You may already know that Baby Step 1 is saving $1,000 for a starter emergency fund. It might seem daunting to save up that much money, but you can do it! Even if you've never held $1,000 cash in your hands before, there are plenty of ways to earn the money quickly. Then you can stash it away in the bank for a rainy day.
Here are several ways you can start saving your emergency fund:
Get a second job
Sure, no one wants to leave their nine-to-five day job only to head to a night shift somewhere else, but just keep in mind that it's temporary. Remember, you have to live like no one else now so you can live like no one else later. If you're a stay-at-home mom, consider babysitting someone else's kids to bring in some extra cash each month. Many parents would rather have a friend watch their child instead of shuffling them to daycare. In today's world, there are many ways that you can pick up a side hustle without ever having to leave your house.
Sell some stuff
You're bound to have extra stuff around your home just collecting dust. If you don't need it, sell it! Like Dave Ramsey says, "Sell so much stuff that your kids think they're next!" Do you really need five TVs? What about all the clothes in your closet? Throw all your unnecessary stuff in a pile and have a garage sale this weekend! If you don't want to go through the hassle of throwing a full-blown garage sale, consider using services such as eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook's marketplace.
Stop eating out so much
If you are a typical American, you eat in a restaurant more than you eat in your dining room! Making your own meals and staying away from your favorite eatery could save you hundreds of dollars each year. Also, brown bag your lunch during the week if you work outside your home. You'll see the money start to add up pretty quickly. You might want to consider tips to save you money at the grocery store, too.
Carpool to work and activities
With gas prices going up, sharing the commute to work each day with a co-worker is a smart way to save. Whether you drive or ride, this will save you money in the long run. On second thought, do you even need a car? The true cost of a car is much higher than most of us think. Can you work from home? Can you bike to work? What about public transit or ride-share services? All of these options can be a great way to avoid costs like insurance, gas, and regular maintenance.
Kick the habit
Whether it's smoking, lattes, or shoes, kick your indulgence to the curb. A $4 beverage from Starbucks every morning before work may not seem like a lot, but if you take that $4 and save it for just a month, you'll have about $85! That should be incentive enough to stop splurging until you can actually afford it. Even if you cut your usage in half, you'll save more than you are now.
Ditch the stream
Ok, maybe you aren't ready to cut the cable cord entirely, but you could get rid of the premium cable channels or one of two streaming services. They don't just waste your money; they waste your time. Besides, does anyone really watch all 573 channels?
Buy used things
Yes, this will push some beyond their comfort zone. However, considering the markups most retail stores charge on new items, buying "slightly experienced" goods makes a lot of sense. Visit resale shops. Surf over to eBay. Check out the classifieds. You may not enjoy digging around in someone else's stuff, but garage sales are a sure way to save some cash.
Get a piggy bank
Whenever you have spare change, stash it away in your piggy bank, water jug, or in any container that will keep you from dipping into your loose coins. Over time, the change will build up and make a significant impact on your emergency fund.
Use your energy
What do you really enjoy doing? In what area are you especially talented? Now take those talents and find a few ways to make money with them. For example, if you're an excellent cleaner, clean a few houses in your neighborhood to earn some extra cash. Maybe you love dogs. Why not walk your busy neighbor's dog for a few bucks? Are you good at building things? Offer your services for side construction jobs. The possibilities are endless! You never know – it could lead you to your dream job and passions.
Now that you have some great ideas for quickly building up your emergency fund, it's time to get busy! No more excuses!
Financial Peace University is a great opportunity to get more creative ideas for saving your emergency fund and getting your debt snowball rolling faster. You'll be able to gain face-to-face encouragement and creative ideas from others who are daily applying the Baby Steps in their lives as well.
Post originally published on DaveRamsey.com and reprinted with permission.