10 Practical Ways to get your Emergency Fund off the Ground

piggyMore than ever it is becoming increasingly important for every person to have an Emergency Fund. It is just what its title suggests – money set aside for the genuine emergencies that occur in everyday life (and no, a trip to Tahiti does not constitute an “emergency”!) While some suggest having 3-6 months worth of expenses set aside, others say 6 + months. It may seem exorbitant to have that much money aside that you are not allowed to touch, but you will be very glad to have it in the event of a job loss, disability, or other life-altering event. The statistics are frightening about how little savings the average household typically has, yet you can be assured that major unexpected expenses will come at some point or another.

While gathering enough money to cover multiple months worth of expenses sounds daunting, how about setting a goal of reaching the first $1000 quickly? Here are some practical ways you can start seeing your savings grow without having to dip in to your chequing account.

  1. Sell things – Take a look around your home and see what you are able to part with. Sure you may like an item, but do you like it enough to let it get in the way of you and financial security? Take a look at local ads for in person or online garage sales in your area. Or you could always check out large online sites such as Craigslist, Ebay, or Kijiji. This method takes little skill or time, and you can gain some quick cash. If you have gold or precious metals that you no longer wear, take them to a reputable goldsmith and receive cash for your pieces.
  2. Dog walking – This is an excellent way to get outside, clear your head, and sneak in some exercise. Put up an ad around your neighbourhood or check out online databases to see who would be interested in hiring some help in this area.
  3. Work online – Now more than ever, there are options to make money through online means. Whether you can be a freelance writer, start a blog, take online surveys, or have a YouTube channel, any bit of extra income will help you achieve your goals and be fun in the process.
  4. Do odd jobs – If the neighbourhood kids can make a profit doing this, then so can you! Whether it be lawn care tasks like cutting grass or raking leaves, or doing snow removal in the winter, consider this an opportunity to clean up yards around your own while being one step closer to financial freedom.
  5. Child care – Already a parent who stays at home? Caring for a few more children can increase your savings rather quickly!
  6. Make a return – Feeling some recent buyer’s remorse? Return the item you purchased and put that money into your Emergency Fund.
  7. Sell your gift cards – As much as we love to get gift cards, sometimes they are for places we are not interested in. You can sell your gift cards to websites such as cardswap.ca or cardcash.com. You can also trade them in for places you really would use them at and stash the savings.
  8. Monetize your hobby – Are you famous for your baking? Take excellent photos? Have a knack for sewing? All of these things can go from something to do in your downtime, to a real business venture. Whether it be through an Etsy shop, selling at a Farmer’s Market, or simply by word of mouth. Doing what you love can be even sweeter when it is helping you increase your income.
  9. Get a part time job – This doesn’t have to be a drag. Consider somewhere that you already enjoy being, or products you love. Be careful though! Taking advantage of the employee discount defeats the purpose of you working that job.
  10. Use your tax refund – Sure, it’s certainly lackluster compared to a shopping spree, but being able to pad your savings with “free” money is exciting in its own way. You could also apply this to any increase in salary or money that is gifted to you.

Remember, any savings is better than nothing. As you achieve your savings goals, keep increasing them until you reach the final amount. Know that you don’t have to do these things forever, but the sacrifice is worth the peace of mind. Suddenly life’s emergencies won’t actually be emergencies because you will be able to cover them – and that is worth all the sacrifice.

Have any other ideas for making money on the side? Leave them below!

 

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