What is A Rainy Day Savings Account?

dog cuddling on a rainy day

A rainy day savings account isn’t just a turn of phrase your grandmother used to use. It’s an insulating layer between you and unexpected expenses. Think of it as your “Oh EXPLETIVE!” account: a buffer of funds to help soften the blow when stuff unexpectedly hits the fan, which it inevitably will.

What is a rainy day savings account for?


  • Unplanned car/home repairs.
  • Medical deductibles.
  • Unexpected medical or dental bills, like an ER visit
  • Or really anything that could happen that has the potential to wipe out your checking account

A rainy day fund is not the same as an emergency fund. While an emergency fund (ideally) contains at least 3-6 months of living expenses, a rainy day fund is usually just $1000-$5000, making it an easier goal to achieve. Once you have a rainy day fund in place, you can start working on your emergency fund.

What is a rainy day savings account not for?

I hate to break it to you, but a rainy day savings account is absolutely not for:

  • Transatlantic plane tickets
  • Really amazing shoes
  • A motorcycle
  • Picking up everyone’s tab on a night out

Having a rainy day savings account is adulting at its finest: denying yourself the right to “make it rain” for the greater good. Your future self who just broke a tooth during a rousing game of frisbee golf will thank you.

So how do I start building one?

If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, (or close to it), saving even a little bit can feel overwhelming. But anyone can save. Really. Here are a few (mostly) painless ways to start setting some cheddar aside every month:

  • Got a raise? Even a tiny one? Put that extra into savings each month.
  • Finish paying off a credit card or loan? Keep making those payments, but into your rainy day account. You’re already used to living without those extra dollars.
  • Tax refund? Throw it in there too. You don’t need those new jeans. Or a weekend in Nash-vegas.
  • Congratulate yourself for being a grownup. Nicely done.