The top 10 best and worst metro areas to save for a rainy day

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When it comes to emergency savings, you may feel like you never have enough.

When you think of the many financial setbacks that can occur in this day and age, having a rainy day fund should be non-negotiable in U.S. households. Still, as a recent study highlighted, 42% of Americans have less than $1,000 stashed away.

See the top 10 cities where your dollar does the most — and the least

If you think your location matters when it comes to your ability to save money, new findings give credence to that. Bankrate.com recently looked at the top metropolitan areas where it would be easiest to build an six-month emergency fund.

Taking into consideration such factors as the average cost of necessities and median after-tax household income, Kansas City, Missouri, came out on top as the city where your savings go the furthest, according to Bankrate.com.

An average Kansas City family of four bringing in about $51,000 a year could save up to $12,191 annually. That represents 63% of the savings of $19,443 it would take to pay their expenses over six months, according to the findings.

Here are the top 10 cities where it’s easiest to build an emergency fund


Rank
Metro statistical area Annual savings potential Six-month emergency fund Percentage achieved
1 Kansas City, MO-KS $12,191 $19,443 63%
2 Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN $11,231 $19,897 56%
3 Memphis, TN-MS-AR $9,348 $16,638 56%
4 Columbus, OH $10,431 $20,255 52%
5 St. Louis, MO-IL $10,054 $19,570 51%
6 Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD $13,127 $25,584 51%
7 Pittsburgh, PA $8,894 $18,485 48%
8 Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN $8,789 $18,561 47%
9 Raleigh, NC $10,675 $23,822 45%
10 Oklahoma City, OK $7,787 $18,203 43%
Note: Annual savings potential is a yearly estimate of essential personal expenses. Six-month emergency fund is an estimate of what you need in savings for financial security. Percent achieved is how much a particular city’s annual savings potential covers your emergency fund savings goal.

“There’s a reason millions of Americans struggle to save; the numbers for average folks in a lot of cities simply don’t add up,” the study brings out. “While the economy continues to expand after the Great Recession, wages are simply rising too slowly to keep pace with living costs. Those struggling to save need to figure out where they can cut back so they’re able to sock away six months’ worth of essential expenses. For most people, that’s housing. It also means looking at your career from a different perspective. Financial security and a large income are not the same thing.”

At the other end of the totem pole, San Jose, California, came in as the city where it’s hardest to save.

Here are the cities where it’s hardest to build an emergency fund


Rank
Metro statistical area Annual savings potential Six-month emergency fund goal Percentage achieved
41 Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV ($1,337) $23,902 (6%)
42 Riverside-San Bernadino-Ontario, CA ($1,796) $25,670 (7%)
43 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA ($2,321) $27,708 (8%)
44 Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH ($7,787) $35,326 (22%)
45 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-N.J.-PA ($13,013) $34,231 (38%)
46 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FLA ($11,565) $26,666 (43%)
47 San Diego-Carlsband, CA ($18,648) $37,862 (49%)
48 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($33,440) $51,648 (65%)
49 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($27,729) $39,947 (69%)
50 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($49,228) $67,342 (73%)
Note: Annual savings potential is a yearly estimate of essential personal expenses. Six-month emergency fund is an estimate of what you need in savings for financial security. Percent achieved is how much a particular city’s annual savings potential covers your emergency fund savings goal.

Money expert Clark Howard has made it his life’s work to show you how to be frugal and save enough money for your golden years.

“Start saving in small increments, increase by 1% every six months,” he says. “The two yearly time changes [when Daylight Savings Time starts and ends] could serve as time markers to step up savings just 1%.”

If you don’t have an emergency fund, it may be tempting to rely on credit cards, but that could come back to bite you. Here are three other ways to save:

3 ways to save money right now

Track your spending: It’s really easy to spend money on small things ‘ fast food, vending machines, etc. ‘ but that money can add up. That’s why it’s important to create a budget. That way, you can easily identify ways to save.

Haggle, haggle, haggle: Most consumers don’t know it but, a large amount of things you pay for can be negotiated. Clark says the key to haggling is doing your homework ahead of time. “That’s because haggling is really much more about price-matching, rather than ”˜Can you do better?” Clark says.

Audit your bills: There may be some opportunities to save money by scrutinizing your monthly bills. Mint.com is an app that can help you not only identify overspending, it can also negotiate some of your utility bills.

RELATED: The 7 best money-saving tips for 2018

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Craig Johnson is a conscious money-saver who still reads paperback books and listens to vinyl. He likes to write about how technology is making things easier and more affordable — but also sometimes more dangerous — for the modern consumer. You can reach Craig at [email protected]
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