10 Ways to Build a $500 Emergency Fund in 90 Days (or less)

Financial Emergencies are a fact of life.  Will you be ready?

Your goal is to stash away $500 or more as quickly as possible, while you continue to meet your basic needs (food, shelter, clothing) and make at least the minimal payments toward any consumer debt (i.e., credit cards, auto loans, school loans, etc.).

This very specific goal translates to $166.67/month, $31.25/week (assuming 4 weeks per month) or $5.55/per day.  Consider the following options to find or generate cash for your Emergency Fund:

ð       Pay yourself first.  First, commit to putting something away each week, no matter the amount.  Think of the amount of money you blow and would never miss.  If it’s $5, commit to saving that amount each week.  If it’s $50/week, then you’ll have your emergency fund in no time!

ð       Coins are our friend.  Gather, collect and deposit loose change throughout the week.  Check your car, couch, purse, and laundry to start your stock pile. No amount of extra cash is too minimal. Each coin is one step closer to achieve your financial goals.

ð       Find that receipt.  Return any unused and unnecessary purchases you’ve made within the last 15 -30 days.  Anything unworn and/or anything with the price tag on it today, honestly re-evaluate the purchase and determine if you still need it.  If not, return it for cash and place the money in your emergency fund.

ð       Turn your clutter into cash.  Consider posting items for sale on eBay, Craig’s list or your local consignment store.  Always include a picture and post for a fair price. You can also pool with friends and neighbors to host a garage sale.

ð       Birthday cash. Yes, celebrate and treat yourself, but commit to saving the majority (more than half) of cash gifts to your growing emergency fund.

ð       Income Tax Refund.  If you receive a refund every year of $1,000 or more, seriously consider adjusting your tax withholding to receive your money NOW versus a lump sum each year in April.

ð       Do It Yourself.  Skip that regularly scheduled pampering appointment and do it yourself this time.  Place the cash you would have paid to your barber, hairstylist, nail technician, pet groomer, or car wash in your emergency fund instead.

ð       Collect on any past due debts.  Unless you are ready to forgive the debt outright, make a friendly call to remind those who owe you money.  Set a deadline or timeline for repayment so you can count it towards reaching your goal.

ð       Unclaimed Cash.  Take a few minutes and research whether you have any unclaimed funds in your home state or other states.  Unclaimed cash can come from uncollected security deposits from utility companies or former landlords.  Or, perhaps there’s an inheritance with your name on it.  Either way, it doesn’t hurt to visit these websites  – www.unclaimed.org and www.missingmoney.com

ð       Temporary sacrifices.When you’ve received a few payouts from the options above, consider bypassing your morning coffee for a week ($5 or more), a dinner and a movie ($30 or more), or suspend your premium cable or satellite subscription for a month ($80 or more) to fund your financial cushion. Make a few temporary sacrifices to prepare for the unexpected.

I want to hear from you.  What other creative ways have you found to generate cash for your emergency fund?

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