Do you have an emergency fund to turn to in times of financial crisis? If you’re like approximately half of Americans, you don’t. Having as little as $500 can make a huge difference, but having three to six months’ worth of savings is even better.
Of course, saving up an emergency fund isn’t always easy. Here are 19 ways to spend less, earn more and save more:
1. Get a Payroll Advance
2. Drive for Pay
Sign up to be a Lyft or Uber driver to earn around $10 to $15 per trip. Companies like OrderUp hire drivers who earn around $20 a month to deliver takeout and other items.
3. Sell Your Old Smartphone
Like many people, you probably have old smartphones, cell phones, tablets and other devices socked away. Sell them to free up some cash.
4. Rent Out a Spare Room
If you have a room to spare in your home, consider renting it out. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find renters through a site like AirBnb.
5. Ask About Bill Forbearance
If you’re struggling to pay your bills, contact your creditors to see if you can delay your payments for a bit. Interest usually isn’t charged.
Odds are that you pay for a lot of extras with your smartphone. See about downgrading to a less expensive plan. You might also switch carriers entirely or even switch to prepaid phones.
7. Borrow Money from Your Life Insurance
Many life insurance policies have a cash value that can be borrowed against. You will then have the rest of your life to repay what you borrowed. Whatever you don’t repay is deducted from your final payout.
8. Slash Insurance Premiums
It pays to periodically shop around for insurance. Get quotes for auto insurance and homeowner’s insurance to see if you can save by switching.
9. Sell Unneeded Gift Cards
If you have a stack of gift cards that you never seem to use, consider selling them for cash. Coinstar machines, which are found in many grocery stores, allow you to trade in cards that are worth $20 or more for immediate cash.
10. Try a Payday Alternative Loan
11. Seek Help from Your Community
Many churches, non-profits and other organizations offer low-interest loans to people in times of need, so do some digging to see what is available.
12. Consolidate Debt
If you’re struggling to keep up with your debt payments, consider consolidating your debts into a single, lower-interest loan. By refinancing $5,000 worth of debt from a 10-percent rate to a 5-percent rate, you’ll save around $800 over the life of the loan.
13. Work Today, Get Paid Today
When you need cash right away, companies like LaborReady may be able to help. They hire people to work odd jobs, including construction. You get paid at the end of the day, so you’ll walk away with cash in your pocket.
14. Refinance Student Loans
If student loan debt is holding you back, explore student loan refinancing options. They are available to virtually all credit scores, and the market is very competitive right now.
15. Borrow from Your Retirement Account
You are allowed to borrow from an IRA one time per year, but you have to replace the money within 60 days. If your employer allows it, you may be able to borrow from your 401(k). You can typically borrow up to half the balance up to a maximum of $50,000, and you will have five years to pay it back.
16. Take Out a Personal Loan
If your credit is good or excellent, you shouldn’t have trouble securing an affordable personal loan. Otherwise, bad credit loans top off at 36 percent interest.
17. Pawn Stuff
You can get cash fast by pawning something of value. If you don’t pay it back in time, the shop will sell your item. You can also straight-up sell something to the pawn shop.
18. Be a Dog Sitter
If you like dogs, sign up for a site like DogVacay and babysit dogs for people who leave town. You can usually board dogs at your place or stay at their owner’s place. Expect to earn $20 to $60 per night.
19. Get a Credit Card Cash Advance
This is an expensive option, but it is better than nothing when you direly need cash. You’ll pay a fee of around 5 percent, and your interest rate will be around 30 percent. Still, it’s cheaper than a payday loan.
There you have it! By putting the above tips to work, you should be able to sock away enough money to establish a respectable emergency fund before too long.