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For millions of Americans, the Covid-19 pandemic was a financial shock.

While the federal government stepped in to help, those who were best poised to weather the crisis had emergency cash set aside.

Experts say having an emergency savings fund should be a top goal in order to be able to cushion an unexpected financial blow without going broke.

The ideal number to shoot for is at least three months to six months’ worth of living expenses, according to certified financial planner Ted Jenkin, CEO at Atlanta-based Oxygen Financial. If you’re more financially conservative, you may want to put a year’s worth away.

Yet finding that extra income may sound like a high hurdle, especially in an uncertain economy. The good news is that you may be able to set cash aside just by changing how you handle the resources you already have.

1. Reassess your credit card habits

2. Reduce your monthly bills

3. Put your money somewhere safe

Even with interest rates still at record lows, a savings account at an online bank or local community bank is still the best place to go to make sure you’ll be able to access the money when you need it, Jenkin said.

If you lose your job or start a business, you’re going to want quick access to your cash.

“You can’t afford to put it into crypto or the stock market,” Jenkin said. “Doing that over three or six months is gambling.”

4. Sell what you aren’t using

5. Pick up a side hustle

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