Written by Martin Banks
In today’s world, you never know what can happen to you, your family or your property. An accident can occur and require you to pay a sum of money you’re not ready to fork over.
Many people create an emergency fund to have a cushion in case of disaster. In other words, you’re planning for the unplanned. Use these six ways to add to an emergency fund that you haven’t thought of.
1. Make Monthly Meal Plans
Adjusting your grocery budget can be an effective way to save money if you’re looking to cut costs. You can take the money saved each month and add it to your emergency fund. Preppers can lower their grocery bills by planning their meals in advance. The amount of planning is up to you, but the best results will be laying out your meals for at least two weeks or a month.
Planning ahead means you already know what you need for each meal and you can make fewer trips to the grocery store, saving time. Take advantage of coupons, BOGO deals, and clearance items at the store. To maximize shelf life, buy freezer-safe foods that will keep for months at a time.
2. Pay Off Your Debts
One of the best ways to attain financial freedom is to pay off your debts. That’s easier said than done, but if you make a concerted effort each month to pay off any outstanding loans, you’ll be in a better position in the long run. There are different kinds of debt affecting Americans each month. Many have debts from student loans, credit cards, medical bills, and payday loans.
One form of debt significantly affecting American households is auto loans. In the United States, the average monthly payment for a car is about $563 per month for a new vehicle and $400 for a used vehicle, making it the most costly monthly bill behind housing.
Auto leases are a popular way for people to get a new car every few years. Problems arise when the market shifts out of your favor. Since the pandemic began, supply chain issues have run amuck and car prices are at record highs. Between 2020 and 2021, the average cost of a new car rose by about $2,000. Now may be a good time to buy out your auto lease and allocate your saved money to your emergency fund.
3. Sell Your Unused Items
Does your house feel cluttered? Odds are good you have stuff in your home that you don’t need and don’t use. Its only use is collecting dust in your garage or bedroom. Pieces of furniture, exercise equipment, appliances, or clothes you don’t wear are all excellent options.
Try using the Marketplace section on Facebook to find a potential buyer in your area. Or, you could try websites like Poshmark or Decluttr. Selling unused items is a practical way to earn money quickly for your emergency fund.
4. Pick Up a Side Hustle
You can cut costs in many ways, but have you thought about picking up a side hustle? This idea is practical if you have free time after work or on the weekends and want to earn extra income on the side. There are numerous choices for a side gig depending on your strengths and what you enjoy doing.
Some side jobs earn passive income, such as renting out your properties to tenants or vacationers. Airbnb has become more prevalent in recent years. Other hustles require more hands-on work. You could start an independent moving company and work weekends only because that’s when many people need help moving. Tutoring is an excellent choice if you like to teach and help younger people succeed. You can use the money earned and deposit it directly into your emergency fund.
Remote work has increased in popularity because of the pandemic. There are ways you can work from home with side jobs that earn money. It may take some time, but you can build up a blog or YouTube channel and monetize it with sponsors. Digital advertising has a high demand, and many companies need graphic designers. You never know what freelance opportunities can take you full-time if you’re successful.
5. Allocate Tax Refunds and Bonuses
Throughout the year, you may come into some extra money. You could’ve gotten a performance bonus for your hard work or holiday cash around the winter holidays. In April, you may get a tax refund. Or, you could luck out and win the lottery.
Whatever the occasion, this extra money is an excellent opportunity to allocate money to your emergency fund. You may have to use some of the bonus or refund for your usual expenses, and that’s OK. Try to carve out a percentage of the funds. Aim for at least 50% if you can. About 44% of Americans say they’re unable to cover an unexpected $1,000 expense, so every dollar helps in your emergency fund.
6. Reconsider Your Vacation Plans
Vacations or any break from your day-to-day tasks are important for recharging your mental health. However, this luxury can be pricey if you’re not careful. You’ll end up spending money for transportation, hotels, food, and other expenses for yourself and anybody you bring along. Instead, consider more affordable options closer to home.
Some more affordable vacations include camping or visiting a national park. Most national parks in the United States have free admission all year. Many vacation spots are cheaper during the off-season and on weekdays. If you’re not much of a trip person, you can use your vacation days to work on your side hustle or other money-earning ventures.
Emergency Preparedness 101
As a prepper, you know that disaster can happen at a moment’s notice. A storm could hit and cause damage to you or your belongings. Many Americans don’t have enough money to cover these expenses. An emergency fund can save the day when you need it most. Use these six creative ways to add money to your emergency fund today.
and cause damage to you or your belongings. Many Americans don’t have enough money to cover these expenses. An emergency fund can save the day when you need it most. Use these six creative ways to add money to your emergency fund today.
About the author
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