3 Questions to Ask Before Using Your Emergency Fund

3 Questions to Ask Before Using Your Emergency Fund

Stay on budget and work the Baby Steps long enough, and you’ll understand the power of building your emergency fund.

After all, stuff happens. And an emergency fund offers peace of mind when the circumstances of life get a bit—or a lot—chaotic.

Because of your hard work, you might be sitting on a hot $1,000—or upwards of $15,000—ready whenever you need it. Sounds good, right? And it is!

But here’s the dilemma: An emergency fund piling up in the bank and sitting month after month can start to feel less like security and more like a bonus. The lines between emergency needs and urgent wants can begin to blur a bit. We’ve all be there!

So today we’re offering a litmus test of sorts: Three questions you can ask to determine if your stated emergency actually warrants a visit to the emergency fund. We’ll also talk about a few quick fixes to clear up any emergency fund confusion in the future.

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Spring Cleaning Tips to Save You Money

Spring Clean Your Budget

As the great Russian author Leo Tolstoy once said, “Spring is the time of plans and projects.” It’s so true. The birds start singing, the buds start blooming, and the budgeters start looking for new ways to meet those money goals.

Something about the newness in nature this season gets us all in the mood to clear out the old. But spring-cleaning isn’t just for the house. You can spring-clean your budget as well. Give it a good once-over to see where you can save more money and stop bad habits.

This type of cleaning will get your budget working even better, making you a happier budgeter. Let’s get happy. Let’s get cleaning. 

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The Complete Guide to Saving Money: Our 75 Favorite Tips Ever

The Complete Guide to Saving Money: Our 75 Favorite Tips—Ever!

If learning how to save money were a sport, reading this post would feel like cheating. Why? Because we have so many money-saving tips packed into one place! If you follow enough of these, you will win with money. And because we know you aren’t here for a gripping introduction, we won’t stretch out the beginning. Let’s get right to the savings tips.

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How to Save $100 or More at Grocery Stores

How to Save $100 or More at Grocery Stores

It happens to all of us: You’re staring down an open fridge door with these words stammering through your tired brain, What on earth will I make for dinner? At this point, either everything or nothing looks good. You end up tossing together what you call a “one-pot wonder,” knowing it would make Gordon Ramsay burst into fury. Or more often than not, you throw in the kitchen towel and run to the nearest burger hut.

At the end of the month, despite the lack of food in the fridge, your grocery budget is still absolutely annihilated. How does it happen? Why does it keep happening?

We know! It’s because you don’t have a plan. But don’t worry. We’ve got so many plans, and we want to help!

Let’s start with this: We’ll show you how to save major cash on groceries each month. The next 11 tips will help you spend better, save more, and eat well. 

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How to Avoid Pesky Overdraft Fees

How to Avoid Pesky Overdraft Fees

Kathy thought her husband deposited a $1,500 check earlier in the day. So she bought $200 worth of groceries and unknowingly sent her account into the red.

Her bank “covered” the transaction with overdraft protection, but then they charged her a $35 fee.

Overdraft protection sounds like a good thing, but it’s actually a high-interest loan. And banks are making some serious money from the practice. Last year alone, the nation’s biggest banks earned more than $11 billion in overdraft and nonsufficient funds fees, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

When you add up these poorly timed grocery runs (or online orders or coffee breaks), Americans are paying out billions to banks each year! So what can you do about it? Plenty. Here are some easy action steps to keep your account in the clear:

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