I can't tell you how much you should have in your emergency fund. There is no magic number. However, many personal finance gurus suggest starting with $1,000, to cover minor expenses should the arise. Whether your goal is $1,000 or $10,000...you have to start somewhere. Here are some simple tips and tricks to help you speed up your savings journey.
Get a Budget!
First things first! This may be a no-brainer to some. However, I firmly believe that you should create a budget before beginning your savings journey. This way, you will know how much you can comfortably save each month or pay period. Your goal may be to save $500 a month, but does that mean you can't afford the basics like food and gas? Or is it too low an amount, when in reality you can save $600 each month? You will only know the answer to these questions after creating your personal budget.
Cut Out Subscriptions
It's easy to rack up $100's of dollars of subscription fees each month. Especially when you sign up for free trials and forget! Take time to comb through your monthly checking account statement and see what subscriptions you are paying for each month. Which ones are you not using? Which ones can you live without? Which ones can you substitute? Here are some common subscriptions and a few swaps that can save you money.
Audible (trade for a library card! Listen to free audiobooks and ebooks on OverDrive)
Netflix and Hulu (for entertainment, watch free videos on YouTube or use your library card to watch movies and tv shows on Hoopla and Kanopy)
Gym memberships (trade for free online, at-home workouts or buy a cheap set of weights to keep at home)
Sell Things Around Your Home
You literally have money sitting around your home. That dress you bought and rarely wore? Sell it. That bookcase taking up too much space? Sell it. The toys and clothes your kids have outgrown? Sell them! I often sell things on OfferUp, but I know that many people use Facebook Marketplace as well. Selling things around your home is a great way to declutter and make a few dollars at the same time. Minimizing the amount of clutter in your home also feels like self-care. Win-win-win!
This is a great option if money is tight! Some savings challenges only require you to save $1 and $5 bills at a time. There are so many different savings challenges and games on Instagram and Pinterest. Some of my favorites include:
The $5 Savings Challenge
Save every $5 that comes into your hands in a year. That's it! So simple! Throw the bills into a shoebox, piggy bank, or old jar and watch your savings grow!
Save the Change
Throw your spare change into a jar at the end of the day! You might be surprised at how quickly it adds up. I use a jar like the one linked here.
You can also automate your savings through apps like Acorns.
The 52-Week Savings Challenge
Save the same amount of money as the number of the week, each week for a year. For example:
Week 1: Save $1
Week 2: Save $2
At the end of the year, you will have saved $1,378! Double or triple the amounts for even greater savings!
At the end of the day it comes down to cutting back in your budget, increasing income, and saving in ways that work for you! Good luck saving my friends!