You want to save money and build a financial safety net, but you can’t put good intentions in the bank.

You might feel that life is fighting against you and making it impossible to save money for an emergency. You’re not alone, and you’re likely one of about 55 million Americans who don’t have any emergency savings.

However, there is hope. There are certain strategies you can use to build your financial safety net. These are not quick tricks or “hacks.” They are proven strategies that require planning and discipline.

But, if you can stick with them, you will likely be rewarded with the peace of mind of a solid safety net.

Create a Realistic Budget

It all starts here. The act of stepping back and taking an honest look at your spending habits every month can be very eye-opening.

For example, a 2018 survey revealed that most respondents estimated that they spend about $79.74 every month on subscriptions like Netflix or Spotify. However, when they thoughtfully added it all up, it turns out they’re actually spending an average of $111.61.

The exercise of preparing a complete budget would help these people step back and discover this “missing” $30.00 every month.

You can’t live within your means if you don’t really know what your means truly are. But, preparing a budget can allow you to allocate a certain amount of money to save every month, while giving you the control over your finances to ensure the money is there to save.

Use Cash, Not Credit or Debt

As convenient as debit and credit cards are, they make it too easy to lose track of what you’re actually spending. This is why some financial experts recommend making your day-to-day purchases with cash.

There is a proven psychological effect of paying for things with tangible cash and actually seeing how much of it you’re using.

Giving yourself an allowance, so to speak, can help you stick to your budget.

Don’t Just Rely on Savings for Financial Emergencies

You might consider utilizing a line of credit as a financial safety net. A line of credit may give you revolving credit up to a certain amount and you can borrow and repay as you like.

This means you may not have to rely too heavily on your savings when financial emergencies come up.

If you have no credit, or if you have damaged credit, you may consider an online line of credit. Some lenders, including CreditFresh, look beyond subprime credit. These lenders look at your income and employment history to get a fuller picture of your finances—which may help you when securing a line of credit.

This may be an option for you, as traditional banks are heavily regulated and often have more strict lending criteria. To find out how else these online lines of credit work, learn more at CreditFresh today.

Get Insurance to Protect Yourself

One of the best strategies to protect yourself from unplanned expenses is ensuring that you’re not always paying out-of-pocket to deal with them.

For example, you may think about getting long-term disability insurance to help replace your income in the unfortunate event that you’re sick or injured and unable to work.

Consider the fact that if you saved 5% of your income each year, being out of work for 6 months would deplete 10 years’ worth of savings!

All of these tips can be helpful, but you need to expect that there will be setbacks along the way. This is why it may be better to work towards smaller, incremental goals.

Start by striving to save $1,000, then save a month’s pay, then 3 months, and then 6. But by focusing your sights first on something smaller, you can see results faster. And there’s nothing like a dollar sign to help keep you motivated to reach the next goal!