Parents always try to find ways to protect their families. From teaching our kids to look both ways before crossing the street to teaching our teenagers how to drive, it seems like we spend most of our days making sure our kids are as safe as possible.
One issue that many parents overlook, though, is financial safety. There’s no worse feeling than not being able to buy your kids what they need or not having the money in your account to handle emergencies. This is why it’s so important for parents to start an emergency fund for their families.
Emergency funds are for true emergencies. Think cars breaking down, hot water heaters that need replacing, or actual trips to the emergency room for broken bones.
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As a mom, I know I don’t ever want to compromise on the health or safety of my kids, which is why I always have a minimum of $1,000 set aside to cover those stressful, unexpected moments.
According to a 2016 study by Fifth Third Bank, 47 percent of Americans often live paycheck to paycheck, which can make it hard to build up a large emergency fund, let alone a starter emergency fund of $1,000. So how can a parent build savings like this quickly? Here are some ideas:
Have a Massive Garage Sale
Garage sales might seem like fun, but they are not for the faint of heart. I recently held a garage sale, and it was an incredible amount of work. Not only did I sort through all of our belongings since we were moving, but I had to price everything and wake up early to set everything out. I ended up making $215.00 in my garage sale. I also made an additional $150.00 selling second-hand baby items to a friend. That’s $365.00, which could get a parent more than one-third of the way to setting up an initial emergency fund.
Reduce Entertainment Costs
Cutting the cable is a popular way for people to reduce their monthly bills, and it’s definitely a great option when you’re trying to whip your finances into shape.
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According to research released by the Leichtman Research Group last September, people spend an average of $99.10 per month on “pay-TV service.” The press release states that this is, “an increase of 39 percent since 2010.” So, even if you’ve tried to reduce your bill in the past, it’s time to take another look at it to make sure it hasn’t been creeping up.
If you cut this bill and place the money in your emergency fund instead, you could have a fully funded emergency fund in less than a year.
Add that to proceeds from a garage sale, and you could have your emergency fund faster than you think — all without having to cut back on groceries or other necessities.
Leverage Your Skills
Many people think that starting a business has to be a long, drawn-out process, but you can make money quickly to add to your emergency fund if you just leverage the skills you already have. In fact, you might have talents you don’t even realize are valuable.
For example, if you’re a mom with a flair for organizing, you can charge friends by the hour to help them organize different rooms in their house. All it would take would be a status update on Facebook asking if anyone needs help organizing. You can tell them that you have time available on Saturday to help, and that you charge $30 per hour (or whatever price you choose).
Similarly, you could tutor local kids, start teaching music lessons, or refinish furniture that you find and then resell it on Craigslist. Your talents can earn you money quickly, so don’t feel like you have to wait for the right opportunity. Start now, and you never know where it will lead.
Ultimately, if you want to build an emergency fund for your family, know it is possible. Most people have $1,000 just sitting under their roofs waiting to be sold in a garage sale and put in a savings account. You can also make choices about your lifestyle or start a small business on the side.
Either way, with enough motivation, you can have that starter emergency fund faster than you can imagine, and you’ll feel safe and secure knowing that your family is ready for the next unexpected financial problem that may arise.