With just a few months until the holiday season begins, it is still not too late to start building a solid emergency fund. New tires, unexpected medical expenses, and plumbing issues are just a few of the reasons to build an emergency fund. Let’s face it, the sooner savings begin, the better. Who wants to be the one who had to miss Thanksgiving because they had to use their airline ticket savings for an unexpected emergency?
So, what can you do to quickly build up an emergency fund between $1,000 (minimal) to 3-6 months of expenses (optimal)?
Sell Unused Items
To start a savings fund, it often helps to begin with a nice amount to put away. Items such as exercise equipment, power tools, and even toys the kids don’t play with anymore can be sold for cash. Just be careful when selling online and never provide a home address or full name for security reasons. Instead, plan to meet in a public place, if possible, and complete the transaction there.
Find One-Time Income Opportunities
There are some ways to earn cash that doesn’t require a full-time (or even part-time) commitment. Pet sitting, answering online surveys, and even participating in focus groups are quick ways to earn extra cash to put into a savings account.
Make Cuts to the Budget
Ouch. No one likes to give up their mid-morning latte or monthly Mani/Pedi. However, there are other ingenious ways to cut costs without giving up any creature comforts. Clipping coupons, turning the thermostat down (or up) a few degrees, or cancelling any unused memberships or services are just a few ways to shave a few dollars off an already tight budget. Just remember to allot that extra cash to the already growing savings fund.
Get a Second Job
It is not fun to pull in extra hours after working a full-time job, but just adding a few hours per week can have a huge effect when trying to quickly build up a savings fund. Remember, the second job is not a career or lifetime commitment, rather a vehicle to increase savings.
Replace Used Savings and Use Only in an Emergency
If there comes a time when you have to dip into that hard-earned emergency savings account, remember to replace the savings as soon as possible. It’s easy to look at a nice emergency savings and dip into it for a well-deserved weekend getaway or a nice dinner or two with a loved one. However, once you start spending your savings, it is hard to stop. Only spend it for true emergencies.