You probably have a rainy day fund. But do you also have a snowy day fund, a sleet night fund and a foggy morning fund? If not, you may want to talk with 20-year old Darius Scott.

Darius has started to divvy his emergency savings by areas of need. At first, he had a “general fund” for any money challenge that may come up. This was part of the savings strategy he started after participating in the Make A Difference – Wisconsin Money Coach program through social advocacy nonprofit Urban Underground.

That’s where creativity with savings came in handy for Darius, a former student of Vincent High School and graduate of Wauwatosa Virtual Academy (shown left explaining his savings plan with Lloyd Levin, founder of Make A Difference – Wisconsin). Darius tracked his budget and realized trends were emerging each month, depending on necessary spending, occasional overreaching and a fluctuation in the number of days in each month.

For starters, Darius said he’s got a pool of savings in the bank that he doesn’t touch. Then, he puts a separate savings amount toward different line items on his personal budget that may waver like food, travel and utilities. Where he misses one month in food, for instance, he can cover it with the “food-specific” savings. What he covers in a month with no surprises becomes savings dedicated toward the next month or into the bigger, untouched savings.

Here’s how Darius explained this simple yet clever approach when we caught up with him at James Madison Academic Campus in Milwaukee during his student support job with Public Allies.

“Last week, I had to get to a few different schools for events. I was running late, but I had put a certain amount aside for the bus – I use the bus mainly for transportation – and I had a certain amount set aside for a cab or Uber. Because I was running late, I knew the bus was going to take 40 minutes, but the Uber would take 10

[minutes]. I had the money in my emergency travel fund, so it wasn’t a big deal.”

With a foundation of financial basics, Darius has been able to create his own “money smart” path that keeps his head above water, no matter what type of rainy day it may be. Next, Darius said he’s mulling a big life goal like secondary education or getting his own place. Of course, any big ticket purchase like college or an apartment will have its own “emergency fund” added to his savings bottom line.

-by Justin Kern, Marketing and Communications Manager, Make A Difference – Wisconsin

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