Invest Financial Planning

16 Women On Where They Keep Their Emergency Funds (and Why They Love HYSAs)

Christine Burke  |  July 13, 2020

Women dish on the savings vehicles they use to sock away their “rainy day” funds, and why high yield savings accounts are so choice. 

In a recent post, a member of our HerMoney Facebook community asked for some advice about what to do after her current bank dropped their annual percentage rate (APR) yet again. Not surprisingly, our members were quick to supply her with some pretty impressive money advice on everything from churning and stacking accounts, to info on where to snag the best annual percentage yield (APY) on high-yield savings accounts (HYSA). 

We know the smart and savvy women of the HerMoney group are always willing to spill the tea on one of our favorite topics: emergency funds. So I posed the following questions: 

Do you have an emergency fund? Where do you keep these funds?

We’ve heard a lot about HYSAs — if you have one, tell us why you love it! 

Here’s what they had to say: 


Looking for a new savings account? Compare high-yield saving accounts from our partner Fiona.

Bernadette C. “I had about $1500 in an emergency fund before the pandemic and never really worried about it because I have a Roth IRA and house downpayment fund to fall back on if needed. But everything going on scared me into action so I’ve been saving more and I just hit my 3 months of expenses mark this week! Feels good to have money just for this.”

Emily B.: “We have a small emergency fund and healthy sinking funds. We generally keep about $3k in checking, a month to a month and half in savings, and anything above that in a high yield savings. Interest rates keep dropping, but it’s still better than nothing! I’ve looked into CDs but their interest rates are comparable to HYSA and you generally have less flexibility. Someone mentioned using I-bonds, so I may look into that as well!”

Sonja T.: “I have about 6 months of living expenses in my credit union savings, and another 4 months in an American Express HYSA online. I’m building that one to the goal of one year of living expenses. My credit union offers ‘sub accounts’ within my savings, so I have sinking funds for vacation, property taxes, insurance, house maintenance, etc. The interest isn’t great at the CU, but the goal of that money is safety, not risk and growth.”

Laura Q.: “We have our investments with Betterment 90stocks/10bonds, HYSA (but now the % is so low…), our retirement, and then an ’emergency cushion’ in our checking [account]. I split it up so that we have 2 months of expenses in our emergency checking so if something did happen I would have space to breathe and not have to move things. Because of the nature of the emergency fund (hopefully that you never have to touch it), mine lives in the investment portfolio. If we did need to tap it though, I would pull it from the HYSA and then rebalance between that account and my investments as needed.”

Kimberly G.: “I honestly don’t have enough emergency savings. Tight times, 4 kids, single income household for over a decade. But it is a work in progress: $100 a month goes to the catastrophic loss of income fund.”

Megan H.: “I have a fund that I aim to have 6 months’ of income saved. I aim for it to be large enough that I could walk away from a toxic job and take a breather without a significant change in lifestyle. I use YNAB and thus view my liquid assets in the aggregate. I don’t use different accounts to segment money. However I do chase interest rates and churn bank bonuses to maximize the earn on my liquid assets. Even now the minimum APY I am earning in 2% and some funds are earning more than 6%. Occasionally I open a CD if I find a rate > the APYs I can find via more liquid accounts but it’s rare that CDs beat out what I’m getting.”

Megan J.: “I have my own personal emergency fund – it’s in a savings account with the same bank as my checking. It has about 3 months’ worth of expenses. I also have a stash of a couple hundred in cash in my house, just in case. My husband and I also have a joint savings that we use for household emergencies as well as vacations and saving for future expenses.”

Stella F.:  “I have a small emergency fund that is almost at $1,000 in a Betterment savings account that gets balanced automatically according to the market. I am 21 and unemployed due to COVID-19 but started working on this during my last year of college and am hoping to get it to 3-6 months of expenses once I have a stable job.” (Slow clap, Stella!)

Lisa B.: “Eight months of money in a credit union money market account, around 1.2%, I think. I Want to look at HYSA and just haven’t made the time. Sadly I have double that in a stupid savings account just sitting there earning zero. Ugh!”

Emily K.: “We always have a cushion in our checking of about 1 month of expenses, plus some cash in an envelope in a safe for immediate access and then keep the rest of our emergency fund in a HYSA.”

Heather S.: “I have an emergency fund at the credit union. I call it my ‘Swiss Bank Account.’ Every month I transfer $300 to it and, yes, that’s where the stimulus check went.”

Julie C.:  “We have a month’s worth of income as the buffer in our checking account and currently 1.5 months’ worth of expenses in our regular savings account with our bank. We have a separate checking account with our sinking funds for home repairs, stuff we’re saving toward, etc that we could also use if we needed to.”

April L. “I keep mine in a HYSA – Marcus by Goldman Sachs. Their interface is very easy to use, setting up an account does not require immediate funding, and their transfer time has been very quick.”

Julie D.:  “I have a small (~$1000) emergency fund. I know it isn’t much, but I have been focused on paying down other debts.”

Colleen C.: “I do have an emergency account of 3-months expenses at Ally. I am not up to moving around my money for a percentage or two at this point.”

Amanda N.: “Confession: I used my refund all up while unemployed June November 2019. I haven’t built it back up despite a global pandemic. I spent every penny of my $1,200 check on tipping 100% when eating out/ordering delivery/pickup.  But….. I have a goal of 3 months expenses. Regular expenses with all my creature comforts. I’ll put it in a standard savings account. Not sure I’d consider them high yield at this point.”

For more discussions like this, join us in our private, women-only Facebook group! It’s always a judgment-free zone!


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