I have been thinking a lot about my Emergency Fund lately. I guess this is because as of right now I don’t have one; with all the financial emergencies I have experienced in the last year. First it was the health emergency, then the vehicle emergency, now it’s “the my dog thinks he’s superdog and tries to fly off the curb – landing face first” emergency. In between worrying about his health, I was seeing $$$. Jordan the wonder dog is fine and has some great pain meds.
Needless to say my emergency fund is tapped out.
With these emergencies behind me and new things to pop up, I need to start building my emergency fund back up. The rule of thumb I try to follow is to build an emergency fund of $1,000 before worrying about saving 3-6 months worth of expenses. This allows you to get into the swing of saving without being overwhelmed with saving $5,000 or more. Saving this money isn’t as hard as you might think.
There are a lot of tips to quickly saving for emergencies, some are common sense and some will make you rethink how you are spending your money.
• Cook all but one meal per week. Cooking is a good way to save a good bit of money every week. We don’t often realize how much money we spend eating out.
• Limit going out. Alcohol is expensive. Have get togethers at your place. Invite your friends, make it BYOB, and enjoy.
• Clothes, gadgets, and subscriptions. Cut back and save for things. Avoid impulse buys.
• Sell your stuff. Ebay and Craigslist aren’t just for buying stuff. List things that you don’t use or wear. If you haven’t worn it in the last 12 months, chances are you won’t wear it in the next 12 months. Same goes for books, movies, pretty much anything.
• Get a second job. Not always fun but an easy way to make some extra cash to build an emergency fund or to pay down debt.
• Get online. There is tons of money to be made online. Take something you love and start writing a blog about it. You can make money from advertisements, affiliate marketing, and eBooks. MD over at Studenomics made $1200 in March 2010 just from writing an eBook about his lifestyle and how others could do the same. Another cool online money making device is online marketing surveys. I do Pinecone Research (you have to wait for them to open registration. When it opens again I will post. You get paid $3 a survey, doesn’t seem like a lot but it adds up.) I also do e-Rewards (you take marketing surveys and build up a balance. Each survey is worth different amounts. You can link this account to you UPromise account for student loans. In a year I have accumulated $100. Again not much but it’s something.) There are many more of these survey websites out there; when I come across a good list again I will post it.
• Save $5 per day. Start eliminating these small desires or bring them from home instead of buying them on the way (coffee, that morning bagel, bottled water…) and save $5 a day. After 6 months, you could have about $900 extra put into savings.
• Question every penny you spend. Hold yourself accountable for your purchases. The little things add up.
• Put adsense on your website. Adsense is the fastest way to make money from your website. And if you don’t have a website, you can always start one.
• Post your resume. Wherever you are a writer, blogger, designer, programmer, etc, there are many websites like elance.com where you can find some part time work. Give it a try and post your resume.
• Write for ehow.com. Ehow is a how to
articles directory. You can write as many articles as you want and receive money when someone visits your articles and clicks the ads.
• Teach English via skype. If you are a native speaker, you may find someone who’s willing to pay you for simply having some conversation over skype. Just do a quick search on google to get an idea.
• Post your photos on istockphoto. Stock photo websites like istockphoto can bring you a lot of money. Some people are even making a high 6 figures income from it.
• Coach or teach others. Do a list of your top skills (hint: you have many) and teach them to other people. If you are good at something, there’s always someone else that wants to learn it, so take the opportunity to make some money and to learn something new at the same time.
• Sell your own product. If you have a hobby where you can make something, sell it.
• Do baby sitting. If hanging around with a baby is no problem for you, consider doing baby sitting.
• Offer to do some errands for your neighborhoods. Everyone’s busy, but you are can alleviate their days by doing some errands for them like going to the groceries store in the afternoon.
• If you know a foreign language, offer to do translations. There are many companies who would benefit from a native speaker for doing some translations. Often you can get a serious work from this, so do some research to see what’s available.
• Make money with clickbank.com. Create an account at clickbank.com and find a genuine product to promote through your website, or build a dedicated website if you are good with SEO (you can always learn).
• Petsitting. Offer to take care of your neighborhood pets when they go on vacation, or take their dogs for a walk while they are at work.
• Offer computer assistance. You may be surprised by how many people don’t know how to do basic stuff like setting up an email account or uploading a video on youtube. Offer them your help for a small fee.
• Build websites for small companies. You don’t have to be a programmer to make websites. There are excellent content managers and templates you can buy for making small websites. You can also outsource the complete process of course.
• Write a book. This is huge, but it may be worth it. Write about something you really care about, and then knock every door until you find some publisher who’s willing to publish your work.
• Start a blog. If you have something to say, start a blog. It might take a while before you start to see some serious money, but they’ll eventually come if you do things right.
• Sell a blog. Of course you can also sell a blog. Blogs are sold every day and many people make and sell blogs as a part of their day job.
• Work in a bar. If you like clubs, bar and night life, consider working in one of it in the weekend.
• Sell your gold. Maybe you have an old bracelet that you really have never used. That could be a quick way to make some bucks.
• Gardening. If you are not afraid of doing manual work, you could take care of someone else’s garden.
• Clean house. If you don’t like gardening, you can always clean homes.
• Cook for others. Your job would be to buy, cook and freeze food for others to enjoy. Only do this if you are a good cook.
• Direct selling. Many companies will be more than happy to give you part of their revenues if you refer to them new clients. You could give presentations of a product to your friends or go door to door.
• Personal shopper. If you have good taste and you love shopping, there’s nothing better than being a personal shopper.
• Deliver pizza. This is an old school way of making money. Be sure you are not afraid of driving fast if you want to do it.
• Waiter. Try to get a part time job as a waiter and you’ll likely get nice tips from customers if you are working in a nice place.
• Rewrite ads. If your grammar is good, take a look at ebay ads and if you notice one that sucks, offer its owner a rewrite for a 1% or 2% fee. Only target big items of course.
• Drive people to the airport or station. Same as before, there’s always someone who needs a drive to the airport.
• Take a look at craiglist for job ideas. There’s always some odd job you could do on craiglist. Take a look at your city’s listings every once in a while and catch every opportunity you can.
• Have a garage sale. If you are moving to a new house, do a garage sale to get rid of your old stuff.
• Sell umbrellas on rainy days. Be the right man in the right place at the right moment ;)
• Tutoring. If you are good at math, English or something else, you can tutor kids during weekends or summers.
• Ask for it. If what you really want is more money, perhaps you could ask for a raise?
See there are a lot of things you can do to earn extra money to build your emergency fund, or even pay off debt.
You never know when an emergency will come up so it’s better to be prepared than have to put yourself further in debt because you have no money set aside.
Once I am able to build up my emergency fund I will be prepared for the next time my dog decides to see if he can fly, I will have money to pay for the ER visit. And anything else that pops up.