~59% of Americans do not have $500-$1,000 to cover an emergency (Bankrate). They would have to put on a credit card or borrow from family/friends. Very uncomfortable position. Been there. How did I get free from those worries?
Any savings is better than none. Start small. Can you spend $5 - $20 less per week? What are you paying for you don’t need? What can you sell you don’t need anymore? Use the freed up income to start.
Spending less than you earn reduces your stress. Stash the cash separate from your spending money so not tempted to spend it. Windfalls go here too. The act of having to transfer the money discourages blowing it.
Put the surplus in a separate account once you have enough. Have a credit union savings account in addition to bank checking & savings accounts. This is where my fund goes separate from monthly expenses. If you are just starting out recommend you get a credit union checking and savings accounts. Put basic expenses plus entertainment spending in checking. Then deposit surplus into savings.
I use one account for Vacations, Christmas Shopping, Emergencies, Home Maintenance and Car Replacement. Not a strict budget. This year creating a HSA account for medical, but the same savings account covers any excess bills.
My budget is rule of thumb based. When my car payment was over, the same amount transferred into savings. Covers car replacement and repairs on older car. If was still paying for car, use to budget $100 per month. Clothes wear out or have to be replaced. Use my monthly average for last year’s spending. Gifts are number you buy for times people buying for. (Not an extravagant giver) Home ownership requires maintenance, so my parents budgeted an extra mortgage payment to cover improvements & repairs. This is my minimum goal for year divided by # paychecks. Simple, but works.
Most of us get a raise every year. My raises get split between increasing 401k contributions, increasing savings, charity donations, and covering increasing costs. If you move it before you see it, you won’t miss spending it.
Took me years to get ahead. Don’t be afraid to start today. Peace of mind is worth it.