"And where will I get this 'saved' money?"
-Steve Martin, Saturday Night Live skit "You Shouldn't Buy Stuff if You Don't Have Any Money"
Have you started adding to your emergency savings fund? You can save it in any old savings account at your bank. I keep mine at INGdirect.com, but it doesn't matter where you keep your money or what savings rate you get. Just start your fund!
Here are some places where you will find money to get your $1,000 beginning Emergency Fund. ($500 if your income is $20,000 or less)
Tip One: Adjust the budget
If you had any leftover money in your new budget plan, it goes directly into your new emergency savings. Look over your budget again. What can you reduce in your budget to free up money for your savings account?
Here is a list of suggestions to get you thinking:
- Can you reduce your cell phone plan? Your cable plan? Your internet plan?
- Will you cut your land line?
- Can you get equal payments set up on your utilities? What would the payments be? Is this a good time to set it up, or should you wait until winter?
- Can you (or your spouse or children) car pool to work or activities?
- How much in treats will you cut down in your grocery shopping?
- Will cut down or cut out eating out and drive-thru's? Will you take a packed lunch to work?
Tip Two: Sell stuff
Almost everyone I know has thousands and thousands of dollars hidden in their house via the stuff they have. Money is all around us.
"Not enough to get my $1000 (or $500) within 3 months!"
Faith, my dear, faith. You will be surprised how $5 here and $20 there quickly add up to $500 and beyond! Especially in this country, abundance is everywhere!
Here are some ideas to get you thinking about what you can sell:
- clothes, shoes, jewelry
- CDs, cassettes, DVDs, computer parts, electronics
- extra vehicles, timeshares, art, extra dinnerware sets
- costumes, Christmas accessories, handcrafts, baby stuff, kids toys, pets and their accessories (oh, yes, I did go there!)
- extra furniture, knick-knacks, gifts you received that don't fit your lifestyle, items from old hobbies, tools, unopened skin care
- books, textbooks, baby gear no longer needed
- etc. etc. etc. Girl, you know what you've got!
- KSL (local online classifieds), Craigslist, eBay, yard sale, half.com, amazon.com, Facebook
Tip 3: Generate extra income
If you (or your spouse) already have a full time job, ask for overtime. Or get a part-time job.
If you are at home with small children, create your own part-time job.
Remember, this isn't a permanent situation. It's just to fund your emergency savings and free yourself from debt. So, make sure ALL money coming from the new source are going to those specific purposes. This will keep a temporary situation from becoming permanent. If you keep skimming off the new money to do fun stuff, you will be working extra longer than you need to.
- newspaper delivery, pizza delivery, UPS
- restaurant server
- babysitting, dog walking
- dinner preparing
- lawnmowing, housekeeping
- participate in research interviews
Tip 4: Direct surprise money
Apply job raises, unexpected money, and tax refunds to your new savings account. If you are using the cash system, make it a goal to have leftover money in your envelopes and apply what's left at the end of the month to the savings account.
Tip 5: Start a tip jar
Set out a change jar where you put all money found in the car, in furniture cushions, in pockets emptied out during laundry time. Deposit the contents of this jar into the bank.
I've briefly touched on the different places you can find the money for your beginning Emergency Fund. I'm sure you will find other places I have never thought of. I once read about a family who set a challenge for themselves to find an extra $1,000 in one month. A big chunk of their money came from finding aluminum cans and collecting the change for turning them in for recycling in their area! Be creative!
"What if it takes me longer than 3 months?"
Will you feel a little safer 6 months from now if you have $1000 in an emergency savings account? I think you may.
Get started! You will finish sooner the sooner you start.