An emergency fund takes time and discipline to build, but you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to learn how to track your expenses and save money. Some simple calculations will help you determine what you are able to save each month, and as a result, how long it will take to build an emergency fund.

Here are some basic steps to get there:

  1. Start by saving $1,000. That is enough to distance you a bit from paycheck to paycheck living. Sell whatever you can, work some side gigs, do anything possible to reach this step as soon as you are able.
  2. Then, continue on until you have one full month’s expenses saved. This doesn’t mean one month of income, but rather mandatory expenses that will occur in a given month.
  3. Next, add a second, and then a third month, at which point you will have attained what most experts consider a minimally acceptable emergency fund. Six months is considered ideal if you are able.

Statistically speaking, only 1 in 4 Americans have an adequate emergency fund. Furthermore, a full 1 in 4 Americans have no emergency fund at all. So it is clear that more Americans need to focus on completing this financial task. But how does one practically accomplish this?

  1. Find out how much you need.
  2. Use direct deposit.
  3. Lower your monthly budget.
  4. Pick up side-hustles.

Also, before beginning, consider this emergency fund checklist:

  1. Have 3-6 months living expenses.
  2. Keep it in a non-easily-accessible account.
  3. Let it earn interest at low risk.
  4. Reserved for emergencies only.