Since the beginning of 2020, disasters and mind-boggling events have piled up around the world. We’ve witnessed brushfires in Australia, passenger planes getting shot down, impeachment proceedings, the postponing of the Olympics, the coronavirus pandemic, and even the Pentagon officially releasing videos of UFOs. If nothing else, the utter chaos of 2020 proves we all need to be a little more aware of what’s going on in the world and to make certain we have a financial cushion to survive it.
That little cushion is called a “rainy day fund,” and you need one to keep pace with the unpredictable ups and downs of life. So here are 6 ways to grow those funds.
1. Cut Back on Spending
Let’s face it. We’re all spending more money than is necessary. With the ease of online shopping, an average of 3 streaming services per consumer, and a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality, we’re all about spending our hard-earned dollars as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, that also means American households average about $137,063 in debt. So to dial that number back (for yourself and your business) and get your rainy day fund on track, it’s crucial to find areas where you can cut expenses and put that extra money into savings.
2. Sell. Your. Stuff.
This one might feel like a no-brainer, but look through your possessions and figure out what you can sell. Our houses and lives are packed full of “stuff,” and, according to an often-referenced report from Nielsen Customized Research and eBay, the average American household has about $3,100 lying around in unused items like clothing and electronics. Since it’s recommended that you have approximately $10,000–$20,000 in emergency savings, selling unnecessary household items is an excellent place to start.
3. Get Another Job
Working multiple jobs may be hard, but it is a good way to earn extra cash to squirrel away for future emergencies. Whether you’re stocking shelves overnight, picking up freelance gigs, or turning a hobby into a money-making scheme, any extra money you pull in will contribute to the growth of your rainy day fund. Leverage it to put yourself in a better position to tackle problems down the road.
4. Set Up Automatic Deposits
If you’re like many Americans, your paycheck is probably automatically deposited into your bank account. Payday comes around, the money magically appears in your account, and then it vanishes into bills or personal purchases. Fortunately, with developments in online banking, many institutions allow you to automatically siphon off parts of your paycheck for payments or transfers within your account. Consider setting up a separate savings account to house your emergency funds, and schedule automatic deposits into it. That process allows you to save money for an uh-oh moment without ever having to think about it.
5. Look for One-and-Done Payout Opportunities
When you start to look more closely, you might begin noticing opportunities in your neighborhood or local areas to make a little extra cash on the side. Places like Craigslist or local classifieds websites often post requests for services that you can fulfill—and the requestors may be willing to pay for your efforts. Your neighbor might need help clearing brush off their property, while someone down the street could need a little consulting for a business venture they want to pursue. Whatever it is, take a moment to see if you have the skills necessary to do the job and find a way to turn a quick profit for your labor. Once you’ve finished the work, you can build a custom invoice and make your efforts seem more professional. Then, once you get paid, put that money directly into your emergency savings account.
6. Build a Budget
This point may be another obvious one, but it’s still incredibly important. While there are guides to walk you through the process of building a budget, the easiest place to start is by taking a good, long look at your monthly expenses. Figure out how much you earn, how much you spend, and the exact place each dollar goes. As you dig deeper and deeper, you might be surprised to find you’ve been spending more than necessary and maybe even throwing money away on services you no longer use. By the end of your budget-building process, you quite possibly could discover you have much more money available to put toward your rainy day fund than you previously thought.