Why You Need a 'Sunny Day' Savings, Not Just a 'Rainy Day' Fund

Learn how to save so you can spend on things you love—without the guilt.

Most of us have been told we should save for a rainy day. You know, for those unexpected life events that come up at the most inopportune times, such as car repairs or a medical emergency. But what about saving for sunny days? It's so easy to charge up your credit cards on a much-needed vacation or for that last-minute wedding gift you forgot to buy. That's why you need to have a sunny-day savings fund, too.

A sunny-day savings fund is a rainy-day savings fund in reverse. It's for all of those wonderful things you want to spend money on—without going into debt.

What to Use a Sunny-Day Savings Fund For

An Amazing Vacation

We love a vacation, but they can get expensive fast unless you learn to be a frugal traveler. According to a study by CreditDonkey, the average cost for a vacation for a family of four runs about $4,580. So basically, about $1,145 per person. That's a good chunk of change to be spending on a credit card if you haven't saved up for your fabulous getaway.

Plus, you end up paying even more because of the high interest rates on cards. Having a sunny-day savings will prevent you from racking up debt—so you can take that beach-bound vacation you've been longing for.

A Dream Wedding

Did you know that the average wedding cost $20,000 in 2020 according to a study by Value Penguin? Of course, the last thing you want to do is start your new life together in a heaping pile of debt.

Sure, there are ways to have a beautiful wedding on a budget, but you still need to sock some cash away to pay for it. If you're recently engaged, then there's no better time than to start a sunny-day savings fund for your dream wedding.

Taking a Break From Work

Wishing you could take a sabbatical or mini-retirement? If you're living paycheck to paycheck like 54 percent of Americans, that's unlikely to be feasible. But if you plan it right, you could save up enough in your sunny-day savings to take some time off work to enjoy life a bit.

Let's say you earn $1,000 a week. If you manage to save an extra $4,000, you could technically afford to take almost a month off of work—as long as you have your bills paid ahead.

Treating Yourself

Do you find it difficult to treat yourself, even though you work hard and deserve it? According to Chris Browning of Popcorn Finance, it's important to spend on yourself sometimes—because if you completely deprive yourself, you're destined to fail to reach your goals. So saving up for something you want is a great way to treat yourself without the guilt (and the debt).

What's something you have been longing for that was a bit out of reach, or for which you couldn't justify the cost? Perhaps a spa day or maybe refurnishing your living room. Whatever it is, a sunny-day fund can enable you to indulge in it—because you have the cash saved up to do it.

How to Save for Your Sunny Day

Now that you have some ideas for what you want to save for, you need to know how to do it. Follow these four steps to make saving less difficult—and more enjoyable.

Figure out your goal amount.

The first thing you need to do before you start saving? Figure out your goal amount. Are you saving for your dream wedding or a wonderful vacation destination? The first step is calculating the cost of your future "sunny day."

For example, if you are planning a vacation to California. check on the current costs of airfare, hotels, rental cars, etc. Of course, these rates are all subject to change by the time your "sunny day" rolls around, but getting a ballpark total will be a huge help in starting to save for your goal.

Break it down into smaller goals.

Psychologist Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D., recommends breaking down big goals into smaller goals "so you aren't overwhelmed by the task at hand." So now that you have your goal amount figured out, you need to break it down into smaller amounts.

Let's say you want to save $5,000 for a vacation, and you want to go in six months. Divide that $5,000 by six months to get $833.33 a month. Then, divide $833.33 by 4 (the number of weeks in a month) to get a weekly sunny-day savings total of $208.33.

When you take your goal amount and break it down, it makes it easier to achieve—or at least to know how long you'll need to postpone that "sunny day" to make it achievable.

Make it fun.

Everything is so much easier when you make it fun, including saving money. One of the easiest ways to save is to try a money-saving challenge. There are many challenges to choose from, such as the 52-week challenge, where you save $5,000 in a year, the $5 bill challenge, where you save every $5 bill you get, or the weather savings challenge, where you save the number of dollars that corresponds to how high the temperature was that day.

When you make saving money a game, it takes the stress out of it—and might even make you look forward to it.

Earn more money.

The quickest way to fund your sunny-day savings, of course, is to earn more money. You can increase your income by starting an ongoing side hustle or setting yourself up to earn passive income. Some side hustles can bring in hundreds to thousands of dollars a month; for instance, the average wage for a side-hustling freelance writer is $24.23 an hour.

Passive income is another excellent way to boost your savings—one that will continue to pay dividends long past the initial setup. Whether that's as big as investing in a real estate rental or as small as creating and selling printables, there are ways to earn money without putting in many job hours beyond the initial investment.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles