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An emergency fund cushions you against surprise financial setbacks. Use our emergency fund calculator below to help you pinpoint your savings goal.
How much to save in your emergency fund
Sudden car repairs, medical emergencies or job loss can all lead to unexpected debt if you're not prepared. How much emergency fund should you have? It's difficult to predict how much these or other emergencies could cost — but three to six months' worth of expenses is a good goal.
If that seems too steep, start with a number that seems more reasonable. For example, having access to $500 in a savings account could help pay for a surprise car repair or medical bill without debt, so that could be a goal. If you put $10 a week into savings and don’t have to dip into the funds, it’ll add up to more than $500 after a year.
Keep in mind that it’s ok if you have to use the funds for emergencies before you reach your first goal. An emergency fund is meant to be tapped and replenished. After you reach your first goal, you can set another one to be prepared for more unexpected expenses later.
For inspiration and tips, learn more about how to save money.
If you need more info, here's our emergency fund explainer.
Where to stash your emergency fund
Once you have a target, find a savings account with a competitive interest rate where you can store your cash. (See some of NerdWallet's favorite online savings accounts.)
A savings account is the best place to keep your emergency fund — it provides easy access to cash if you need it. And a high-yield savings account will help you grow your balance by paying a higher-than-average interest rate.
» Find high rates across checking, savings and other accounts in NerdWallet's list of high-interest accounts.