Many Americans struggle to maintain emergency funds

By Jennifer Elizabeth Austin-Mathewson

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, July 1 2013 9:40 a.m. MDT

“By the time you wake up tomorrow, it won't matter whether you ate at a nice restaurant or went home and made Mexican ... except to your wallet,” he said.

He suggested planning purchases in advance, especially for smaller items.

“A new shirt here that you found funny but didn't need, a cool gizmo that you probably won't use often, or snack and dessert items can add up quickly if you buy them every week,” Ness said.

Actor Paul Cram said it was imperative that he cut out nonessentials since his work comes in stints. He had to learn to say “no” to going out to dinner with friends.

“When I am working as an actor, the pay is really good, but sporadic,” Cram said. “Planning out the budget I needed was the easy part. The hard part was being able to save up that much money while still covering all of my monthly expenses. (But) I am surprised actually with how quickly one can save money. All of those small things that I was spending on, a cup of coffee here, a shirt on sale, once I stopped doing that, I was able to save up the three months’ emergency fund rather quickly.”

Stanley said it took discipline to not buy a new car or update her furniture, but in the end, it was worth it. Three years after she began her journey to fund her savings account, her partner, John, has helped her with utilities and rent — making it easier for her to put extra money aside.

Jennifer Elizabeth Austin-Mathewson is a multimedia journalist, youth motivational speaker and author. She is the mother of four rambunctious boys, which includes her German shepard, Ruger.

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