Smart SpendingSmart Spending

A practically painless way to build a financial cushion

One hour's pay out of every paycheck will add up fast.

By Donna_Freedman Nov 2, 2009 1:01AM

You know you should be building an emergency fund. Yet somehow there's too much month left at the end of your money.

A Smart Spending message board reader posting as "Eek17" suggests a fairly simple way to set aside some cash: Save one hour's pay out of every paycheck. 

"I have built up a nice EF this way. It's easy, convenient and I don't miss that small amount out of my check," the reader notes in a general frugality thread

You could have your bank withdraw that amount from checking each payday or, better yet, get an online bank account to do it. Accessing cash from an online account takes several days, whereas at a brick-and-mortar bank you can simply pull out your ATM card.

I set up monthly automatic withdrawals and Eek17 is right: I don't miss it. Well, actually, I do miss it -- but I've learned to live on what's left. Maybe you could, too. If all that's being taken out is one hour's pay, you probably can. This might mean a couple fewer treats during each pay period, but I bet you can learn to live without those, too.

Incidentally, I do keep some money in a bank savings account, for irregular expenses such as car repair or illness. Most of my funds, however, are salted away online where I can't get at them easily.

Readers, tell us: What kinds of (practically) painless ways do you save, and how do you stay motivated?

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Published Feb. 23, 2009


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