Are you prepared for the unexpected? How much money do you have set aside right now? An emergency fund is there to see you through tough times. It’s savings that you can easily access in need instead of using expensive credit.
Rainy Day Fund: Planning for The Unexpected
The rules need to be strict. You can only use your emergency savings in a crisis. Your car breaking down is a crisis but getting a great deal on your vacation isn’t in the same category.
It’s best to put the money away automatically in a reasonably liquid account and forget it’s there.
How much to save is a much-debated issue. Experts suggest saving at least three months’ worth of expenses if possible. Six months’ worth of savings is even better.
When working out how much to save, it’s essential to factor in a provision for annual payments and taxes, too.
If COVID-19 taught us nothing else, it showed us that life could change overnight. Pandemics are typically the least of our worries, though. You might be laid off, become sick, or want to take some extra time off.
A good savings plan can cushion the blow when the unexpected happens.
It’s also a good idea to maximize the interest that you earn on these accounts. The money must be liquid, so you can’t put it into a fixed deposit or shares. You can look for a bank account that pays you the best rates, for example.
Are you able to access funds that you put into your mortgage? If so, it could save you money to put your emergency funds in there. You won’t earn interest, but you’ll save on the interest that you have to pay.
Budgeting and Savings Tips to Help Get You Out of a Financial Jam
Are you already in a jam financially? Maybe you’re nowhere near being able to set aside money. That’s okay–your task is to rework your budget and see what savings are possible. Your first step is to check all your essential bills, like electricity, water, and heating. For example, you can shop and compare companies to find the cheapest gas in Akron, Ohio or the best deal on internet companies.
What benefits are you receiving? Are the benefits valuable to you? If not, you’re not getting as good a deal as you might have believed.
Work through each of your essential providers and ensure that you’re getting the best rates. Then, move onto your insurers, bank, credit card providers, and others.
If you have a decent credit rating, you can negotiate better deals. If not, give yourself six months to improve your FICO score. In those six months, pay all of your accounts on time.
Try not to max out your credit and don’t take more loans. Where possible, pay more than the minimum installment.
Once your credit rating has improved, you can start renegotiating interest and insurance rates.
Now, work out where all your money goes each week. How much do you spend on essential groceries a month? Where do you waste money?
Create a strict budget and give yourself some “mad money.” Be aware that when it’s gone, there’s no more.
If something happens that’s unexpected; finances are the first thing to suffer. With careful budgeting, though, you can be ready for anything.
Do the Hustle: Side Hustles and Other Ways to Make Extra Cash
If you’re already working on a bare-bones budget, it’s hard to find expenses to cut. In this situation, it’s time to make extra cash, so a side hustle might be the answer.
Let’s go through some quick and easy ideas.
Join a freelancing site, like Upwork or Fiverr, and see what work they have to offer. You’ll find data-capturing work, voice-overs, writing gigs, and a lot more on these online intermediary sites.
If you’re something of a bibliophile, turn your knowledge to good use by buying and selling books. Pick it up at thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales, and so on. Then, turn a tidy profit by selling them online.
Download the Amazon Barcode Scanner app to see if the book is popular and price it correctly.
Sign up for research studies. You can earn some good money—some participants make as much as $140 per hour.
Consider signing up as a stock photographer. Sites like iStock Photo and Shutterstock always need new content. Check the rules properly before you submit your photos. You’ll earn a small commission every time someone downloads your picture, so it’s good as a passive income.
Why not rent out a spare room or operate a small shuttle service? Look at all the assets that you own—could you make an income by renting these out?
Our favorite suggestion is to declutter your home and make some money selling what you don’t want or use anymore.
Overall, many side hustles bring in some much-needed money. If you have some ideas for your own side hustle, we’d love to hear about it.