If you feel like you're in a constant state of worry about money, at least take comfort in knowing you're not alone: 68 percent of women lose sleep over their finances, compared with 56 percent of men, a recent survey from found. "Women tend to be consequential thinkers. We are wired for concern about safety and domestic security," explains New York-based psychotherapist Kachina Myers, who specializes in helping clients with financial issues. "And money, of course, creates that security." Redbook magazine spoke with Emily Guy Birken, author of End Financial Stress Now, on how to build an emergency fun. Start like this:

Be realistic

Instead of an overly lofty savings goal, aim for an achievable amount of a flat $1,000. Start by saving $10 per pay period. "For most people, $10 out of their paycheck is not an amount that is going to be missed," Birken says. Have it automatically transferred to a savings account, and then in three months, raise it to $15 per pay period. If you realize you won't miss $30 from a paycheck, do that. The point: Just start somewhere.

Add to it

Hit that $1,000 mark. Now you can return to that goal of having three to six months' worth of expenses saved up. See where you can cut back on your weekly spending. Once you get there salt away money for various irregular expenses. Like a monthly car repair fund, even when you don't need a repair. That way the money will be there when you do. Perhaps a monthly Vet fund. Things we all know will come up and cut into our monthly cash.

Keep it separate

An emergency fund needs to be two things: inconvenient to dip into you you're not tempted to skim from it, but still accessible for an emergency. Sounds like a unicorn of a bank account. But this sort of thing does exist: online, high-interest saving accounts. Web-based banks often have better interest rates than their brick-and-mortar competitor. Generally it takes a couple of business days to transfer money from an online account to your checking account.

Think about yourself

"No matter how rock-solid your relationship may be, there are no guarantees in life," warns Birken. "So you need some kind of financial independence in case something were to happen to your marriage or your spouse." In addition to your family's emergency fund, it's not a bad idea to have your own. If you're not bringing in a paycheck, you can build this fund by using any cash you get for birthdays, and holidays. Set aside a small portion.


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