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How to save for an Emergency Fund

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

Garage saleHaving 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

Etsy web page

“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.

Conclusion

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.

 

Was this helpful? Share it with your friends. After all, they also deserve the fine things that life has to offer.

Gary

8 Comments

  1. Hi Gary

    It is crazy to think of those statistics that 70% of Americans don’t have $1000 in their bank account. I really do believe people need to be saving into an emergency fund. It’s handy to have for a rainy day. These are great ways of earning money that is very accessible with the likes of eBay and Etsy. 

    A great article on how to save your money, thank you

    • Hi Ronan and thank you for the comments on my article.

      It is sadly true that many people do not have enough savings for everyday repairs or emergencies around their home. You will probably find that this statistic is similar worldwide and not just in the US. As an Aussie, I know a lot of Australians are also strapped for cash.

      There are a huge number of ways that people can save for emergencies and I will be detailing these in my upcoming articles. eBay and Etsy are easy ways to earn extra income. But, there are many freelancing options also available.

      Best wishes, Gary

  2. I LOVE your post. People need financial advice more than they like to admit, and it can be really hard sometimes. But when you have an emergency, you need savings to help you get back on track. I sell things on the Offer Up and 5 Miles apps all the time. We have a lot more things we can sell than we think, you just have to be willing to sell them.

    • Hi Karissa,

      Thanks for the comments. People are hesitant to ask for financial advice for a number of reasons; they see themselves as failures, they don’t want the “emotional baggage” of asking family for help, they don’t want others prying into what they have or don’t have.

      But, as you say, in an emergency, it is so much more comforting if you have the funds available to fix the situation. Most people can find things to sell to build an Emergency Fund but you can also sell your services, rather than products. Freelancing as a writer or web designer or graphics artist. Translating or transcribing. Teaching English or a foreign language.

      Everybody has skills that they can market. It is just a matter of learning how!

      All the best for your future endeavours.

      Gary

  3. Very good post and good info.

    Let me say something, 80 percent of the Europeans don’t have a fund like that, so if something happens, they have a problem, and you can see it more often and often.

    Why it is, well, look at the things, your wage stays the same, but in meanwhile verything rises.

    Also, they loan too much for what they can, which is a problem.

    The advise you give is very good, you can do a lot of things to get that extra money, so I will share it so people can have more knowledge about it!

    Thanks!

    • Hi Emmanuel,

      Thank you for your comments. It is surprising how many people in the world do not have enough savings to cover even a small emergency. Wage growth in most countries is still almost zero, as it has been for the past decade. Increasing debt and stalling wages is a recipe for disaster. Putting money aside for an emergency is essential.

      I would be truly grateful (and you would be a true friend) if you share this article and my website with your friends.

      Wishing you every success in life,

      Gary

  4. This is a really interesting post and idea. I currently just pay for my emergencies with my usual bank account however this is a really great idea. It then reduces the risk of needing a loan and having to pay back with interest. Also, it could be an idea to just put 10% of each paycheck into this account and let it build up, rather than stopping at £1000, just let it grow so you can use it for more expensive emergencies too.

    • Hi Joe,

      Thanks for your comments.

      I totally agree that putting away 10% of your paycheck is a great idea. Unfortunately, most people don’t have savings, so finding 10% for many people is almost impossible.

      Too many people live for the here and now and don’t even consider their future until something like an emergency comes up. Then, out comes the credit card and more debt!

      If you have the mindset to be able to put away savings from each paycheck, invest it wisely and look at ways to increase the savings you can put away, you are on your way to financial freedom.

      Wishing you every success in life,

      Gary

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