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It’s always a smart idea to build and maintain an emergency fund throughout your life. Whether you’re in debt, living rent-free with parents, or have most of your money held in investments, there’s never a better time to start than now!
Whatever you do…
Don’t be a Fry!
That is, be prepared in case you lose your job, or when sudden expenses pop. These include any medical bills, car maintenance, and home repairs.
In other words, cover your a$$ because I guarantee you won’t find anything inside that couch of yours!
Yes, I’m talking to you, Fry!
In general, I recommend saving at least three to six months of living expenses. For example, if you spend $3,000 per month, aim to build a $9,000 to $18,00 reserve.
But you say, “Yikes! $9,000 to $18,000?? Are you kiddin’ me??”
Let’s face it, life can get expensive; especially with average families who feel like they struggle with the basics. With that said, it’s okay to aim small at first.
Start with $50, and increase that to $150, $300, $1,000, and so on. It’s these baby steps that eventually lead you to incredible results!
With a bit of creativity and effort, I promise that you can make it happen! Some of you may deem that this is impossible, but it really isn’t and I’ll show you how!
First, set proper expectations for yourself. Be realistic and set a specific goal within a specific time frame. Secondly, be clear about how and what you want to achieve.
For example, you might say:
“My goal is to build a $100 emergency fund by the end of this week. I will do that by saving $30 from my next paycheck, and selling $70 worth of junk that I don’t use.”
To help you achieve your goals, I created a freebie download for you. Go through it and sign it with your signature. By doing this, you hold yourself accountable.
Once you’ve accomplished your first challenge, move on to your next one.
Whether you’re looking to build a $1,000 or $20,000 emergency fund, there are a number of ways you can achieve this!
Here’s a list of things of things that can help.
– How We Went From Almost $100,000 Debt To Over $700,000 Savings in 7 Years
– 50+ Insanely Clever Ways To Save Over $1,000 Every Month
– 11 Sneaky Ways To Trick Yourself Into Saving Money
– Freebies That Will Save You THOUSANDS and Turn You Into A Genius
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more information.
1) Build up from your loose change.
An easy way to do this is to start contributing small amounts from your pocket change… and I don’t mean the loose change under Fry’s couch!
Even if it’s $5 a day, that’s still $35 for the week. You can try this approach until you start seeing results.
For example, my boyfriend used to throw money into a massive Protein jar for four years. He’d throw in whatever change he sees despite it being bills, nickels, or dimes. Apparently, he was saving up for my “ring” (awwwww ❤) but he eventually found another way to save for it.
So yeah, he forgot about this jar and ended up accumulating $3,800 worth of “spare change” without knowing. TBH, that jar could be missing and he wouldn’t even notice!
That’s how much he cares about his “pocket change” I guess.
And I was like:
I was actually the one who found the jar and started counting the money inside. It wasn’t until then that I categorized it as his “emergency” money.
Though I have to be honest about something…
The one thing I hated most about this jar was how friggin’ heavy that was!
Yup, my first-world problem is having $3,800 in a $h!t load of loonies, toonies, nickels and dimes…
Anyways, you see how much these small things can eventually add up to?
Apparently, some people (my BF) don’t…
2) Sign up for the best online surveys to earn extra money
Surveys won’t make you rich overnight but it’s something you can do during your downtime to beef up your emergency fund. My fiancé, his friends and I have tried out these survey websites and they’re really simple to do. Swagbucks and Survey Junkie are two of our favorites!
I recommend signing up for as many as possible to increase your earning opportunities. Only do them when you have spare time (i.e. watching TV, waiting for your bus, when you’re bored, etc.). Again, you won’t become rich doing them but it’s an easy way to make extra money. Believe me, every little bit adds up!
Here are the survey sites I recommend signing up for. By the way, they are all FREE to sign up!
What I like most is their user-friendly interface which allows you to navigate around easily. How it works is you get rewarded with points each time you complete a survey. You get paid cash through PayPal or you can exchange your points for gift cards at your favorite shops. Again, it’s free to sign up!
This is one of the most popular and well-known survey sites. It was one of the first survey sites I signed up for during my University years. How it works is you earn “Swagbucks” (SB’s) and redeem cash and/or gift cards to your favorite shops. Swagbucks has paid their members over $265,716,867 to date!
🌟 You can get a FREE $5 bonus when you sign up here! 💵
⭐️ Important: To redeem your $5 bonus, don’t forget to verify the email from Swagbucks in your inbox!
Again, membership is 100% free. By signing up for many survey sites, you’ll get to take more surveys for more extra money.
Don’t miss out on this post: The Best Places To Get FREE Gift Cards and Cash!
3) Purchase whatever you can on a rewards credit card.
I may not be a “spare change” type of person (like my BF), but I have a love for paying everything on cash-back credit cards. He nags at me for never carrying cash LOL!
Not because I’m addicted to shopping (I’m definitely not), but simply because I get rewarded for using the card (and I just don’t like using cash).
It may not be your roads to riches, but hey… a few hundred dollars of cash-back for the year is better than nothing!
However, if you tend to overspend with credit cards, ignore this advice. Unless you’re a disciplined and mindful spender, taking this approach will stray you further away from your goal.
4) Shop online using cash-back rewards.
If you’re already shopping online, then you may as well earn some cash back on the way. Again, several hundred of dollars here and there can make a difference to your emergency fund.
Of course, I’m not encouraging you to mindlessly shop, but buy only the things you need! Here are two cashback rewards programs I highly recommend.
Ebates works with over 2,000 retailers including Indigo, Apple, Expedia, eBay, Nike, Foot Locker, Michael Kors, Groupon, and so much more! When they offer 3X cash back, you can get anywhere from 3% to 10% or sometimes even more! And no, this is not too good to be true! It’s for real and there are no gimmicks here.
For my Canadian readers, sign up here through ebates.ca and receive your special $5 bonus!
This will take no more than three minutes. Whenever you decide to shop, always login to your account and search for the store you want to shop at in the Ebates search bar.
If they have the store, simply click on the link and it will directly enter the store’s website in a new window or tab. Shop like how you normally would online, but make sure you shop in the window browser that Ebates directs you to. Once you checkout, your cash-back reward should be credited to your Ebates account within a few days.
Earn extra money by getting cash back whenever you shop online and it’s absolutely free to sign up.
Dollar Dig is a relatively newer cashback website that is available in US and Canada. This program is very similar to Ebates (mentioned in the next point) where they offer cash back rebates at over 3,250 stores, along with coupons and deals. Sign up and receive your first $2.50 welcome bonus! Yes, signing up is absolutely free!
Who doesn’t like getting cash back without any effort? 😉
5) Give yourself one challenge to work with.
For example, I was on a food challenge because there was a period where I was buying $12 lunches every day. The quickest and easiest way to beef up that fund was to buy less often.
Staying focused on my goal, I stopped buying two out of the five days and started packing my lunch. After a month, it eventually became three out of the five days and TBH, I didn’t feel any pain at all.
In fact, I have to admit this worked out better for me. My dear mommy ❤ generally cooks a lot for our family (with or without me there). With us in mind, she would always invite my BF and me over to pack our lunches.
I have to say, it’s always important to maintain good relationships with your family! 😉
Not only did I manage to save more for my emergency fund, but I didn’t have to go through the trouble deciding what to eat each day.
You can do the same too!
With or without parents, you can always plan your meals for the week. From time to time, my BF and I have fun doing this. We search for quick and easy recipes such as quinoa, pasta, salads, and sandwiches.
Cutting back a little on lunch expenses is just one challenge. There are many other areas you can cut back on, but you don’t have to do it to the point where you’re depriving yourself (my next point).
6) You don’t have to deprive yourself.
The best place to start is saying BYE to the things you hate such as:
– Bank fees
– ATM fees
– Overdraft fees
– Late fees (start automating your bills)
– Car insurance (negotiate)
– Home insurance (again, negotiate)
– Underused subscriptions
Speaking of underused subscriptions, review your past statements to see what’s being charged. That could be magazines, Amazon’s shipping service, Linkedin, other online services, and much more. You can also use Trim, an app system that helps you save money.
More about Trim:
This awesome tool is your personal finance assistant! He will keep track of your finances and help you save money. For example, Trim will negotiate your cell phone, Internet, and cable bills. It will even cancel the ones that you don’t need! Pretty cool, huh?? Trim has saved their users over $1,000,000 in the last month. Sign up to Trim for free here!
There’s no reason why you wouldn’t this personal finance assistant!
7) Be mindful.
Next, consider cutting the things that you don’t love and can live without.
I’m NOT suggesting you cut your Starbucks or David’s Tea. Continue buying them if it makes you happy.
Instead, perhaps you can stop buying other things just because they were 80% off (with the exception of next year’s Christmas stuff). If you don’t plan on using them anytime soon, then the chances are you never will!
Despite it being as cheap as a few dollars, that money is better off going into your emergency jar! I mean, the last thing you want to deal with is a collection of clutter!
What would you rather have?
A home that looks like a bomb just went off?
Or…….. a jar filled with emergency money?
Hmmmm…………………………… hard question, isn’t it?
8) Start a scavenger hunt at home.
Speaking of a bomb that just exploded, look for abandoned and unloved stuff that you can sell online or at your garage sale. If it’s not serving any purpose, then what’s better than trading it in for some cash?
As the old adage goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!”
Related: De-own your sh!t: do more with less
Here are several of things you can sell:
– Old but working appliances (some people buy these for their rental properties)
– Used furniture (if you want a higher return, consider refurbishing it to add value)
– Luxury handbags or watches that you don’t use
– Gently used clothing, bags, belts, and shoes
– Toys and baby accessories that your kids have outgrown
– Sell your electronics through Gazelle (your old iPhones, iPads, game consoles, stereo system, speakers, etc.)
– Gift cards that you don’t use
– Home décor (lamps, canvases, picture frames, old curtains, jewelry box, or any decorative pieces)
– Tableware such as ceramic bowls, dishes, or cups
– Car tires
– Scraped car parts
– CDs, DVDs, and books
Generally speaking, my BF and I are not hoarders!
In fact, we don’t own that much stuff, but we still managed to earn back $3,700 from selling random things on Kijiji, Letgo, and VarageSale.
Coupled with my BF’s “spare change” of $3,800 mentioned above, that would be a total of $7,500 in emergency fund!
Sell your unwanted electronics through Gazelle
Do you have old Apple and Android devices lying around? Not using that old MacBook anymore?
You can sell your old electronics through Gazelle and get cash back. Based on consumer reviews, they are easy, hassle-free, and quick! To date, Gazelle has paid out over $200 million to their customers and they have a 9.5/10 score on ResellerRatings! Click here to make extra money with your electronics through Gazelle. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that you receive a special bonus of $10 for each friend you refer? 🙂
9) Get a side hustle
As we all know, the power of earning is tremendous! In theory, your earnings are unlimited. In other words, the sky’s the limit, so put your creative hats on and start making more money!
I mean, you’d be surprised how much more you can earn with the help of a few side gigs.
For example, for the first three months when I started my furniture hustle, I was earning at least $100 on each piece. During that time, I was selling one item per week, so on average, I earned about $1,500 for the first quarter.
The best part? I was having fun while doing it!
You may not be interested in flipping furniture, but there are many other gigs you can take on.
10) Change your mindset and start believing in yourself.
The hardest part is getting started, I know.
But to get started, you have to first change the way you think. Stop telling yourself that it’s hard and impossible because once you do, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
In the end, overcome your fear and challenge yourself!
When it comes to saving for an emergency, don’t let fear get in your way.
Instead, view it as a challenging, yet fun game to play.
Your mission is to collect as many coins as you can with a goal in mind of course!
Remember those coins that you collected from Super Mario World to earn lives?
The more coins you earn, the more lives you accumulate. The more lives you have, the higher your chances of survival and leveling up to the next stage [next challenge].
Look, Mario’s ready for you to join him in his game!
“It’s-a me, Mario!”
But all jokes aside, stay focused on your goal!
For example, when I made plans to refurbish and sell my furniture, I gave myself a goal to sell at least one item at $100 per week until I hit $400 for the month.
On top, make sure that your goal is realistic and achievable. I know that I’m working a 9-5, so for me, it would be impossible to sell more than one piece per week.
Again, it’s great to accomplish your first $1,000, $2,000, or $3,000 emergency fund. But keep in mind that it’s also important to maintain this fund throughout your life.
Once you have your emergency fund ready, then great… you can start paying off debt and investing!! Make sure to not touch it unless there’s an actual emergency… that’s why they call it an “EMERGENCY” fund, right?
Remember, it’s the baby steps that add up to that incredible end goal; and I’m certain that within time, you’ll see a significant difference (as long as you remain patient and stay persistent).
Well, that’s it for today!
Are you ready to start building your emergency fund?
Keep me posted on how it goes!
Don’t miss out on FREE cash!
If you follow my blog, you will know that I’m all about saving money and making money. Below are some of my favorite sites and resources that may help you! The best part is that they’re all FREE to join and use!
MyPoints: You can earn FREE gift cards to your favorite stores or cash (your choice) just by watching videos, taking surveys, reading e-mails and more. MyPoints has paid out their members $236,000,000!
🌟 Sign up for MyPoints here for FREE and get a $5 bonus immediately when you take 5 surveys! 💵
⭐️ Important: Don’t forget to verify the email from MyPoints in your inbox so that you can redeem your bonus!
Check out this post: 15 Best Places to Get FREE Gift Cards and Cash!
Checkout 51: Get FREE cash back on your groceries and home goods! Every Thursday, the app updates the list with new offers! Quickly snap a picture of your receipts through the app with your smartphone and wait a few days for your FREE cash to come in. Once your account reaches a minimum of $20, you can request your check at NO COST! It sure feels good to receive a nice little check for extra spending. 💵🛍
🌟 Grab your FREE $5 BONUS here when you sign up through my link and upload your first few receipts. 🙂
Ebates: You get FREE cash just for shopping at over 2,000 of your favorite stores. This includes Walmart, Macy’s, Apple, Kohl’s, Target, eBay, and so many more! I use Ebates to save over a few hundred dollars just for shopping for the things I normally buy.
🌟 Sign up here for your FREE $10 bonus after making your first $25 purchase through Ebates. FREE to sign up and use!
If you live in Canada, you MUST use this link to sign up for your FREE $5 bonus. As always, FREE to sign up and use!
Check out this post: To learn more, read my full review and tutorial on how to use Ebates here. You won’t be disappointed with Ebates!
Paribus: Ever heard of price-adjustments? This free app helps get your money back when an item you purchased goes on sale (there’s no effort on your end). When Paribus finds a price drop in your e-mail inbox, and you’re eligible for a price adjustment, it will notify you and the retailer. Yes, Paribus will do all the work for you and you keep 100% of the savings! Paribus has helped users saved over $24,000,000 to date!
🌟 You can sign up for Paribus here for FREE and start putting cash back into your wallet.
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