By: K.H. Smith
If you don’t have an emergency fund, you can really get into trouble with debt quickly. Ideally, you want to have 3-6 months of your monthly expenses set aside for emergencies. Preferably in an account that is not readily accessed, so you are not tempted to tap into it. But if you are just starting out on the debt-free journey, a $1000 savings is a good buffer. Most emergencies, such as car repairs, ER copays, and home repairs are less than $1000. So let’s figure out how to get $1000 into your savings account!
- Eat the food you have in the pantry, fridge, and freezer! It may not be what you WANT to eat, but it is food and it’s already paid for. Put the money you normally budget for food into savings. You may need to supplement with fruits and veggies, but try to buy the minimum. I try to do this every few weeks anyway to keep our pantry from filling up. This also eliminates going out or ordering in. BUT, you must plan your menu, otherwise, you will be too tempted to order food when you don’t know what to make for dinner. Depending on your budget this can save you a few hundred bucks!
- Sell unused items around the house on Ebay or Craigslist. You might be surprised what you can get for your golf clubs or bikes. If you have a lot of stuff, have a yard sale! This could net you $100 +.
- Cut your cable, or at least trim the package you are getting. Most people do not need all those channels and cable boxes. Consider dropping it all together and just use Netflix or other streaming options. You may be able to save $25-50 per month. And even if you don’t want to drop service, call and negotiate with them and you may be able to get a better deal. Do be aware of any terms such as 2-year agreements, etc.
- Don’t go shopping. In my world, this means don’t go to Target for anything! Try to limit your spending to just NEEDS. You would be amazed at how quickly your quick trip adds up when you look around. There are a lot of cute things and sales trying to tempt you. It is much easier to avoid if you never see it! You won’t miss it!
- Drink water. Don’t spend money on unnecessary beverages like sodas, alcohol, or juices. If you must have coffee, brew your own. Buying coffee daily can kill your budget. Cut back significantly if you can’t go cold turkey. Maybe just a glass of wine or beer on the weekend? It is better for your health as well. Savings depends on your habits, which can be $20-50 per week.
Give these ideas a try and surprise yourself on how a few simple changes can really add up to $$ in the bank! Once you get that $1000 emergency fund going you are ready to move on to paying off debt!
If you have other ideas to cut your monthly budget and start your emergency fund, feel free to leave me a comment!
Photocredit. David Niblick