Let’s say your car needed to be repaired today, would you have the cash in the bank to get it fixed? Unfortunately, not many people have the means to handle even a small change in their expenses. When unexpected situations like these arise, it leads to well-meaning families falling behind on bills or struggling to catch up until the next payday.
The problem with living a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle is running the risk of not having the money when important obligations come up. And trust me, they do come up.
Early on in our marriage, my husband and I struggled with getting in control of our spending. Of course, as young newlyweds, it was to be expected. At that time, we did not understand the importance and the security that having an emergency fund would provide.
So what can you do about it?
Prepare yourself by having an emergency fund.
An emergency fund can prepare you for any obstacles that your family may face. When we save up for even a modest emergency fund, we are ensuring that we are equipped to deal with hiccups such as repairs, doctor visits, or unforeseen expenses.
Below are 3 simple, yet effective, steps you can take to build your emergency fund in 60 days.
Disclaimer: I am not a personal finance expert. The information shared here should not be seen as professional advice. You should consult a financial professional before making any financial decisions.
Tip #1 – Reduce Expenses
Are you aware of how much money is typically spent on unnecessary expenses? Take a moment to think about how much is being spent on eating out, the latest clothing, cable, and unused subscription boxes? Reducing expenses is an excellent way to build up an emergency fund because it allows money that would normally be used on expenses to be put into the emergency fund instead.
Action Plan: Read The Total Money Makeover and reduce overall expenses by $150 this month.
Not sure what expenses to reduce? Here are a few ideas to get started.
Pack lunch for a week.
Switch from cable to Netflix. Sign up for Netflix here.
Carpool to work so you can split gas costs.
Cook dinner every night this week rather than ordering take out.
Skip expensive activities and opt for free activities instead.
Use cash for a week and save all the change in a jar.
Related: 4 Basic Steps To A Simple Budget
Tip #2 – Work Extra Hours
Do you have extra time in your day to day schedule? Working extra hours can be a great way to supplement the money needed to get your emergency fund off on the right foot. This can be achieved by asking for more hours at work or finding a part-time job. Why? Because an extra ten, fifteen or twenty hours can make a big difference in your paycheck. A good idea is to start looking for work in the field that you are already employed in. This can equate to a higher rate per hour. If an extra $200 a week can be made working 10 hours, then the time put in can be minimal. However, if that is not an option, then part-time jobs like working at a grocery store, mowing lawns, tutoring or babysitting can bring in a few hundred bucks a month.
Action Plan: Earn an extra $300 this month.
Tip #3 – Sell Everything
Okay, so in all seriousness, don’t sell everything. But… take a moment and think about this: If the people around you are always buying stuff, then that means that people are always selling stuff? There could be quality books, games, toys, or clothing other people may want, that your family no longer has a need for. Instead of allowing the items to collect dust in the hall closet, put them up for sell at a consignment shop, yard sale or even on a used selling website like eBay or Amazon.
Action Plan: Have a yard sale and earn $50 or more from old belongings.
Related: How To Sell On Amazon
That’s a quick $500 right there! Repeat this for 2 months and you will have your $1,000 emergency fund. Keep in mind that when building an emergency fund, the money in that fund is used to aid in emergency situations and circumstances. A trip to Florida during Spring Break is not an emergency.
What tactics have you used to build your emergency fund?