How to Create a “Mom’s Emergency Fund”


even on a tight budget, these simple ideas for creating a "Mom's Emergency Fund" are doable - having a little something for a rainy day

When I was growing up, finances were always tight.  There was often too much month at the end of the money.  Paycheck to paycheck living was a reality in our lives.  I learned a lot about God’s provision being always what we needed and always on time.  But there is one other thing I always remember.  Something that gives me a chuckle even to this day.

My mom always (and I mean always) had a secret stash in her purse.

It wasn’t a lot of money.  It wasn’t where you could find it easily.  It was her own private emergency fund. Tucked away for when the month was too long for the money, she was always ready.  It was usually about $10.  Sometimes, it was $20!  And it was somehow always there.

Mom was a wise one, she was!

And now that I am a mom and wife myself, I have a tendency to have a little something for a rainy day in my purse, too! 

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What is a Mom’s Emergency Fund?

By the way, I am not saying that this small mom’s emergency fund should take the place of your family’s emergency fund.  Dave Ramsey and other financial advisors recommend you start with a baby emergency fund of $1000 for your family. Then work on building the family emergency fund up to 3-6 months of expenses.  

In our house, my husband likes to have an emergency fund for the emergency fund for the emergency fund.  And I like to have my little “Mom’s Emergency Fund.”   Having something tucked away in my purse for when the urge to Starbucks strikes – you know the serious emergencies! {ha}

Also I am not taking my Mom’s Emergency Fund from my “play money.”  We have what we call “play money” set aside each month for each member of our family that can be spent on anything the person wants. No questions asked – without impunity.  This “play money” is separate from my little stash I have in my purse for emergencies.

 It can be hard when you are on a tight budget to put aside money for a rainy day, but I stand by the idea of having a small emergency fund close at hand.

The question is, how do I start one?

The Fastest Way to an Emergency Fund

I have already shared our plan to save up for big purchases fast before.  With it we have purchased a number of big-ticket items and I am constantly amazed at how God has provided for us through this simple plan of stewardship.  

Following this $5 method is one really quick way to start an emergency fund in your purse.   But the fund still won’t be your secret stash.  If you are really on a budget and sharing with your partner every dollar, you may have a hard time pocketing $20 without feeling it.  You would have to negotiate with your partner setting aside some of this cash as your “Mama’s Emergency Fund.”

Simple, Slow Ways to Stash Some Cash

Pay yourself what you pay your kids  

I got this idea a little while back as we started a “chore” system for our girls.  They are pretty young and the amounts of money they get for helping around the house are quite small.  And one day I was thinking about how this homemaking thing doesn’t exactly pay a lot of money. OK, no money.

 I got the bright idea to pay myself what I pay the girls for their “chores.”  The times where they are not helping me with those tasks or when they are not around to help, I help myself to the earnings they would have gotten.  

The going rate around here for a load of laundry is 20 cents.  The amount of loads of laundry I do each week starts to add up quite a bit.  I can simply take what I have “earned” and turn it into a $5 bill to tuck away for when I really need it.

Keep the change  

Another way to make small wins add up fast in our house is to keep the change from the transactions we do when shopping.  Typically, all of our change goes into a jar and we cash it out periodically. When it gets to the top we take it to the bank.  

When I do the shopping, I “pay myself” the change.  I simply put it in my own pocket (or change purse) and fill a separate container with my change.  This change, too, can add up fast; giving me a completely painless way to create my “Mom’s emergency fund.”   Once I have my goal amount in coins, I simply take it to my bank and cash it in for paper money.  Into the secret hiding place it goes!

Use Rewards Apps when Shopping and Keep the Benefits

My husband recently signed up for Get Upside, an app that gives you cashback when you shop for gas. I didn’t pay much attention to it because I drive a Hybrid, barely requiring gas.

I was doing some research the other day about simple ways to earn money and asked him if that app he was talking about was Get Upside. It was! I asked him how it was going using it. He only uses it when he buys gas and he has had it for about a month. His current earnings are over $8!

I went ahead and downloaded it to my phone to discover they also include restaurants and grocery stores in the cashback. My local Gelson’s gives back 18%!

Get Upside is not attached to your credit or debit card. All you have to do to get the cashback is “claim” your offer and snap a picture of your itemized receipt. Once you have accrued $15, upon your request, they will transfer your cash to your PayPal account for free. There is a fee of $1 for PayPal transfers under $15.

Because it is not attached to your credit or debit card, you can still take advantage of any cashback offers you have through those companies. Win, win!

Use my invite code: D6ZYK to get 30 cents/gallon on your first transaction. Get 15 cents/gallon back for each transaction thereafter.

Other Rewards Apps I Use

There are lots of options out there for rewards apps. These are the ones I actually use and have found value in. It takes time to use these apps, so take that into account when you are signing up.


These simple ways to save up for your own personal rainy day fund may take time to accumulate, but you will be so happy to have that little bit of cash tucked away when you really need it!

Do you have a “Mom’s Emergency Fund?”  How did you create it? 

even on a tight budget, these simple ideas for creating a "Mom's Emergency Fund" are doable - having a little something for a rainy day

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. June Dees

    such a great ideal loved the fact that I could put a little back ,back in the day ,always made me feel good that I had it , so when we needed it , it was there.

  2. Danielle

    I love the idea of paying yourself for chores. Our kids get an allowance now and they get paid for completing certain tasks for the day. Some children are better than others at completing their tasks, so there are times when I definitely fill the gap to keep on top of things. Plus, if I get paid for completing my own chores, I think I might actually be more motivated to do them all… it’d be kind of embarrassing if Mom didn’t get her work done!

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