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Emergency Fund Calculator


  • Creating an emergency fund is crucial for financial stability.
  • By having this type of safety net, you can reduce your chances of going into debt due to unexpected situations like job loss or medical emergencies.
  • As a general rule of thumb, an emergency fund should have 3-6 months worth of living expenses.
  • When calculating how much you should have in your emergency fund, you need to consider factors such as your rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, food expenses and more.
  • You can use our emergency fund calculator to estimate how much money you should have saved for emergencies depending on your monthly living expenses.

Creating a safety net is of the utmost importance for any sort of financial stability. A nest egg of available capital will protect you from unfortunate surprises. This includes suddenly finding yourself unemployed, suffering a medical emergency or expensive home repairs. This will help you avoid taking out a high-interest loan or relying on debt-inducing credit cards.

In this article, we will break down the basics of using an emergency fund calculator and calculating just how much you would need in a financial emergency. All of this will guide you to being financially stable and free from the headache of money-based stress.

Emergency Fund Calculator

Depending on your individual needs, a 3-month emergency fund or a 6-month emergency fund may be a better fit for you. Using the fields below, enter your estimated monthly expenses to calculate how much you should save for a 3-6 month emergency fund.

Estimated amount needed for a 3-month emergency fund
Estimated amount needed for a 6-month emergency fund

How do I calculate my emergency fund amount?

How much you should have in your emergency fund will vary from person to person.

This will reflect your general monthly outgoings; the number of people, such as children or other unemployed family members, who rely on your income; and risks to your employment or health.

The following points will break down what you should consider when calculating your emergency fund amount.


Total your essential monthly expenses.

Before using the emergency fund calculator, it’s important to understand your essential monthly expenses. Having an idea of what you’re spending every month will help you calculate a figure that will cover you in an emergency. So, what factors do you need to consider? The most important figures are those that will directly affect your way of life. How much are your rent or mortgage payments every month? How much do you need to comfortably pay your utility bills? What are your outgoings on food, transportation and insurance payments? Once you have calculated this final monthly figure, it’s advisable to multiply it by between three and six. This will finally give you an emergency fund figure that will last three to six months. It’s advisable to set aside as much as you can reasonably afford.

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Assess your risks.

Although you may have an idea of your standard monthly outgoings, life often blindsides you with financially damaging surprises. This being the case, it’s important to assess your risks and factor them into your emergency fund. For example, do you have children? Childcare can be famously expensive and can create financial surprises out of nowhere. It’s advisable to add a certain percentage of cash to your emergency fund for every child in your care. Another common risk you should be aware of is the stability of your employment. Those in temporary employment or a role with fluctuating hours should consider adding a little more to their emergency fund just in case. Finally, it is not uncommon for families to have members who are chronically ill or require frequent medical attention. If this is the case, extra funds should be considered in case the worst should happen. Understanding your own unique risks is essential in calculating the amount you need in your emergency fund.

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Marital status

The larger a family, the larger your monthly expenses will be. On the other hand, households that have two combined incomes will do slightly better if an emergency fund is required. Calculating you and your spouse’s combined monthly income will provide a better overall picture of your emergency fund needs and your ability to save the funds in the first place.

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Having your monthly outgoings, such as bills or bank statements, to hand will help you understand your monthly payments if you don’t already have an idea of what you spend.

Why do I need an emergency fund?

Reduce the likelihood of debt

With an emergency fund, you should be able to escape the pains and stresses of getting into debt. Without an emergency fund, you are far more likely to take out high-interest loans, borrow money from fellow family members or rack up debt on credit cards. The advantage of an emergency fund is the ability to replenish the funds in your own time and without the added problem of paying interest.

You are protected should you become unemployed

If you find yourself unexpectedly unemployed, an emergency fund allows you the freedom to cover any bills and expenses. Additionally, it also provides you with the rare opportunity to seek out a new role without rushing into the first job available just to pay the bills.

Protect against a failing business

Similarly to those who are employed by others, business owners or those who are self-employed often earn a living on the thinnest of margins. Having an emergency fund can protect you from the crushing surprise of having your business fail or a forced closure.

Face any unexpected tax burden

Tax season can bring with it the fear of being hit with a large tax bill. As the majority of tax debts have to be paid in a single payment, an emergency fund can protect you when the IRS comes calling.

How much money should I have in my emergency fund?

Although there is no set rule for the amount of money you should have in an emergency fund, experts recommend saving between three to six months in living expenses.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure of the exact number, as our emergency fund calculator can help you find a number that works for you and help you reach your end goal.

Don’t worry if you’re too busy to dedicate the time to calculate the exact number. You can start by simply saving a set amount of money from each paycheck, even if it’s something as little as $100 – making a start on saving is what’s important.

Where should I keep my emergency fund?

Knowing where to keep your emergency fund is key to its overall success.

You should strike a balance between accessibility and stability. It is inadvisable to keep your emergency fund in something as unstable as stocks or as inaccessible as your home value. On the other hand, keeping your emergency fund in a checking account is also not the best way forward, as accessibility will make it too easy to spend and difficult to keep track of.

Somewhere between easy access and stability is a savings account. This will allow you to have your emergency fund in a separate account from your regular spending money. The advantages of a high-yield savings account include the ability to increase your balance by high-interest rates and the overall safety net of not accidentally spending the money from this account.

How to start and build an emergency fund

Emergency fund alternatives

We are all too aware that the mountain of a large emergency fund is a hard climb. Financial surprises can come out of nowhere and we often have to look for emergency fund alternatives.

Here is a quick list of alternatives if an emergency should arise.

Our top picks for savings accounts


How much should I have in an emergency fund?

Most experts think that you should set aside around 3 to 6 months’ living expenses for emergencies. Calculate this by estimating how much you spend on essentials like housing, utilities, food, health insurance, transportation, and other monthly expenses you can’t avoid. This way you’ll be covered for a while if the worst happens.

What is the best place to keep my emergency fund?

A savings account is the best place to keep money you don’t want to spend, as they get your money working for you while you’re not using it. Avoid high-yield savings accounts with a fixed minimum term, however, as you never know when you’re going to need your emergency fund and you don’t want to lose a portion of it by being hit with an early withdrawal fee.

Is $10,000 enough for an emergency fund?

How much you need for your emergency fund will depend on your circumstances. If your essential monthly expenses (i.e. rent, utilities, food, etc.) are high, $10,000 probably won’t cover you for the recommended 3-6 months’ expenses that experts recommend setting aside. Calculate how much you spend each month on essentials and multiply that by at least 3 if you want to have some financial security in case of an emergency.

LA Times Compare Team
LA Times Compare Team

The comparison team is a proud partner of LA Times and is a combination of expert writers, editors, and contributors specially selected for their extensive experience writing and working in the financial industry. Every article written is thoroughly researched, edited, reviewed, and then fact-checked by a third party before publication to ensure you receive accurate information.