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9 Ways to Build Your Emergency Fund


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 quickly earn the money. 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.

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 says, "Sell so much stuff that you're 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!

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–even Dave does that! You'll see the money start to add up pretty quickly!

Carpool to work and activities

With gas prices always 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.

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.

Ditch the cable

Ok, maybe you aren't that extreme, but you could get rid of the premium cable channels. 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. 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! Now that you have some great ideas for quickly building up your emergency fund, it's time to get busy! No more excuses!

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Ready to start saving? Get started with a free trial of Ramsey+ today.

Financial Peace is a great opportunity to get more creative ideas for saving your emergency fund and getting your debt snowball rolling faster. Start a free trial of the Financial Peace Membership and take control of your finances!

Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners.

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