Thanks to Dave Ramsey, many people are keen on the idea of saving a $1,000 baby emergency fund as part of their plan towards financial security. Having a thousand dollars saved is enough to cover most little emergencies such as an unexpected car repair or needing urgent dental work and keep you away from using credit to cover these costs.
But how on earth will you put aside $1,000 if you’re barely making ends meet now? It won’t be a walk in the park, but it’s nowhere near impossible, either. Here’s a few ideas on how to save a thousand dollars.
1. No matter what time of year it is, spring clean. Chances are, you can find quite a bit of stuff that you don’t need and could sell to jump-start your savings. Books, clothes, furniture, exercise and sports equipment, baby gear and more can all be sold.
Research the different selling venues to pick the right spot for your things. While books will do well on Amazon or Half.com, exercise equipment might be better sold locally on Craigslist while baby clothes can go on eBay and women’s professional clothing to the consignment shop.
A yard sale is the quickest way to sell your things but unlikely to be the most lucrative. You’ll have to weigh expediency against maximizing your profits to decide what works best for you.
2. Look for a side job or two. While a second part time job delivering pizzas or stocking shelves is a possibility, you can also earn quite a bit of money doing odd jobs like yard work, handyman services, housecleaning, babysitting and painting.
There are many opportunities for earning extra money if you are diligent for looking for opportunities. Families with a stay at home parent should look into having that parent find a way to bring in extra cash, if only until the emergency fund is complete.
3. Go on a drastic spending diet, but only for a month or so. While this is unsustainable for the long run for most people, almost everyone can live super frugally for a few weeks. Avoid buying anything that is not 100% necessary and eat from your pantry and freezer to keep spending down. This will not only help you save a lot of money in a short time, it will also reset your expectations and remind you of how nice a simple life really can be.
4. Look for services and subscriptions you can cancel. It’s amazing how much we spend on phones and entertainment. You don’t have to cancel everything, just edit it down to the ones that you get the most out of. If you find that you actually need everything that you pay for every month, then at least look for some broadband promotions so you can get a good discount.
Do you need both your cable and Netflix? Do you need a cell phone and a land line? Can you downsize to a simple phone without a data plan?
Saving $1,000 can seem intimidating, but you’ll be surprised at how fast things can add up if you put your mind to it.