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Last week, I wrote a post about the reasons why it’s necessary to have a starter emergency fund in place before you begin paying extra towards your debt. Once you decide you want to pay off your debt it can be tempting to jump right in and roll any extra money you have into your debt payments, but it’s so important to save your emergency fund first. And if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, building your $1000 emergency fund may look like an overwhelming task. I wish I could tell you that it is super easy, but the truth is, it isn’t. Not super easy, anyway. But the good news is that it’s easier than you might think! It just takes a little thinking outside the box. You can do this. I promise. But, there is one little preparatory thing I need you to do first. Here it is:
Believe that you can do it.
C’mon. That’s it?
Yes, that’s it. Seriously, this little shift in attitude can work wonders for your spirit and determination to hit your goal.
Do you believe it?
Now that that part is out of the way, I want to share some ways that will make the road to saving your emergency fund a little less rocky. Try out one or a few of these strategies to boost your savings account. The more you apply to your life the faster you will get to your $1000 goal!
1) Get A Second Job
This is a good option if your family’s current work schedule is very regular. Pick up an evening part time job serving, delivering pizza, driving for Uber, or working at the library.
2) Have A Garage Sale
Look around your house to find items you can sell for cash. This can be furniture, books, clothes, or that china set you never use. It can be anything. Ask yourself if the item in question is providing value for your family. If it doesn’t, it goes on the “For Sale” list. You can also list your items for sale on Craigslist, Ebay, or even a Facebook community garage sale group. If you search and there isn’t a Facebook group in your area, start one!
3) Sell Goods On Etsy
Are you crafty? Do you have a good eye for graphic design? Selling handmade goods like headbands, jewelry, clothing (anything really) or creating special occasion invites is a great way to do something you love and make money in the process. These aren’t the only types of items you can sell on Etsy, but they are just a couple of examples. So, if you’re good at creating a particular product, chances are there is someone out there looking to purchase it!
4) Trim Your Grocery Budget
Cut out any unnecessary purchases and challenge yourself to get the only items your family actually needs. Yes, your family needs food, but I highly doubt you need that pint of salted caramel ice cream. You need things like shampoo and toothpaste, but you can probably go without that new bottle of nail polish. Making small cuts like these at the grocery store can have a big impact on your bottom line!
5) Don’t Go Out To Eat
This one is huge. As a family of four, we could spend up to $60 whenever we go to a restaurant. I can get a whole week’s worth for dinners to cook at home for that amount! How crazy is that? Dining out is expensive so save it for special occasions and your savings will grow much faster.
6) Cut Down On Cable
I know having cable seems like it is a household staple, that it’s just one of those things everybody has and everybody pays for. But the reality is that cable or satellite television is becoming a thing of the past in so many homes. If you don’t want to give up that form of entertainment completely, subscribing to Hulu or Netflix is a much more affordable alternative.
7) Reduce Driving
I think this is an often overlooked category that can help you save money. By better planning the week ahead, you can save yourself from that last minute trip to the grocery which will result in using extra fuel and likely, money out the window. I mean that, quite literally…I could really use a venti vanilla latte right now and there is a drive-thru right by Kroger! Don’t act like you’re not guilty. I don’t blame you. When it comes to the nectar of the gods (coffee, if you didn’t know), my willpower is at a nonexistent level. Try to find ways to combine trips as well. If you have to run to the bank on Monday and typically do your grocery shopping on Wednesday, try bumping it up a couple of days so that you can do them both in one trip. (In case you’re wondering…no, grocery shopping isn’t the ONLY thing I do…it’s just the extent of my creativity in coming up with errand examples as I’m on my second coffee for the day and it isn’t even 10 am. Just being real with you.)
8) Tutor/Give Lessons
If you are particularly skilled at math, science, a musical instrument, etc., you’ll definitely want to consider offering your talents as a private tutor or instructor. You can find out what the average rate is for lessons in your area just by asking others you know who either give lessons themselves or have a family member to takes them. Figure out the days and times that you can offer lessons and start to market yourself to family, friends, and post to your Facebook page. It might be slow to start, but eventually, as you gain students, others will hear about you through word of mouth and you will have a full schedule faster than you think! It is such a great way to earn extra money!
9) Tax Refund
This is probably the easiest and fastest way to save your emergency fund. If you have a refund coming, deposit that lump sum into your saving account!
10) Cancel Your Gym Membership
Okay, so I’m not advocating a couch potato lifestyle here. If you go to the gym regularly to exercise then, by all means, keep it up! But if Planet Fitness is knocking on your bank account’s door every month and you can’t even remember the last time you saw a dumbbell, it’s time to cut ties and move on. The same goes for those magazine subscriptions you never read. The point here is if you don’t use it, lose it!
While at first it may seem like saving money for your emergency fund is an overwhelming obstacle, it doesn’t have to be! With focused determination and action, you just might surprise yourself with how quickly it happens!
Have some quick saving tips of your own? Share them in the comments below! I’d love to hear your ideas!