To kickstart you on your journey to financial freedom, I am setting you a goal to save $1,000 as quickly as you can. This Emergency Fund is to cover those small unexpected events. Small things like the home heating breaking down or car troubles. Or maybe just a flat tire. In these situations, most people just pull out their credit card. But no more!
From now on, you are going to maintain an emergency fund to take care of life’s small disruptions. Imagine how great it will feel, knowing that you have money in the bank to cover these unexpected expenses.
So where is the $1000 going to come from?
Did you know that around 70% of Americans don’t have $1,000 in their bank account? I expect the numbers are similar in UK and Australia as well.
“If so many people don’t have $1,000 in the bank, how am I expected to do it? I am already struggling to make ends meet!”
This is the reaction I get from a lot of people, including close friends, when I recommend that the first critical step towards financial freedom is to have funds available to cover unexpected emergencies. Now, $1,000 isn’t the ultimate goal for your emergency fund, but it is a start.
OK. So you don’t have a spare $1,000 and you can’t save it from your weekly paycheck. Let’s look at some alternatives. They may even kick start a regular savings program, meaning that you can grow your savings without having to touch your salary.
Get rid of your unwanted items with a garage sale
Having a garage sale is an easy way to make some money towards your emergency fund while reducing clutter around the house at the same time. The money that you make could meet your $1,000 target if you have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years. After all, many of us are hoarders whether we like to admit it or not.
Be honest with yourself when you are looking for items for your garage sale. If you have not worn that shirt or jacket in the past year, are you likely to wear it again? Truthfully? Go through your wardrobes and storage cupboards and pull out anything which you no longer use. If you purchased it, somebody else will likely want to purchase it from you, too!
Buy and sell stuff on eBay
Selling on eBay is a great way to get rid of stuff you don’t want anymore. If you have things that are too special to sell at a garage sale, then consider selling them on eBay.
Setting up an eBay account is straight forward and shouldn’t be too daunting. After all, you have already negotiated the internet to get to this post! To sell on eBay, there are some additional steps that you need to take.
1. List your item
- Click “Sell” at the top of any eBay page from your computer. From mobile devices, click the “Selling” tab and then click “List an item”.
- Create a detailed listing for the item you are going to sell. Sometimes you’ll see listing templates for similar items, after you enter the initial item description. So, just select the listing that best matches your item. If nothing matches, click the “Create a new listing” at the top right. Include a detailed title, photos and description, including any unique features or flaws.
- Choose your listing format – Auction and/or Buy It Now.
- Set a reasonable price and, after reviewing your listing, click “List It”.
- You will receive a confirmation from eBay when a buyer has paid for the item.
2. Ship your item
- Once your item has sold, go to the “Sold” section in My eBay, find the item, and click “Print Shipping Label”.
- Enter the weight and dimensions of the package you’re shipping.
- Select a carrier and shipping method.
- Click “Print Shipping Label”.
- For international sales, you may choose to use the Global Shipping Program.
3. Get paid for your item
- The easiest payment method for eBay is PayPal. PayPal is a secure online payment system that protects both buyers and sellers from start to finish. It’s also a great way to accept credit cards. Signing up is easy. Just go to paypal.com and follow the online instructions.
There you have it. By selling any unwanted items you may have, or even buying mispriced items on eBay and re-selling them (called arbitrage), you have a fantastic opportunity to build your emergency fund in a short period.
Open a shop on Etsy
“But wait, there’s more” as the saying goes. If you are an artsy sort of person or like everything vintage, then opening up an Etsy shop may be a fun way to save for your emergency fund.
So, what is Etsy?
According to the Etsy website, “Etsy is the global marketplace for unique and creative goods. It’s home to a universe of special, extraordinary items, from unique handcrafted pieces to vintage treasures.”
“Etsy highlights the magic of human imagination — it’s the only place where you can find the perfect wedding gift and a cape for your bearded lizard while you’re at it. If you can dream it up, it’s probably on Etsy.”
You can see from this description that Etsy can be a great place to make money if you have an artistic streak. By making your own items and selling them through your Etsy shop, you now have the perfect platform for saving your $1,000 emergency fund.
I won’t go into all the details about setting up your Etsy shop as there are plenty of articles which cover this in great detail. If you are interested, a great place to start is on the Etsy website itself. They have produced the Beginner’s Guide to Selling on Etsy, which is available here.
So there you have it. If you don’t currently have an emergency fund, now is the ideal time to start one. Don’t have the money available; still no excuses. Use one of the strategies that I recommend or come up with an even better one. There are millions and millions of people wanting to buy your stuff.
Who knows, you may enjoy it so much that you continue to use these money-making strategies even after you build up your emergency fund. This could be the start of your journey to financial freedom!
But remember, if you need to use this money in an emergency, you need to top it up again before you tackle the next step. Otherwise, you are back where you started and that is not the aim of this website. I am here to help you become financially free.
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