Everyone knows that an Emergency Fund is vitally important to living a life of financial freedom. Our emergency fund allows us to get and stay out of debt when life throws us unexpected trouble. For many of us, though, funding that emergency fund is difficult to get started. There are several frequently mentioned ways to start your emergency savings: 1) Pay yourself first from your paycheck, 2) Work extra hours in your job to earn more money, 3) Eliminate services, like lawn care, and mow your lawn yourself to fund your account. This is all good and may get you started. But, for many, they are stumped on how to find the money for their emergency fund. Here are some creative, not so obvious ways to save money for your emergency fund:
- Sell stuff you haven’t used or needed in the past year on Ebay or Craigslist
- Collect all spare change. You laugh? I couple recently saved $72/month collecting their spare change!
- Don’t want to do the work of collecting change? Try Acorns! Go to http://www.acorns.com and automate it.
- Skip eating out twice a week. Your fund will be full faster than you think.
- Cancel cable TV and go with Netflix.
- Yard sale or better yet, use the local Facebook swap site to sell stuff.
- Rent a bedroom in your home.
- Sell gold or jewelry. At $1200/ounce an old gold ring or earrings can be worth quite a bit.
- Walk the neighbor’s pets. Many people are doing this with a lot of success. Neighbors like it too!
- Sell your blood. More specifically, your plasma. I have a friend that makes $200/month doing this!
- Bonus: Become an Uber driver. One friend is making $300/week doing this on the side!
The old English proverb, “If there’s a will, there’s a way”, comes to mind here. This list is not exhaustive but is indicative of an attitude that says if you want an emergency fund bad enough, you can find a way to fund it. I think we all should work hard to fund our emergency fund because it is the first defense when (not if) unexpected trouble comes our way. What is the alternative? A credit card. Meaning debt. Meaning interest that eats into our lifestyle and before long can be suffocating.
How much of an emergency fund do we need? I think that depends on where you are in life. Some experts say an emergency fund must be at least $1000. Some say it should be between 3-6 months of income. I would add that your disposition towards money should help define the amount too. If you have limited obligations and you live simply, you can get by with a lesser amount in your emergency fund than if are you a nervous Nellie with many obligations? Another way to think about it is to ask: What amount of money in an emergency fund would allow me to sleep well at night?
I leave you with three simple do’s:
- Do have an emergency fund. It is considered the most important resource to prevent personal debt.
- Do start saving now, no matter how much you can put towards it.
- Do make funding an emergency fund a priority each week until you are satisfied with the amount.
I’m not saying it will be easy. I’m just saying it is worth it! Live in financial freedom!