12 Ways to Build an Emergency Fund This Year

by Tracy · 0 comments

If you don’t have one, an emergency fund should be your number one priority this year. While experts recommend having anywhere from 3-12 months worth of living expenses on hand, don’t get so overwhelmed by that number that you decide it’s not even worth trying. Even having a thousand dollars or so in a savings account is enough to prevent things like unexpected car repairs or an illness from snowballing into a disaster.

Here are 12 things that anyone can do to start building their emergency fund today.

1. Get a jump-start on your emergency fund by selling things that you no longer want or need. You don’t have to wait until yard sale season; Craigslist, eBay, Amazon and even just leaving flyers on bulletin boards will all work.

2. If you are eligible for an income tax refund this year, have it sent directly to your savings account. It’s tempting to spend it on something nice for yourself, especially if you’ve been living close to the edge all year long, but having money in the bank will enable you to get the long-term financial security you need.

3. Speaking of income tax refunds, if you did get a substantial one, it’s worth it to take a look at your exemptions to see if reducing the number will increase the size of your paycheck. This does mean you’ll forgo a large refund, but you’ll also have more money to work with each month so that you can save and avoid debt.

4. Look for opportunities to freelance or work odd jobs. Even if you only make an extra $85 each month, if you put it into savings you’ll have a thousand dollars by the end of December 2012. Read this article on how to earn extra money or this one that describes how to use your skills to find freelance work for useful tips and leads.

5. Take the time to craft a realistic budget. Savings should be a priority, not what you do with the money that is left-over. Consider paying into your savings account a bill like any other.

6. Learn how to plan a meal so that you can eat a good, healthy diet without wasting money.

7. Pack a lunch almost every work day and avoid the temptation to eat out.

8. Take advantage of everything that your public library has to offer. You can find everything from books that can help you manage your money to cookbooks that will help you make eating at home more fun to diy and car repair manuals. Many also offer free or cheap movie and video game rentals, classes and other services that are free to the public.

9. Look at services that you can cut or reduce. Cell phone service, data plans, high speed Internet, home phone service and cable/satellite television are some areas where many people can cut back with minimal negative effects. Remember that we also collect and share many cell phone coupons and broadband promotions here at CouponShoebox.

10. Set aside a few hours to do some comparison shopping for insurance. You could quite possibly save several hundred dollars a year by switching to a new insurance company. One caveat: be sure that you aren’t getting a lower price because you are buying less coverage. Always compare like with like.

11. Look at it as a challenge, not a sacrifice. Read this article on how to make saving money fun to get some good ideas on how to approach savings with a positive attitude.

12. Don’t give up if you can’t make everything work the first time. Life has a way of throwing us curveballs. You might find that an emergency eats up every penny or more in February or the price of food and gas rises much higher than you expected. The important thing is to not give up and continue doing the best you can. You will find that eventually you will build up an emergency fund and that savings becomes an automatic part of your life.

Bonus Tip:

You can seriously cut your Internet and TV costs. Find a Verizon FiOS promotion code here and you might be able to spend less every month.

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