Whether you need to save $1,000 for an emergency fund or you just want to increase your savings during these uncertain times, it is important to understand how to raise money quickly in case you need it.
In the below article, we have broken down our favorite ways to get extra cash for your budget. There are both short and long-term savings tips to implement – especially for those of us who may not have the time for a side hustle.
When combined, you’ll be on track to having a rainy day fund you can count on.
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Sell Your Excess Stuff
Most Americans have a pile of excess stuff hanging around their house. Old DVDs, video games, furniture, and more take up space. Sound familiar?
Learn some garage sale tactics to maximize your earnings. Clean out your house out and spread the word about your upcoming sale. With a few hours of prep work, you can accelerate building your emergency fund. Old electronics, gift cards, and video games are especially popular.
You can also flip the script and go garage saling on your own. Wander the neighborhoods for good deals and flip those items on eBay. Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck wrote a whole garage sale flipping guide.
OfferUp & Facebook Marketplace
For larger items or things you want to fetch a higher price , check out online marketplaces. OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace let you sell anything you want. But the real secret lies in selling old electronics, appliances, or furniture.
Take high quality photographs and write a killer description. Online selling isn’t only for eBay anymore.
Do You Have Unclaimed Money?
This tip sounds far fetched but it isn’t! Every year, millions of dollars of unclaimed property get turned over to the state.
These are often accounts that have gone untouched for over a year. When no contact with the owner can be made, the accounts get reported to the state.
These could be checking accounts, old utility deposits, safety deposit boxes, overpayments to banks, and more.
About 1 in 10 Americans has unclaimed property. Use the unclaimed property search for your state to see if anything is waiting for you.
Find an Escrow Refund
If you’re a homeowner with a mortgage, this one’s for you. Do you bundle your property taxes and insurance with your monthly mortgage payment?
Your lender holds on to this extra money for you in an escrow account until the bills are due. It saves you the headache of having to pay these bills on time every year. When the bills come in, your lender pays them on your behalf.
But sometimes this account can get excess money in it. Property taxes go up and down and so does homeowners insurance. There are other ways you may have excess money in your escrow account.
By law, your mortgage servicer is not allowed to keep more than two months of a cushion in this account. This is in addition to the amount needed to pay the bills.
Contact your lender and ask them to look at your escrow account and see if you can get a refund.
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Look at Your Car Insurance
Car insurance is an expensive part of driving. Fortunately, it’s one of the biggest things you may be able to save on.
You’d think that being a loyal customer would yield bigger savings. It’s been years since you’ve ever had an accident, right?
Unfortunately, there’s rarely any reward for staying with a car insurance company. Instead, you should compare rates every few months to find savings.
Working From Home?
First, review and optimize your existing coverage. This includes how many miles you drive annually and for what purpose.
If you work from home and haven’t updated your car insurance to match, you may be overpaying. Your insurance company may even issue a rebate for the months you’ve been working at home and not commuting to the office.
Deductibles, Limits, and Liabilities
The nitty gritty of your insurance plan may also yield rebates and savings. If you raise your deductible on your plan, you can save on your premiums. It’s smart to raise your deductible if the value of your car is below a certain amount.
Similarly, check what liabilities you’re paying for. Collision insurance makes sense if you have an expensive car and you can’t pay out of pocket to fix it. But if you drive an older model, collision insurance may be unnecessary. Play around with the numbers to find the best fit for your lifestyle.
Safe Driving Discounts
These are more long-term savings tips. Are you getting a safe driver discount from your insurer? Going without accidents or claims may save you a few dollars each month from your premiums. It doesn’t hurt to ask if these are available.
Cut Down on Streaming Services
You’ve cut the cord on cable, right? But now you’ve signed up for streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and more.
Realistically, do you need all these each month? Consider canceling one subscription service at a time and subscription hop. Netflix could be your June service and Hulu could be for July. Bounce between shows and save $10-15 per month.
Utility Deposit Refunds
How long have you been paying your utility bill on time? In some cases, you might have paid a deposit to open your account.
But if you pay your bill every month the security deposit becomes less relevant.
Your utility company may refund your deposit to you if you’re a faithful customer. Call your provider and see if you qualify to get your deposit returned.
Eat at Home Instead
It’s the oldest money saving tip in the book; save money by making your meals at home.
But did you know there are some creative ways to save even more?
Vegetable Co-Op or CSA
These programs let you order vegetables in bulk from local farmers. Lower delivery costs mean seasonal vegetables are more affordable than at your local supermarket. Subscribe to these services and save even more.
Planning your Meals
Planning your meals in advance also saves extra money at the grocery store. Americans waste millions of tons of food, and subsequently dollars, every year. By planning your meals with a grocery list, you can avoid food waste.
Also be a savvy shopper and know when different grocery stores are having sales or are just grabbing your attention.
For every meal you eat at home rather than eating out, you can save about $15.
Eat Out One Less Time Per Month
Like being a smarter shopper, your dining out budget gets inflated. Most people spend between $200 and $300 each month eating out. That’s an average of four times per week per person.
As tempting as it may be to grab a pizza on the way home from work, a cheaper solution would be to make it from scratch. You can make many common popular take-out foods in just as much time as it takes to order and pick up.
Reducing even one meal out per month can be $15-20 in savings.
Tips to Save $1000 Fast
Continue Building Your Emergency Fund
Home Internet Savings
Saving money on your internet speeds isn’t a new tip. It should be the first place you check for savings in your monthly bills. Can you do without blazing fast speed for your email or basic browsing? You could shave $10-15 off your monthly bill with a quick phone call.
Buy Your Modem and Router
If you’re looking for more long-term savings it’s time to look deeper. Many internet providers charge for the rental of a modem or router. These are the devices that bring internet signal into your home.
If you check your bill, you may be paying to rent these every month.
However, you don’t have to. You can buy these devices outright. Clark Howard created a cheat-sheet to figure out when it makes sense to buy or rent a modem or router. This can save a big chunk of money over the course of the year.
Review Gym Memberships
Being honest with yourself about your gym membership is tough. The average gym membership costs about $60 per month.
It can be well worth the investment if you’re using it daily. But if you’re not an avid gym goer, your gym membership could be draining your savings account.
The habit of exercise is more important than where you do it.
If you want to continue using the gym, consider finding a cheaper alternative. If you have a spouse, there may be discounts for partners. Or you can use guest passes to exercise together.
Canceling a gym membership isn’t without penalties though. Check your contract to see if you can get out early or lower your monthly gym cost before paying to get out of your contract.
Programmable Smart Thermostats
With a small investment, a smart thermostat can save you between $130 and $150 per year. These devices adjust the temperature at home to use your air conditioning and heating more efficiently. Companies like Nest and Ecobee.
The initial investment may be a few hundred dollars. But if you can keep your thermostat for a few years, it will pay for itself.
Track Price History for Big Purchases
Do you know if the item you’re buying is actually on sale? If there’s a big purchase you’re making soon, track its price history. Camelcamelcamel.com is a simple Amazon price tracker.
It gives historical data on how a price changed over time for certain items. You can see if it is better to make now or wait a few weeks when it’s on sale again.
It won’t make you rich, but overpaying for detergent or lightbulbs when you could save money in a few clicks makes sense.
Ask for a Raise at Work
It’s a hard conversation to have with your employer, but asking for a raise shouldn’t be something you shy away from.
Have you taken on more responsibilities at the office? Have coworkers left and you’re filling in the gaps? Are you meeting your goals with flying colors?
If it’s deserved, asking for a raise can be a big step toward saving that $1,000 emergency fund you need.
Similarly, you should talk to your boss about steps you can take to meet their standards and goals. Make a plan over the coming months to improve your work or take on new projects. Then review your progress with your employer and ask for a raise down the road.
Cost of living adjustments should also be part of your performance reviews at work. These raises help maintain living in your current city.
Change Your Credit Card
If you’re carrying debt on a credit card, it might be time to take out a new one. Hear us out.
If you can qualify for a zero-interest credit card, you can transfer your balance over. That means your interest rate will go down to 0% for the next few months. You can use these savings to pay down your debt faster or save that $1,000 you need for an emergency fund.
Credit card interest rates are among the highest for short-term loans. Cut them any way you can and give yourself some breathing room.
Library Entertainment or Rentals
For a family of four, a trip to the movie theater or a night out can be upwards of $100. Renting a movie from Amazon or even borrowing one from the library is a huge savings.
Don’t sacrifice on family night because you’re trying to save. Most libraries now have access to the same big blockbusters you’re used to seeing available for rental on release day.
Don’t be afraid to check their catalog and splurge for some popcorn you can pop at home!
Combining Savings Strategies
Getting a thousand dollars for a safety net can be tough. But by cutting things from your budget, getting a side hustle, selling old stuff around the home, and planning ahead, it’s possible!
Short term strategies are great if you need cash fast. But planning long-term is the real key to building a healthy backup of cash. And once you have it, you’ll need someplace to put it.
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