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It finally happened: You had a major home repair, a car fix or other big expense take you by surprise. But because of good planning, you were able to cover the cost immediately thanks to your emergency fund .

It can come as a relief to know that your emergency fund did its job. But at the same time, it can sometimes leave you feeling guilty for dipping into the account and even overwhelmed by the thought of having to build it back up again.

“A savings account is designed to be spent,” said Derek Ripp, a Certified Financial Planner and Partner at Austin Wealth Management . “If clients use the money in their emergency fund for a surprise expense, that’s okay because that’s what it’s there for. Life happens and we can’t predict the impact. Try not to feel guilty about that.”

While using your emergency fund can be bittersweet, it’s important to start rebuilding the account as soon as you can. Below, Select breaks down a few things to keep in mind when doing so.

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Our best selections in your inbox. Shopping recommendations that help upgrade your life, delivered weekly. Sign-up here . Prioritize your emergency fund

It can be easy to feel that your expenses are often competing with your financial goals. Maybe an emergency expense came along right when you were ramping up your efforts to start investing more or when you were finally starting to grow your savings to buy a home . So, can you (and should you) rebuild your emergency fund and go after other large financial goals at the same time?

If you’ve used most of your emergency fund it’s important to prioritize building it back up so that it’s fully funded again. This may mean hitting pause on some other financial actions you’ve been taking, but remember that a substantial emergency fund can help you avoid going deeper into debt to cover the next surprise cost. Otherwise, you may be forced to sell an investment to afford the expense, or take on a loan or other debt that you can’t afford to shoulder at the moment.

“Unfortunately, if you don’t have the emergency reserve but more unexpected expenses come up, you’re digging yourself deeper into the hole, which means spending more [on] credit cards and even withdrawing from your retirement funds.” Ripp explained.

To figure out what a fully funded emergency account looks like for you, you’ll want to total up all your necessary monthly expenses — including rent, food, bills, loan repayments and insurance (exclude leisurely expenses) — and multiply that total by the number of months you want your fund to cover. So if you spend $2,000 per month on all your necessary expenses and want a six-month emergency fund, you’ll need to have $12,000 in the account in order to consider it fully funded.

If you don’t keep your emergency fund in a high-yield savings account you may want to consider moving it to one. High-yield savings accounts, like the ones from Marcus by Goldman Sachs and Ally Bank , allow you to earn a little more interest on your balance every month compared to what you would get by keeping your money in a traditional savings account. This way, your money can grow (albeit slowly) and still be easily accessible when you need it. Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings

Learn More

Information about the Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the bank prior to publication. Goldman Sachs Bank USA is a Member FDIC. Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

0.50%

Minimum balance

None to open; $1 to earn interest

Monthly fee

None Maximum transactions Up to 6 free withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle *The 6/statement cycle withdrawal limit is waived during the coronavirus outbreak under Regulation D Excessive transactions fee None Overdraft fees N/A Offer checking account? No Offer ATM card? No Terms apply. Ally Bank Online Savings Account Learn More Annual Percentage Yield (APY) 0.50% Minimum balance None Monthly fee No monthly maintenance fee Maximum transactions Up to 6 free withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle *The 6/statement cycle withdrawal limit […]

source How do you rebuild an emergency fund after you’ve used most of the money?

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