Start an Emergency Fund Today!

Imagine everything in your life is going along fine, you are making just enough money to pay all of your monthly bills, and a little left over for spending - then tragedy strikes and you end up using your bill money to pay for it. Before you know it, you are behind on your rent or mortgage. You start receiving demanding late letters in the mail, phone calls from creditors, and your credit score takes a nose dive. All of that could have been avoided if you had set up an emergency fund in advance.

But how do you save when all you have is a few dollars left over for spending after you pay your monthly bills? It's actually easier than you think, and following three, crafty money saving tips could save you well over $200 per month. 

1. Only Buy Things That Are On Sale

Everyone loves a sale! But most of the stuff you WANT to buy is hardly ever marked down, which is why you must focus on what you NEED to buy, and only when it's on sale; this will also help you avoid impulse shopping. It takes a bit of work, and will require you to use store circulars, browse the web, cut coupons, and use shopping apps before heading to the store. In order to save money with sales, you will have to be okay with buying store brand items which use the same ingredients as the premium brands, or switching brands altogether. Buying things only when they are on sale, whether it's groceries, clothing or electronics, can easily save you over $80 per month.

2. Eliminate One Meal Out Per Week

Whenever we read tips about saving money, we are told to stop dining out - which is the most unrealistic advice given about the subject, and part of the reason why people often fail at budgeting. You will be hard pressed to find anyone okay with cooking every meal, every single day of the year. Instead of vilifying dining out, lets embrace it, yet curb the amount of times per week that we partake in this extravagance. Cutting eating one meal out per week can save $60-$80 per month.   

3. Give Up A Vice

This one is tough because vices are sometimes just the thing we need to get through a difficult month. Soft drinks, tobacco, gambling, even coffee can become addicting and cause us to spend way more money than we should be spending. Healthy alternatives can be the cost-saving solution you need to finally kick the habit. 

- Try sparkling, flavored seltzer water or fruit-infused ice water instead of soda. Not only will you save close to $50 per month, your body will feel better too. 

- Smoking is so twenty years ago. Not only is it out of style, it's very expensive and it's killing you! Try a cheaper alternative like vaping where you can create DIY e-liquids, or even taking up a fun way to exercise like hiking or belly dancing. The best part, saving over $700 per month! YES $700!

- Seeing a commercial for the latest Mega Millions Pick 6 is enticing, or maybe throwing a $20 in the slot machine seems harmless - at the end of the day, you have better odds for making real money by investing than playing the lottery. 

- The average American worker spends over $50 per month on coffee. And you're probably not ready to give up on this delicious lifesaver, but there are frugal alternatives that will help you save instead of spend.

By following the above mentioned tips, you will have the extra cash to start an emergency fund in no time. A good way to watch your fund grow is by meticulously keeping track of your savings and depositing that money into a high-yield, online bank account that is separate from your regular checking account.