Almost two in three Americans don't have enough money saved for a $500 car repair or a $1,000 emergency room visit, according to Bankrate.com.
So what's the best way to save for a rainy day? 10News heard two very different answers, both which appear to work.
San Diego financial advisor Dennis Brewster said, "Try to do it systematically."
Brewster recommends people set up automatic deductions from their paycheck or bank accounts. Then, funnel that money into a separate savings account.
How much money should you sock away? Brewster suggests you have enough money to cover 3 to 6 months of expenses, but he said others may need to save more, for example, "someone whose income goes up and down."
Before you determine how much you need to save, Brewster recommends you create a budget and stick to it.
"It's really getting that discipline and developing that habit," said Brewster, a SagePoint Financial Advisor.
But retired accountant Jose Pazos said he's "tired of doing numbers." He and his wife Gloria don't have a budget, but they do have a "rainy day fund".
So, what's their trick?
"You buy whatever you can afford. You don't buy something you can't afford," said Pazos.
He and his wife have been living within their means all 44 years of marriage. They showed 10News their recent purchases, which included a $1.99 Christmas decoration.
"I bought things on sale," explained Gloria.
The Pazos family's golden rule when shopping? "If you don't need it, you don't buy it," said Jose.
And if you do need it, make sure you spend within reason.
"I would like a $1 million house, but I can't … I cannot buy a $200,000 car, but I can buy a $20,000 car," offered Jose as a hypothetical example.
Both the Pazos family and Brewster agree on one thing: it's better to save a little money than none at all.
While it would be great to have one year's worth of expenses saved, Brewster is realistic.
"If you tell someone a year or two, they say 'no way.' Then, they don't do it," he said.
When it comes to saving, the Pazos family says you should start small.
"Don't say I'm going to save $200 from now on. No, save $10," said Jose.