerie

I really like this article. There is some great money-saving advice contained in it. I particularly liked the "saving all the $5.00 bills idea" and the idea of finding odd jobs for extra money. (I'm going to check out those websites in the article.)

December 18 2013 at 7:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jrb359

Want to save your hard earned money? DON'T vote for a lieing, deceitful, tax and wastefully spend other peoples money Democrat!

December 18 2013 at 12:48 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to jrb359's comment
sam54ct

You seem to lack the awareness to understand, its Conservative, GOP States that take the top ten States for usage of entitlement programs. Thu, you and the others like you, are the cause of our rising costs, not Democrats. In fact, only ONE Conservative State pays more in to taxes, than they receive in entitlements, and thats Utah.

December 18 2013 at 1:20 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sam54ct's comment
jrb359

Maybe red states have more non-productive freeloaders than blue states! When one works in the private sector and contributes, they do not cause rising costs!

December 18 2013 at 3:36 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down
ribuad

How are the dems doing that? What are the republiCANTs doing to help build up American workers, the infrastructure, or the economy? Tells us?

December 18 2013 at 4:41 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ribuad's comment
jrb359

They're stopping the DemocRATS from bankrupting the country. Where is the money going to come from? Do we borrow more or simply print more? DemocRATS have no clue about inflation, bankrupcy, or financial responsibility! If the Dems had their way we would be $27 trillion in debt!

December 18 2013 at 6:25 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down
patrickr7071

The best way to save [5} FIVE DOLLARS BILLS IS TOO \"QUIT SMOKING\"!!!! AND IF YOUR LUCKY ENOUGH TO LIVE IN \"NEW YORK STATE\" YOUR SAVINGS WILL ADD UP EVEN FASTER BECAUSE A PACK OF \"CANCER STICKS\" COST {10} TEN DOLLARS A PACK. THERE ARE \"THREE HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE DAYS IN A YEAR\" LETS SEE WHAT YOU SAVE IF YOU QUIT JANUARY 1,2014 AND STAY OFF THEM TILL JANUARY 1,2015, LET\"S MULTIPLY 365 X 5= $1825.00 WOW THATS \"ONE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS\" PER YEAR. AT \"$10.00 A PACK\" YOU COULD SAVE $3650.00 THAT\"S \"THREE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS\" PER YEAR . TRY IT AND WHEN 2015 ROLLS ALONG YOU WILL NOT ONLY HAVE A SMALL NEST EGG SAVED UP,YOU WILL FEEL A LOT BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WELL BEING

December 18 2013 at 9:49 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
pllove49

Never any good useful information or ideas for po\' folk....sheesh ought to be something!

December 18 2013 at 8:53 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pllove49's comment
Valerie

Baloney. If you are really serious about saving, Google "ways to save money". You will get dozens of websites loaded with good money-saving tips. Enough to keep you busy reading for a long time.

I guarantee that even small amounts of money saved will add up to a nice total over a year's time.

However, if you are too lazy to even do this minimum amount of effort to help yourself, you had better get used to being poor for the rest of your life.

December 18 2013 at 7:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
joethightwad

All these recommendations have merit as they encourage frugality. Deferred gratification is the foundation of financial well-being. Instant gratification is the road to poverty. I particularly endorse the suggestion to bank $5 bills or even a larger denomination if you can afford it. My first job, bussing tables at a local diner, over 50 years ago paid $1 an hour. I took a special liking for 50 cent coins that were then still in general circulation and saved every one that came my way. I still have those \"Walking Liberty\" and \"Franklin\" halves by the roll securely housed in a safe deposit box. A penny saved is a penny earned.

December 18 2013 at 8:24 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Bonnie Ge

http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/12/18/mega-millions-lottery-winning-tickets-sold-california-georgia/

December 18 2013 at 6:39 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply