While certainly not a novel topic I wanted to document our journey to build up $1000 of a mini emergency fund at the beginning of our financial reckoning. This strays a bit from the FiscalGeek focus but so much the better if any of these tips are helpful and are actual techniques we used to free up $1000 in a one month period.
- Cleared out the Storage unit and canceled monthly recurring charge: $65 saved per month.
- Sold off the stuff from my storage unit on http://www.craigslist.org $150 saved. This could be stuff you just have laying around I only sell large stuff on ebay that would be too costly to ship. I just prefer to use ebay for other items, I’ve got a good system going, I don’t have to schedule a meet and you can often get more for your items with some serious bidding action.
- Renegotiated the Comcast Internet/Phone/Cable bill: $53 saved per month. This one is surprisingly easy even if you are not into confrontation and negotiation. I can’t speak for all of the providers but Comcast was surprisingly easy to deal with. Merely asking what current deals are there and explore what it is you are really paying for, I was able to remove some channels I had never even watched and with a 5 minute call $53 saved.
- Adjusted my auto insurance. Caveat: you must have car insurance and you should not skimp on you liability portions. What you can do is adjust your deductible especially if you have an emergency fund in place, I bumped it up to $1000 deductible on my truck and was able to remove the gap coverage on my truck. Gap coverage is where you are paying more for your insurance because the value of your vehicle is less than what you owe on it, yet one more reason to get out of debt. These changes: $67.32 saved per month.
- Removed data plan from my cell phone. This was a hard one but I’ve freed up some bucks and reclaimed some of my sanity. I work in the tech field and I get email 24×7 but that doesn’t mean I need to be reading and responding 24×7. I also changed my wife to a smaller plan. These changes: $61.19 saved per month.
- Sold stuff on Ebay:
- Since I no longer had a data plan sold my smartphone and bought a cheap used Nokia flip, net gain $345 saved. Here’s a tip if you sell a Cell phone on ebay get it unlocked if it’s a GSM phone so that it can be used on most any GSM network. You don’t have to pay to do this usually often calling your Cell provider to tell them you want to unlock your phone and they will often give you the proper code which means it will be worth much more to ebayers. Be sure to advertise that prominently.
- Sold an old version of Microsoft Office. I had this laying around, people will pay a large amount of money for software even if it’s old because often they can use that old copy to qualify for a reduced cost upgrade. $165 saved.
- Sold a pair of my wifes shoes she never actually wore and could not return to the store. $45 saved.
- Figured out how to use my Rewards points with my bank. I was able to convert those points to $75 saved. My bank gives rewards when you use your check card as credit and passes some of the kickbacks on to you. I had been acquiring points for the last year and did nothing with it.
- Sold some unused books on half.com and Amazon. It’s up to you which you use, Amazon doesn’t pay very much honestly and after I got rid of my big ticket books like the newer Harry Potters and technical books I decided to stop it just wasn’t worth my time. Do some checking around to see what you can really get. $112 saved.
- Did some quick reviews and other HITs on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk http://mturk.com for some money. You are certainly not going to get rich doing this but it’s easy and you can do this while you are sitting around watching less channels on TV. $14.50 saved.
- Actually created a budget and lived on it. This was not a simple change for our family but is really the most powerful. For the first month we were able to find $525 for the month. We now carry any extra savings on to our debt snowball but this was a great way to get our emergency fund going.
So with all these changes we were able to save $1678.81 in the first month. It is doable, now I know that we had some bigger ticket items to sell which you may or may not have but honestly you can convert many of the things in your house to dollars with a small amount of work. So not only were we able to fund our baby emergency fund but we were able to find monthly savings as well. So go for it, what other tricks can you find?