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No Debts! Eight Simple Ways to Save for an Emergency

No Debts! Eight Simple Ways to Save for an Emergency

Most people amass huge amounts of debt during their youth, which they are unable to pay off for many years. There are some who manage to keep their debt in check, or even remain debt free, but once a disaster strikes and there are suddenly some hefty unexpected bills to pay, they too can find themselves in a deep financial hole that’s difficult to dig out of. This is why it is important to have some money squared away for rainy days.

An emergency fund can help you deal with things like your car breaking down, you or someone you love getting seriously ill and spending a lot of time in the hospital, or being invited to an out-of-the-bloom wedding. However, once you have paid the bills, made your credit card and other payments, and spent a large chunk of your salary on groceries, there is often not much left for your emergency fund. Well, fear not my friend, there are plenty of ways to get a bit of extra money and build up a decent emergency fund.

1. Sell your junk, and some of your valuables

Yard sale

    A quick rummage through your basement, attic and garage can reveal plenty of fairly useful stuff that just sits collecting dust. Just because you don’t have any use for it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find someone who will. Take all the junk out and organize a yard sale. You can also look at some of your valuable items that don’t have a lot of emotional value for you–things like paintings, home décor, some jewelry, that relatively new tablet that you barely use, and so on. You can use websites, like Ebay or even some forums, to sell virtually anything that you have lying around.

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    2. Make a big shopping run once a week

    The quickest way to burn through your salary is to use your credit card for small purchases throughout the day. It’s very difficult to keep track of how much you’ve spent–hint, it’s a lot more than you think–and you’ll constantly think of something else you need or want. If you only go on a big shopping spree once a week, with a carefully crafted list, and use cash for any minor purchases during the rest of the week you will be able to control your spending much more effectively. Buying things in bulk can often save you some extra money on different items as well.

    3. Avoid overpriced big-name brands

    Stone vs iPhone 3G

      While it’s worth investing in more expensive high-quality models when it comes to shoes, electronics and cars, for example, a lot of the products out there are very easy to manufacture and utilize cheap active ingredients and materials–that which makes them work. Such items include toothpaste, shampoo, soap, a variety of skin care products, simple t-shirts, most drugs and workout supplements.

      In order to find the best deals and the most cost-effective options, you just need to be patient and dedicated when shopping. Take your time and really look around. With a bit of trial and error, you will soon find out which items you can and can’t cut corners on. By sticking with the basics and going for functionality over marketing hype, you can cut your shopping costs in half.

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      4. Look for another job

      An additional source of income can really help make things easier if you want to save for emergency, without sacrificing much in terms of comfort. You can make use of any skills you might have, or just go with a simple job that doesn’t require a lot of skill.

      Even if you don’t have any particular skills, you have plenty of opportunities to get some free training for a bunch of different professions, from web designer to teacher to nurse aid. These are all jobs that can help you earn a decent amount of money on the side. Be sure to contact your friends, family and acquaintances to see if there are any positions open where you would be a good fit–a bit of networking can yield some impressive results.

      5. Do freelance work

      Freelance work

        If you can’t find the time or energy to work two jobs, you can consider doing some freelance work from home. Even after a long day at work, you can find the energy to sit down at the computer and clock in another 3-4 hours at the computer. Most of us end up spending as much time on the computer playing games or updating our social media profiles anyway, so it’s easy to make a shift to doing something a bit more productive.

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        Check out websites like Elance or Freelancer, and you will quickly find tons of available jobs for anything from writing, data entry, editing and translation, to website and app design. If you’ve got a bit of talent and skill, you can make a quick buck. You won’t get enough to support your family with a few work hours a day, but it will be more than enough to quickly build up a respectable emergency fund.

        6. Monetize your hobby

        Another great way to secure some extra income that you can save for an emergency is to find a way to earn money from your hobbies. You may be able to sell all manner of handcrafted décor and jewelry on Etsy, hold martial arts classes in your garage, teach people how to sing or play piano on Skype, sell some unique collector’s items and so on. You can even pick up a new hobby as a means of becoming proficient in a certain area, say woodcarving, with the ultimate goal of earning some extra money out of it. Almost any hobby can be monetized one way or another, particularly if you’ve acquired a good deal of skill over the years.

        7. Start obsessing about your carbon footprint

        Eco conscious

          Even if you aren’t much of a hippie and don’t care about the environment, which you should, there are plenty of hidden benefits to being an eco-warrior, namely cost reduction. You see, the way we get our energy isn’t all that clean or good for the environment. Even electricity is produced in power plants which are responsible for around a third of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

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          Our cars pollute the environment, we use up a huge amount of natural resources and create incredible amounts of garbage that gets thrown out. You get the gist of it. Once we start being more eco-conscious we stop leaving the lights on in rooms when we leave, turn off the devices when not in use, never leave the water running longer than it is necessary and use our cars less often.

          A few simple changes around the home can help save a whole lot of money in the long run. Installing and programming a decent thermostat can shave about 25% off your heating bill, while improving your home’s insulation by caulking up windows and doors, using draft stoppers and window insulation film will bring the cost down even more. Invest a bit of time and effort into converting your home into an eco-friendly zone, and try to reduce your carbon footprint as much as you can. This can make a big difference in how much money you spend every month.

          8. Start making good use of piggy banks in your home

          When people say that every penny counts, they are being quite literal, and quite right. Loose change, one dollar bills and a few fives and 20s here and there–you can spend these without even realizing it, or you can put them into your little savings box each chance you get. It is not something that will reduce your quality of life–in fact, you probably won’t even notice it at all–but all this leftover change and a few larger bills will slowly add up.

          Get a big enough container and put a little something in there each day–even just the loose change in your pocket at the end of the day. After several months, when you open it and pour the money out on the table, you will be pleasantly surprised. It’s not uncommon to see people save up a few hundred dollars this way, without any special effort.

          Staying out of debt is a matter of being responsible with your money and being prepared for unforeseen circumstances. A good emergency fund will help you get through tough times. Anyone can save up a decent amount for money for their emergency fund as long as they heed some of this basic advice.

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          Ivan Dimitrijevic

          SEO Consultant

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          Published on October 8, 2018

          13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

          13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

          Are you having trouble sticking to a family budget? You aren’t alone.

          Budgeting is difficult. Creating one is hard enough, but actually sticking to it is a whole other issue. Things come up. Desires and cravings happen. And the next thing you know, budgets break.

          So how can you stick to a family budget? Here are 13 tips to make it easier.

          1. Choose a major category each month to attack

          As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” With that in mind, one approach to help you get into the habit of sticking to a budget is simply starting slow.

          Spend too much on Starbucks runs, eat out too often, and have an out-of-this-world grocery bill? Choose one bad habit and attack.

          By choosing one behavior to focus on, you’ll prevent yourself from being overwhelmed. You’ll also experience small victories, which help you gain positive momentum. This momentum can then carry over into your overall budget.

          2. Only make major purchases in the morning

          If you’re making large purchases in the evening, there’s a good chance you’re doing so after a long day and you’re probably tired.

          Why does this matter? Because our judgement tends to be off when tired – our willpower is compromised.

          Instead, only make major purchasing decisions in the morning when you’re energized and refreshed. Your brain will be firing on all cylinders and your resolve will be high. You’re less likely to give in and settle at this point.

          3. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry

          Have trouble with impulse buys at the grocery store? If so, there’s a good chance you’re going grocery shopping while hungry.

          The problem here is that when you’re hungry, everything looks good. So you’re more likely to make split decisions on things that aren’t on your grocery list.

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          Instead, make sure you eat prior to your grocery store trip. Then take your list, along with your full stomach, and go shopping. Notice how food doesn’t look quite so good when you’re not fighting cravings.

          4. Read one-star reviews for products

          Is there a product you just have to have (but maybe not really)? Check out the one-star reviews.

          By reading all the horrible reviews, you may be able to basically trick yourself into deciding that the product isn’t worth your time and money.

          Next thing you know, you didn’t make the purchase, you saved the money, and you feel good about the decision.

          5. Never buy anything you put in an online shopping cart until the next day

          If you are making a purchase online, it’s typically a two-step process. First, you click “Add to Cart” and then you go in to review your cart and pay.

          The problem is that there not typically much reviewing during step two. It’s generally click pay and there you go. However, this is the perfect point to stop for reflection.

          Once you add to your cart, your best bet is to step away until the next day. Let the item sit there and grow cold, so to speak.

          This gives you a night to “sleep on it” and decide if you really want and need to spend that money. If you wake up the next day and still find the purchase viable, then perhaps it’s time to go for it.

          6. Don’t save your credit card info on any site you shop on

          One of the other pitfalls of shopping online is that fact that most sites ask you to save your credit card information.

          While the sites will frame it as a method of convenience, the truth is they know you’ll spend more money in the long run if your credit card information is saved.

          The “convenience” takes away one last decision-making point in the purchasing process. True, it’s a pain to get out your credit card and enter the information every time. But guess what? That’s the point. If that inconvenience helps you stay on budget, then it’s worth it. Which leads into the next tip.

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          7. Tape an “impulse buy” reminder to your credit card

          Credit cards make spending much easier than cash. When you spend cash, you can literally see your wallet emptying. A credit card comes out, then goes back in. No harm, no foul.

          That’s why it’s a good idea to tape a reminder to your credit card. Customize a message that is something along the lines of “do you really need this?” or “does it fit the budget?”

          That way when you pull out the card, you get one last reminder to help you question your decision and stick to your budget.

          8. Only use gift cards to shop on Amazon

          Amazon is probably the easiest place online to blow money. It’s just so easy to click and buy. However, one way you can slow the process down is buy only using gift cards. Here’s how it works.

          If you plan on making a purchase on Amazon, go to the grocery store and purchase a pre-loaded Amazon gift card of the proper amount. There’s no convenience fee, so you literally pay for the money you’ll spend.

          Now take that gift card home and load it to your Amazon account. There’s your money to spend.

          Why does this help? It makes you have to purposely go to the score and purchase the card in order to purchase the item. That’s a pretty deliberate thing that takes some time, commitment, and thought.

          This process will effectively kill the impulse buy.

          9. Budget using cash and envelopes

          As mentioned earlier, it’s a lot harder to spend cash than swipe a credit card. You can take this even farther by using only cash, and separating that cash by budget category.

          Create an envelope for each category and stick the cash in there at the beginning of each month. When the envelope is empty, no more spending on that category, unless you borrow from another (be careful of that approach).

          This can be pretty helpful for people that have a hard time following transactions in their checking account, or keeping a budgeting spreadsheet.

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          The envelopes simplify the tracking process, leaving no room for error. Nothing hides from you because it’s tangible in the envelopes in front of you.

          10. Join a like-minded group

          Making the decision to stick to something like budgeting is difficult. It takes long-term commitment.

          You’re going to feel weak sometimes. And sometimes you may fail. That said, support from others can help strengthen resolve.

          Support can come from a spouse or a friend, but they won’t always have the exact same goal in mind. That’s why it’s a good idea to join a support group that’s likeminded.

          No need to pay here, as there are tons of free communities that fit the bill online.

          For example, reddit has multiple subreddits that deal with budgeting and frugal living. You can follow, subscribe, and get active in those communities.

          This will open your eyes to new tips and strategies, keep your goal fresh on your mind, and help you realize there are others dealing with the same struggles and being successful.

          11. Reward Yourself

          When you set a budget, it’s usually with a large goal in mind. Maybe you want to be debt free, or perhaps you want to see $10,000 in your savings account.

          Whatever the case, the end goal is great, but the end is often far away, making it hard to see the end of the tunnel.

          With that in mind, it’s a good idea to set mini-goals along the way. This helps you still look at the big picture but have something that’s attainable in the short-term to help with momentum.

          But don’t stop there – set rewards for yourself when you reach that small goal. Maybe it’s an extra meal out. Or a new pair of shoes.

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          Whatever the case, this gives you something in the near future to look forward to, which can help with the fatigue that can result in pursuing long-term goals.

          12. Take the Buddhist approach

          You don’t have to be a Buddhist to recognize some of the wisdom in the teachings. One of the tenets of the philosophy involves accepting that we can’t have everything we want. And that’s okay.

          Sometimes you won’t feel good. Sometimes you’ll have cravings. You can’t deny them. But you can recognize them, accept them, and let them pass by. Then you move on.

          Apply this to the times you want to do things that will break your budget. You’re going to have the desire to eat out when you shouldn’t. You might want to stay out and spend too much at happy hour with your work friends.

          The feelings will come. Recognize them, accept them, but let them go.

          13. Set up automatic drafts to savings

          If you wait until you’ve spent all your budgeted money to deposit money into savings, guess what? You probably aren’t going to put any money into savings.

          It’s too easy to see that as extra money and end up using it to treat yourself.

          Instead, set up automatic savings withdrawals. That way, the money is marked and gone before you can even think about it. It becomes a non-issue. It’s no longer “extra.” It’s just savings.

          Conclusion

          Sticking to a budget can be difficult. No one is denying that.

          However, if you can do a few things to set yourself up for success, and put some practices in place to curb impulse buys, then you can (and will!) be successful sticking to your family budget.

          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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