Pennies from Heaven

How to Create a “Mom’s Emergency Fund”

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3 simple ways to create a Mom's emergency fund

When I was growing up, finances were always tight.  There was often too much month at the end of the money.  And the paycheck to paycheck living thing 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 or a splurge was in order.  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! 

By the way, I am not saying that this small  emergency fund should take the place of your family’s emergency fund.  It is recommended by Dave Ramsey (and lots of other financial advisors) that you start with a baby emergency fund of $1000 for your family and work on building it 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}

And 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 without any questions asked, without impunity.  This 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 on this blog 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 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.”

3 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).  And 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.  And 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).   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!

Digit I started using a program to save little by little about 6 months ago.  I have a goal in mind that will require more than just an emergency fund to take care of, so I have kept the program going.  But if you are looking for a simple, painless (and secure) way to save up a little bit at a time, you might want to try Digit.  This program involves you giving it permission to monitor a checking or savings account and take out small (tiny if you want them to be) amounts of money based on your usage of the funds in that account.  You can increase or decrease the savings at any time.  Or you can pause it altogether.   They update you on your phone every couple of days about your bank balance and the savings you are accumulating each month.    It really does most of the work of saving for you.


To get your money out of Digit, you designate an account for it to go to.  So, when you have your “Mom’s emergency fund” goal amount, request for it to be deposited into your bank account and go withdraw it from the bank.  It really is so easy!


These simple ways to save up for your own personal rainy day fund may take a little bit of 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? 

simple ways to save for mom's emergency fund - a little something for a rainy day or a splurge - love these creative ideas!


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  • Reply June Dees July 2, 2016 at 1:55 PM

    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.

  • Reply 6 Surprisingly Simple Steps to Save $10,000 in ONE Year - The Soccer Mom Blog February 28, 2018 at 10:18 AM

    […] a “Mom Emergency Fund” –  Simple Home […]

  • Reply Danielle January 3, 2019 at 6:24 PM

    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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