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Let’s say you are far away abroad in college as a needy student whose sole aim is to study hard and excel exceptionally well in academics and then an unexpected bill hits you in the face with no savings or money in your pocket. What would you do? Well, you will have no option that to be at the mercy of time and wait on a good Samaritan who might never show up.

That is why you need to start building an emergency fund as a college student with no excuses whatsoever. Emergencies can creep on anyone at any time. And as students, some of the emergencies you can’t foresee but commonly happen are sickness, armed attacks, and National emergencies [ as in the case of COVID-19 when all students were confined to their apartments ].

In those cases, you are restricted beyond your capability, and being in those situations with no saved-up money is just enough to make you want to quit school. But you can avoid that by following these top emergency fund-building strategies.

What Is an Emergency Fund and How Much Is it?

An emergency fund is a savings account you set aside for unforeseen or unexpected expenses. How this fund is spent differs from one student to another. A student can empty his emergency fund on non-essential expenses that hit him unexpectedly while for another student, it is solely and only for the essential unforeseen expenses.

How much emergency fund to have also differs from one student to the other depending on how much resources or income comes in. However, there are some metrics you can use to stay on target in proportion to your income.

As a student, it is highly advisable to set at least 3 months of emergency essential expenses budget. It can be non-college-related or college-related expenses, just make sure they are essential expenses, if not, you should use other saved-up funds rather than the emergency fund.

For example, if your total monthly essential expenses sum up to $1000, having a target of at least $3000 in your emergency fund is good. But of course emergency fund is not limited, you can save exceedingly above the 3 months point.

Now employ the following strategies in building an emergency fund as a college student and your future self will be proud of you.

4 Steps for Building an Emergency Fund as a College Student.

  1. Freelance On Campus

This is like getting a side hustle but in this case, you freelance jobs related to your course of study, hence using one stone on two birds: you are making money and at the same time building expertise. And also, because freelancing is a pay-per-task, you are very flexible on time.

Some of these jobs most on-campus students undertake are Online tutoring, Graphic Designing, Content Writing/Blogging, Freelance editors, and many more.

2. Hustle In The Summer

This is common with most of us. Unless you have classes in the summer, this will be a golden opportunity to make and save some money in your emergency fund. Summer breaks take approximately 2 to 3 months, imagine getting $500 per month hustle for the 3 months. You have saved half of your emergency fund already.

And if you can land a job that pays higher, you could be saving ‘all’ your target emergency fund savings and save yourself from having to work within classes on campus.

3. Sell Old Stuffs And Save The Money

Do you have a book, a handset, laptop that you are no longer using, you cut of the money you bought and put that money in your emergency fund. I once had two phones on campus, the second was a gift and better than mine. I quickly transferred my files and data onto the new one and sold it out.

You can also do the same with anything you are no longer using but it is on-demand on campus.

4. Automate Savings

As you make these earnings, having the money lying in your pocket while finding time to visit the bank can be risky. Set automatic transfers from your checking account to that savings account dedicated to emergency funds and demand your employers or customers pay you via transfer, bank, or wire.

With that, you won’t have to see nor touch the money and risk squandering it, it goes directly into your emergency fund.

You should also,

  • Establish a budget
  • Set realistic goals and
  • Prioritize Savings

With that done, what are some benefits or reasons every student should build an emergency fund and save funds? Well, there are enough to do that and a few among those are:

  • Peace Of Mind: Knowing you have a safe net somewhere brings peace of mind in times of uncertainty.
  • Independence: Having an emergency fund empowers you to handle emergencies independently. You won’t have to rely on people or end up accumulating debts.
  • Building Good Financial Habits: Establishing this habit of saving as early as college sets a solid foundation for your future financial success.


Building an emergency fund as a college student is a wise investment in your financial stability and peace of mind.
By understanding the importance of an emergency fund, following practical steps to save, and recognizing the broader benefits it offers, you can navigate unexpected financial challenges with confidence.

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