TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - A shocking number of Americans don't have even a few hundred dollars set aside for emergencies.
A federal reserve survey shows 46-percent of Americans do not even have $400 in cash to cover an emergency expense. Bankrate.com reveals more than half the U.S. wouldn't be able to handle a $500 expense.
"People just spend and spend," said Jonie Esposito. "And they have credit cards and they max themselves out."
"It's definitely more expensive for these younger people to live," Dan Ward rop, of Sylvania said. "And they aren't making the wages that
But Tony Camilleri, President of Fremont Federal Credit Union said it just comes down to discipline.
"People just don't realize how important it is just to have some savings-just for an emergency purpose," Camilleri said.
The average cost of a car repair in Ohio or Michigan is just under $400, at about $360. And for any of the 10 most common home repairs, you'll
need anywhere from $30, up to $1,500.
"You can't really plan those kinds of things. they just kind of happen to you," Toledoan Jon Contos said.
So how can you start your emergency fund?
Make a list of all of your income and expenses. And for a reality check, list every penny that you're spending-there's even an app for that.
Try "mint" or other apps to keep track of your income, bills, even credit score or tips to save.
"You'll be amazed at how much money your spending that you can cut out," Camilleri said.
He says a daily coffee run was costing one woman more than $60 a month. Make coffee at home and fill a cup with loose change instead.
"You'd be surprised. Even a coffee cup. You put enough quarters, nickels and dimes in there you can easily save $50."
Here's a couple other cut-it-out suggestions:
- pack instead of pay for lunches
- simplify the cell phone with a lower cost/more basic service.
- Ask for lower charges by calling your service companies to tell them you're thinking of switching.
You can also call your credit card companies to ask for lower interest rates.
Camilleri recommends paying off your credit cards before starting your savings. List your balances high to low and tackle the lowest balances first, not the highest interest.
Once lowest card paid off, take what you were paying on that and you'll have a larger payment to tackle the next one and so on.
You can even make your bank help you save. Ask them to automatically move some money to savings when your paycheck hits the account.
"Every paycheck I get, just kind of put $20, $30 away," Jon Contos said. "And then you have that money. And if you don't need it for a rainy
day, then you can use it for yourself. You know take yourself out to eat."
"Budget. you got to save for your old age. It really gets expensive," Ward rop said.
Whether age or emergency, now is the time to save.