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How to Create an Emergency Fund When You Don’t Have Any Extra Cash
Emergencies always happen when you least expect them. And they especially seem to happen when funds are at their lowest.
If you needed to, would you be able to pay for an unexpected car repair in cash? If your answer is no, then it’s time to build your emergency fund. At least $2,000-$3,000 is a good start and should help cover almost any unexpected bill. But what if you don’t have that kind of money to put aside?
These ideas will help you find all the extra cash you need to fund your emergency account. They may not all work for you, but you should find at least a couple that will.
Find the money in your budget:
- Skip the morning drive-thru and get coffee and breakfast at home.
Are you stopping for coffee or a breakfast sandwich every morning? If so, start making your own at home and put the money you save aside.
- Brown bag your lunch.
Instead of grabbing lunch out every day, pack your lunch the night before. This is a great opportunity to use the leftovers from dinner so they don’t go to waste.
- Eat dinner at home.
Find a couple of go-to meals that can be easily prepared in under 30 minutes. Or, throw dinner in the slow cooker in the morning and it will be ready by dinner time.
Keep your pantry and freezer stocked with pasta, rice and frozen vegetables so you have some quick sides.
- Declare a “Needs Only” month.
Just for one month, challenge yourself to only buy the essentials. No impulse purchases or online shopping. Each time you keep yourself from buying something you didn’t really need, take the money you would have spent and add it to your emergency fund.
- Do It Yourself.
Try taking care of things you usually pay someone else for, just for a short time. Wash your own car, cut your own lawn, cancel the cleaning service, give yourself a manicure. It’s only for a short time.
Need to have something repaired? See if you can find a video online to show you how to do it or visit your local hardware store to ask for advice.
- Cut back on gift giving.
There are many thoughtful gifts you can give that don’t cost a fortune. Try making your own or challenge yourself to think of something that will be appreciated without being expensive.
- Find free entertainment.
All cities and towns have some kind of free entertainment. Museums, festivals and concerts to name just a few. See what kind of free activities you can find nearby and put aside the money you would have spent on a movie.
Make Extra Money:
- Sell Your Skills.
Are you a crafter? Sell your products online through Etsy or Jane. If you’re not sure what to offer, visit the site and look around and some of the products that are selling well.
- Have a yard sale.
Yard sales are a great way to clear out clutter and unused items while making a few dollars. Increase your yard sale income by selling coffee, lemonade, bottle water and baked goods. To increase traffic to your yard sale, ask your neighbors to join in and do a neighborhood yard sale.
- Sell the big stuff online.
If you have larger items to sell, try Ebay or Facebook consignment groups in your local area.
- Shop thrift stores.
Shop your local Salvation Army and Goodwill for gently used clothing, shoes, handbags and household items. Take the difference between what you pay and what you would have paid for something new and add it to your fund.
- Find a part-time job.
Find a local part-time job in a store where you like to shop, that way you can take advantage of the employee discount as well. Or find an online job where you can set your own hours without leaving home.
- Offer house and/or pet sitting services.
Contact your neighbors and offer to water plants, pick up mail, and take care of pets, while they are out of town.
- Cut grass or shovel snow.
Your neighbors may be busy with work and don’t have time (or desire) to cut their grass or shovel their driveway. They would gladly pay someone for a little help with these chores.
By putting together a small emergency fund, you will no longer stress about what you’ll do if you have an unexpected expense. It will give you great peace of mind!
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