Whether you call it a "rainy day fund" or a "financial cushion", having some money set aside for emergencies or unexpected expenses can help keep life on an even keel.
Although health insurance and a homeowners' policy can provide a measure of protection, insurance deductibles can take a large bite out of your bank account.
In addition to all the predictable expenses that accompany home ownership, mechanical systems like furnaces, hot water heaters, and air conditioning units have a way of breaking down at the most inopportune times. Another crisis that many people aren't prepared for is the potential loss of a job. When families don't have money set aside to weather the storm of an unplanned income loss, then there's no "safety net" to cushion the fall.Strategies For Saving MoneyThe good news is that there are plenty of ways to build up financial reserves, but it often requires self discipline, a new set of habits, and the intention to make it happen. One of the first steps to putting some money aside for a rainy day is to open up a separate bank account. If you put extra money in your regular account -- or (even worse) keep it around the house -- chances are it will get spent pretty quickly. However, if it's deposited into a separate account that's designated for emergencies, unexpected household expenses, or even a college fund, then it'll stand a greater chance of being left alone until it's needed. Putting money aside does take some doing, but it can contribute to your family's financial security and ability to do things that are important to you.
If you have a tight budget, you're probably wondering where this extra money is going to come from! Sometimes, the very act of developing a written budget can provide you with clues and ideas for reducing your expenses. You'd also be amazed at how much the savings can add up when you comparison shop, buy in bulk, use coupons, negotiate lower interest charges on your credit cards, quit smoking, car pool to work, cut back on restaurant food, and make up your mind to live just a little more frugally.
Depending on how committed you are to creating a financial cushion, you could also make the fund grow faster by depositing a percentage of Christmas bonuses, tax refunds, manufacturer rebates, salary increases (raises), and other sources of extra income. Additional ways to beef up your financial safety net could include getting a part-time job, doing freelance work, holding a garage sale, or selling unwanted items through ads or flyers. When you pay off credit cards, car loans, or other debts, you could also redirect some or all of those monthly payments into your "future needs fund."
Whatever you decide to call it, it's nice to know that there's some extra money on hand for unexpected expenses, emergencies, potential job losses, college tuition, weddings, family vacations, home renovations, nursing home costs, or even retirement.
The price to see a major motion picture at a public theater has reached the point where you could easily spend $50 or more to treat a family of three teenagers and two adults to a show. That doesn’t include the costs of popcorn, pretzels and other movie theater refreshments. To counter rising ticket and refreshment prices, some homeowners are investing in a home theater. Yet, price isn’t the only reason to invest in a home theater. Five additional rewards that you may reap from having a home theater follow: Privacy – A home theater gives you the chance to kick off your shoes and enjoy a film while you're dressed in your comfortable pajamas or a rugged pair of jeans. Should you decide to text during a movie, you won't have to worry about anyone glancing at your messages. You’ll also have the privacy to sit where you want and get up as often as you want without stepping in front of strangers. Have it your way – If offerings like Prima Cinema take off, you may be able to watch recent movie releases in your home theater. Say good-bye to checking the Internet or newspaper to find out when the next showing of a movie you're excited about catching starts. Watch older movies on DVD or download a streamed episode of a TV show. Add 3D technology, Bluetooth and high definition DVD and video player features to your theater to bring movie images alive. Enjoy a home cooked meal – Forget snacking on pricey hot dogs, pizzas and cheese pretzels at a public theater. Barbecue or cook a savory home cooked meal and enjoy dining on the food in your private theater while you watch an entertaining movie on your personal wide screen. Get loud – Sound bars and bookshelf speakers can pump lots of clear sound into your theater. Hanging out with friends watching a sports game? Don’t think twice about cheering and laughing loudly as you celebrate scores and other game successes. Comfort – Home theater seats come in sets of two, four and up. There are several styles to choose from, including high back, leather and recliner styles. Some seats mirror living and dining room sectionals. Prop your feet up, lean back and get comfortable while watching a hit movie at home. There are several outlets that offer quality home theater equipment and accessories. Computer, electronics and home goods stores sell home theater products. Automobile detail shops also sell surround sound speakers for houses. Home theater festivals showcase equipment from a wide range of vendors. Try out products. Ask vendors to share details, including pricing, on their products. Check out items like mini amplifiers, channel receivers, subwoofers, projectors, wide screen televisions and floor speakers. Setting up a home theater can be complicated, depending on the type of equipment you purchase. Save yourself a headache and consider having a professional install your equipment. If you take this route, negotiate a lower price on the equipment to save on the combined supply and installation costs.