Are you forgetting to save for these 3 things?

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We hear a lot about the importance of having an emergency fund, but some of us need to get better at listening. According to data released by Bankrate earlier this year, an estimated 28% of Americans have no emergency savings whatsoever. The scary thing, however, is that even those of us who are saving may be falling short.

Ideally, you should have enough money in a savings account to cover three to six months' worth of living expenses. But a lot of people fall into the trap of miscalculating how much they really need for emergencies. We all know that an emergency fund needs to cover things like housing, transportation, utilities, and food for as long as you're unable to work, but here are a few things you may be forgetting to include in your calculation.

1. Commuting and travel costs

A big reason many people have to use their emergency cash is that they've lost their jobs and need a way to pay their bills while they look for work. As such, a lot of folks make the mistake of thinking that their emergency savings don't need to account for commuting costs, since the reason they're tapping those funds in the first place is because they're unemployed. While that line of thinking certainly makes sense in theory, in practice, things don't always work out that way. If you're actively looking for work, there's a good chance you'll spend just as much, and possibly more, on commuting and travel than you did back when you had a steady gig.

Let's say you live in a suburb and spend $200 on a monthly rail pass to get into the city for your job. If you fail to include that $200 a month when calculating your emergency fund, you risk falling short when the time comes to use that money.

2. Health insurance

Many employers who provide health coverage subsidize a fair amount of their employees' insurance costs. According to a 2015 report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average health insurance premium for single coverage last year was $521 per month, of which workers contributed an average of $89 while their employers paid the rest. In other words, the average employee paid just 17% of his or her health insurance premium.

Now many of us who do get job-sponsored coverage may not even realize how much our employers are paying toward our premiums, but it's a good idea to find out what that number is and save for it as part of your emergency fund. This way, if you end up out of work for a few months and want to retain your plan in the interim (which COBRA allows you to do), you'll be able to afford those premiums in full.

Let's say you currently contribute $89 a month toward your health insurance premium but it really costs $521 in total. If you make the mistake of only factoring $89 a month into your emergency fund, you risk coming up $432 short for each month you hang onto that plan while unemployed. Even a lower-cost plan on the open market is likely to be more than your share of your health insurance premium, so be sure to save accordingly.

Click through for tips to make a quick buck:

20 unusual ways to make quick money
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20 unusual ways to make quick money

Dog-sitting, babysitting, or house-sitting

These jobs are always in high demand, and the best part: you can name your price and create your own schedule! Post an ad on craigslist, or use your friends' and family's connections to get your name out there. 

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Rent out your space 

List your apartment on Airbnb or another rental site, and make some easy cash by staying at a friends and renting out your place for the weekend.

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Share your space

Just as you can rent out your full apartment or house, you can also post a free room (or even just your couch!) on sites like Craigslist or Airbnb. This way you can split your living expenses -- and maybe even make a new friend!

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Sell your body parts

Now here's a weird one: Donate your hair, breast milk, or even plasma for a profit. According to Grifols, if you're healthy and weigh above 110 pounds, you can earn up to $200 a month donating your plasma to life-saving medicine. 

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Sign up to participate in medical tests and clinical trials. 

Universities constantly need volunteers to test new medicines and treatments -- and because the pool of willing participants is limited, there is typically a large compensation for being a guinea pig. 

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Participate in a focus group

Companies and organizations will pay you to join a focus group. These can be conducted in person, online, or via phone. You will most likely be reimbursed in cash or gift cards -- plus, you often get to test out fun new products! 

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Take online surveys

Similar to focus groups, you can get paid to give your time and insights on an online questionairre. Plus, you can do this from the comfort of your couch. 

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Bank on your sperm

Although we don't necessarily recommend this option, there is a very high demand for healthy sperm donors. Keep in mind some of the obvious drawbacks, but sperm donation is non-invasive and highly compensated. 

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Crowdfund your dreams

Crowdfunding allows you to raise monetary contributions from a large group of people who want to support your venture. Post your project or idea on a crowdfund site, like, and see the cash pile up.

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Become a tutor

If you're qualified, post an ad online or on a community board to tutor children on their school courses or for the upcoming SATs.

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Get a part-time job

Capitalize your free time (on the weekends or after work hours) by working a part-time job. A bartender, waiter, or Uber driver are all great options for an additional source of income -- and great tips! 

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Resell tickets

Take this suggestion at your own risk: If you're staying within legal limits, buy tickets low and sell high as an effective way to source additional money. (Just make sure to check your state and local laws first!)

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You can sell anything on the internet these days... including your companionship! Get paid to go on a platonic outing for a few hours and enjoy your afternoon with a new friend. 

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Rent out your parking spot

Make sure to check with your landlord first, but if you have the option to park your own car further away, lend or share your parking space or driveway for the hour, day, or even month! 

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Keep a coin jar 

This one takes patience before a big pay out, but keep a spare jar or drawer for loose change that you usually toss anyway. It will keep it all in one place -- and those quarters do add up! 

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Make something to sell 

If you have a knack for arts & crafts, create jewelry or other handmade gifts to sell on sites filled with other thrifty vendors like Etsy

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Sell items online

This effective strategy requires low effort with a high return. Post photos of your used or non-used items on sites like eBay or Craigslist, and let the bidding begin! 

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Have a yard sale

Sell clutter you've been meaning to get rid of right in your front yard. This simple tactic is convenient, and guarantees a wad of cash right to your pocket.  

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Return past purchases

This tip may seem obvious, but is often overlooked: Take your recently-purchased items that are laying around back to the store for either store credit or a full refund. 

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Recycle scrap metal and cans

Collect cans and scrap metal out your own garbage, basement, and street and bring to your local recycler to exchange your findings for money.  

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3. Communication services

Sure, you probably already have a cellphone and data plan like so many working Americans do, but you may not realize that your communication costs could go up if you're no longer going to work every day. For one thing, you may find that you need to increase your cell or data plan, or pay for home Internet service because you need more access than your plan allows for. Also, although almost half of Americans no longer have landlines, you may require one if cell service is spotty in your area and you need to be available for calls all day. Be sure to keep these extra costs in mind as you calculate your emergency fund, because even an extra $20 or $30 a month could throw you for a loop if you're not prepared.

If you already have an emergency fund in place, you can take comfort in the fact that you're way ahead of your non-saving counterparts. But if you really want that emergency fund to do what it's supposed to do -- cover your living costs when you need it -- make sure you're accounting for every expense you might encounter while you're unable to work. It's better to err on the side of caution than forget to save for those things that could come back to haunt you.

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