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Divas on a Dime: 7 tips to quickly build an emergency fund

Every financial advisor will tell you that you should have money in savings. But, when you’re living paycheck to paycheck that’s easier said than done.

According to the experts, you need a fund of at least $1,000 for emergencies and ideally six months of expenses reserved to float your family in case of a layoff or illness. We also need to be preparing for retirement. If that seems overwhelming, just start small. Let’s work on that $1,000 emergency fund.

Here are five tips to help you quickly save $1,000. These tips fall into two categories, earn more and spend less. Please remember, you’ll be making some changes that may not be fun or easy, but it’s temporary. Once you’ve reached your savings goal you can relax a little.

But for now, let’s focus hardcore on saving:

1. Have a 30-day spending freeze. Give yourself some tough love with absolutely no unnecessary spending. Prepare meals at home using all the stuff you have in your freezer and pantry. Plan all your errands on one day so you’re saving on gas. Carpool whenever possible. Call your television provider and tell them you’re going on vacation and would like to suspend service for a month.

2. Call providers for every single bill you have and negotiate lowering your bill. Call everyone, your mortgage, credit cards, utilities, cell phone, landline, satellite, car, insurance. Tell them you’re taking your business elsewhere if they won’t work with you.

3. Eliminate any services you can do without or do yourself. YouTube has instructional videos on everything you can imagine. Like home and car repair, trimming your hair, grooming your pets, etc.

4. Convert clutter to cash. What do you have around your house that you no longer need or love? You can sell items on eBay, Craigslist, Facebook or have a good old-fashioned garage sale. Do you have items you’ve never used or opened? Can you return them to the store and get your money back?

5. Spend less on food! I write about this all the time. It won’t hurt your family to eat cheap for a month. I’m talking beans and rice, breakfast for dinner and meatless Mondays. Make coffee at home and brown bag that lunch!

6. Get a temporary second job. (I’m ducking and running.) Add an evening and weekend part-time job, or maybe you could do yard cleanup, house cleaning, help someone who is moving, shopping and meal prep for the elderly, pet sit, sew, paint, babysit, refinish furniture? The list goes on and on.

7. Make money from your passions, this hardly feels like work. What do you love? Do you play an instrument, know how to fish, make a great pizza, write poetry? You can teach, coach or write about your passions or special skills.

If you’re having a financial crisis, check online at benefits.gov to see if you qualify for assistance. That’s what it’s there for.

Implementing these tips are a challenge but keep your eyes on the prize and you’ll be on your way to creating a debt-free life. Totally worth the beans and rice.

Frugal fodder contributed by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom

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