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3 Strategies to Build an Emergency Savings Fund

Unexpected and large expenses can happen at any time, especially when you own a home. These three trusted strategies are great ways to save, and they can help you prepare for and recover from unplanned expenses.

Strategy 1: Make saving money a habit

Consistency is key when it comes to growing your savings account. Here are some key practices to help you consistently put away money. This approach is ideal if you have a reliable income stream, but anyone can benefit from this strategy.

Set a long-term savings goal

It’s important to take into account the expenses you have every month to figure out a savings goal that’s appropriate for you. Choose an amount that you feel confident striving toward, and set milestones to help you get there. Having a financial goal can help you stay motivated.

Activate automatic savings systems

One of the easiest ways to sustain a savings plan is to set up automatic recurring transfers through your bank. Most banks make it simple to transfer funds on a regular, customizable basis.

Of course, this could also be done with cash on hand — daily, weekly, monthly. What matters most is that you keep your savings on schedule as much as possible.

Watch your progress

Set mobile notifications or jot down your savings amount every so often to monitor your progress and stay motivated.

Homeowner tip

A bank or credit union account is typically considered a safe place to keep your funds, but it depends on your situation. You can also use a prepaid card or keep cash on hand — though this can increase the risk of loss.

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Strategy 2: Manage your income schedule

Monitoring how much is coming in and how much is going out can help you spot savings opportunities. No matter your income schedule — whether you receive a weekly paycheck based on hours worked, a sporadic income, or an annual salary — this is a good place to adjust spending and start saving.

Ask to adjust your due dates

Get in touch with your landlord, credit card companies, utility companies, and any other organization you pay on a consistent schedule, and ask them to update your due dates to ones that best suit your situation. This could make monthly planning easier and create a more consistent savings schedule.

Homeowner tip

Set usage guidelines for your savings account — determine what constitutes an emergency expense and be consistent. But remember: If you need to use your emergency fund, use it. Loan fees and interest on credit card debt can add up over time and result in larger expenses later.

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Strategy 3: Make the most of financial windfalls

Big or small, you can take advantage of any sudden financial boosts by padding your savings. This is a good method for those with irregular income schedules, but anyone can implement it into their financial plan.

Tax returns

If you receive a refund, even a small sum, consider putting a portion into your savings fund. Here are some saving tips for tax season from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).


From birthdays to weddings, money is a common gift during celebrations. If you do not need the funds immediately, consider putting a portion into your emergency savings fund.

Homeowner tip

Remember to celebrate success as you hit savings milestones. Is there a meaningful, cost-effective way you like to reward yourself? Treat yourself to it! After all, your well-being matters just as much as financial wellness.

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