Ashley successfully paid off $45,000 in 17 months! Now she uses her experience and expertise to help people make budgets and pay off debt so they can pursue their dreams. Ashley wrote the following post to help you get started. Take it away Ashley!
Saving a $1000 emergency fund is the first step to financial peace.
In his plan for financial peace, financial guru Dave Ramsey calls saving $1000 the first baby step. Everything else builds upon that. There are a couple of reasons why Dave has it as the first step and in many ways, it is the most important.
Why save $1000?
So, WHY can’t you afford it? All too often the answer is because you have too much debt! When you have a thousand bucks in an emergency fund and a financial emergency comes up (because it will!) it will be only a minor inconvenience. It won’t put you further and further behind on living your dreams.
Now, even if you know how to save $1000 in 1 month, it isn’t going to cover every emergency. But it’s a good start. In Baby Step 2, Dave Ramsey recommends paying off all your debt except the mortgage. Step 3 is saving a 3-6 month emergency fund. So, $1000 is temporary while you pay off debt and so that you don’t go further into the hole when something comes up.
Stay focused on your goal and do it quickly. If saving a thousand dollars takes you 6 months, it defeats the purpose. It almost guarantees that an emergency will pop up before you have enough money to cover it. Of course, it could take you a little bit more than a month. BUT with these tips, you should be able to save $1000 in 1 month pretty easily.
Sell Sell Sell.
Now is the time to start selling EVERYTHING! Dave says to sell so much stuff that the kids think they are next. If you sell enough stuff, you can get your $1000 baby emergency fund done and get a head start on paying off your debt!
Have a yard sale.
I know lots of people that have sold $700-$1000+ in one weekend! They did this even with small items that only sold for $1. So, even if you think “I don’t have anything to sell”, chances are that you do. Get to cleaning out your attic, your wall decor, clothes you never wear, kids toys, EVERYTHING! When I was paying off my debt, I sold all my decor including pictures off my walls and my lamps! If you want something bad enough, you will do whatever it takes to get there.
You can sell on Craigslist, Facebook, eBay, Offerup, ThredUp, deCluttr, Letgo, and lots of other places. If you don’t know how to sell on Craigslist, here’s a guide that tells you everything you need to know. I sell almost all kid-related items on Facebook. It works very well and quick for me. I will post things to the Marketplace or in mom groups. I find that toys sell very quickly in the fall as people are preparing for Christmas. You can sell used women’s clothes to ThredUp. deCluttr takes a lot of random things like CDs and movies. Offerup and Letgo work very similarly to Craigslist.
Make A Budget.
This is one thing you should be doing anyway but even if you aren’t, let’s make a zero-based budget. I have a complete step-by-step guide for you that will walk you through the process: Budgeting for Beginners: A Step-by-Step Guide. Most people say they feel like they got a raise once they do a budget. Chances are that you have money left in your budget but you don’t realize it. You may spend $5 or $20 here and there without putting it into the budget. So you don’t know where your money is going and it disappears in small amounts. The problem is that those small amounts add up at the end of the month. That $10 convenience store trip 3 times a month is $30. Then add in fast food at another $30 each trip and twice a week is another $240. Right there is $270 without even realizing it.
So now that you have your budget, it’s time to find ways to save money in your budget. First is cutting down on impulse buys. Stop eating out for meals and make a meal plan.
- 36 things you can quit buying now to save more money (and get out of debt faster)
- 21 Ways to Save Money on Food
- Ways To Save Money While Raising Your Kids
Call your cell phone, TV, and internet providers and see if you can lower your plans to save some money. I have done this several times by calling to cancel and then they give me an outrageous deal to stay. You can also temporarily cut out things like music subscriptions, Amazon Prime, magazines, Audible, and anything else that costs you money every month. You will definitely save money by not buying as much on Amazon Prime just for the 2-day shipping. Unsubscribe from store email so you aren’t tempted to buy something just because it’s on sale.
Earn Extra Money.
Sometimes the fastest way to get extra money is to go to work. You can see if you can work overtime at your existing job or look for something part-time. There are several ways to earn money online in the evenings. Read this fabulous post by Ramit Sethi to know more.
Legit online work includes:
VIPKID – if you have a bachelor’s degree. I work for them in the early morning or late at night when my kids are asleep. You can make up to $22/hr and it’s really very easy. Rev.com – is a transcription service and you can make anywhere from $.40-$8 a minute depending on the project. Other part-time jobs: You can also look for jobs like delivering pizza or as a waiter. You can make a lot in tips by working on the weekends. There is also Uber, Lyft, and Instacart, but be sure to check with your auto insurance about coverage.
Other ways to make money:
Swagbucks – you get paid to take surveys and earn money back shopping online. Ebates – earn money back shopping online. Pinecone Research – get paid to take online surveys. Secret Shopping – you do have to watch out for scams but there are several legit companies to earn money secret shopping. Here is a list of legit companies you can work for.
Make It Automatic – I’ve listed numerous ways to earn extra money but that may not be good enough for you. You still need to actually save it, not spend it here and there until it is all gone. One way to help you actually save your money is to make it automatic. There are a couple of ways to do this. You can set up an auto draft from your checking account into a savings account. I used to write it down like a bill and had it set up through my bank to send the money every other Friday. Think of it as a bill but you are paying yourself first. You could set up a direct deposit straight from payroll into a savings account. Your employer may not offer this but a lot do. You can specify how much you want to send to savings and then the rest into your checking account. When you get cash, take it straight to the bank and put it in a savings account. You may need to have different banks if you are tempted to spend the money in savings. You can even use an online bank to make it harder to get to it as well.
Your specific situation will determine how fast you can save $1000. But don’t use that as an excuse. Saving $1000 this month could be the difference between financial freedom and being stuck in the endless paycheck to paycheck cycle. Find ways that you can make some extra money quickly so that you can stop the cycle and live out your dreams. Now is the time to do it. Not tomorrow or next month, but now.