10 Small Ways to Increase your Emergency Fund Without Noticing

Making Extra Money for Your Savings AccountFor many of us, myself included, squeezing money out of your budget takes a lot of fancy footwork. Finding ways to save the money to build up your emergency fund or save for a new car when things are already tight requires numerous income streams.

Often times you can not make room for a second job and that is when using your imagination, your dedication and the few minutes of free time you can carve out of your day to make extra money.

This list, when separated, may not bring a lot of extra money (accept for the first one) into your savings account. But when all are added up, they can bring you hundreds (and maybe even thousands) of dollars in revenue.

1. Pay Yourself First – I’ve heard this phrase time and time again, as I’m sure you have too. It didn’t make sense to me for awhile until I automated the transfer to my savings account and then set my budget for the amount of money I brought in after that automatic transfer. It’s extremely important to think of your income in the terms of this post-transfer amount.

2. Increase the Automatic Transfer – If you’ve set up your automatic transfer into your savings account with each paycheck but want to increase the amount, doing so gradually will be the best way for extra dollars to go unnoticed. You will want to increase the automatic transfer by a small amount each pay period until you reach the amount you are aiming for. For example, if you regularly transfer $50 each week into savings but want to transfer $75, try changing the amount in $2 increments each week. The first week, $52, the second week, $54, and so on. If you get to a point when you are running short of money, take a step back and hold at the amount you are currently transferring. Try to increase it again in a month or so.

3. Use Coupons – Yes, we all know that coupons save you money on your grocery budget. I suggest we make those coupons work twice for you. After you have completed your shopping, take the amount of money you saved and put it into your savings account.

4. Stick to Your Budget & Reward Yourself – When your budget is set, don’t just stick to it, try to come in under. Any amount you don’t spend for each category at the end of the month goes into your savings account. If you allow yourself $40 for each week of “free money,” then do your best to come in as low as you can. Any money that you do not spend goes into your savings account.

5. Keep Your Change – Whenever you buy something with cash, use whole bills. At the end of the day all coin that you have received back goes into your change jar to be deposited each month into your savings. (I suggested doing it each month. If you hang on to it for any longer, you’ll be more tempted to dig into it some day when you are tempted to splurge. Admit it, we’ve all dug into our coin jars for all the quarters we have to get dinner out.)

6. File for those Rebates – When rebates are offered for items you have purchased, be diligent and file them. When they come back, put that money directly into your savings account.

7. Sell Something – I have a tendency to donate anything I don’t want. My apartment complex is across the street from Goodwill so it’s very easy for me to drop stuff off easily. Instead of dropping off everything, I’m going to try to sell some of my gently used household items and clothing. Craigslist is one option, as is a yard sale but a consignment shop is my preferred route. I don’t have to do any of the work. In my area there is a shop called “New Uses” (not sure if they are local or a chain) and they will take household items much like Once Upon A Child does with baby and children’s clothing.

8. Make Extra Money Online – There are a number of ways to make money online with little work on your end. You can use websites like InboxDollars, Ebates or Swagbucks to bring in extra money for your savings account.

9. Bottle Returns/Aluminum Can Collecting – This old income stream is tried and true. My grandfather was obsessed with turning in aluminum can for cash. He was able to bring in hundreds of dollars a year just by letting people know he did this. They would often bring their cans to him. Tell your neighbors and ask them to put their cans in a bag by the curb on trash night. You can go for a walk and collect the cans (bonus, you get exercise too!).

10.  Find a Penny Pick It Up – I don’t know about good luck but when you see money on the ground, pick it up and add it to your savings account. Talk a walk over to the car wash or by drive thrus after closing, you might find some extra coins on the ground.

Just a few easy ways you can add extra funds to your savings account without a lot of work. They won’t bring hundreds of dollars a month but each of them can help you reach your goals.

Do you have any other easy ways to bring in some extra funds?


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17 Responses to “10 Small Ways to Increase your Emergency Fund Without Noticing”

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  1. Hank says:

    I am so horrible about filing for rebates. I know that I should, and I have every intention of doing so. But, I get busy and forget. It’s horrible just throwing a lot of that money away like that.

    • Jessica says:

      You have to fill them out! Think of it this way: The stores WANT you to ignore them and throw it away. You are playing a game with them and you are going to win! I love beating stores at their own game!!

  2. Brad Chaffee says:

    Terrific post Jessica! I especially love 1, 7, and 8!

    I will be announcing the results of the January challenge soon. we still have a few things that have not ended yet on eBay but we ended up turning a dismal month (for buying) into a not so bad month. 😀

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Brad!

      I don’t know how I missed the January Challenge Announcement. I remember in Dec. you said you were doing one but I must have missed a post along the way. My bad. I need to go back and read.

      • Brad Chaffee says:

        I wrote only one post where I wanted everyone to comment with updates instead of me writing a new post every week. Only a few people participated in the comments section but it was still fun. 😀

        I think perhaps January was a bad time to start it since a lot of people were recovering from Christmas plus we had trouble with finding good buys worth reselling. I think we pulled it off though. I say we because I attempted to do it myself and my wife bought her own stuff. She totally kicked my butt but I learned a lot!

        My wife earned Power Seller status on ebay because of how much she sold in 2011 and that comes with some great perks and discounts on fees and shipping. 😀

        One thing being that YARD SALES are the best place to get good items. LOL I can’t wait until it warms up so we can start buying from them again.

        • Jessica says:

          Oh then I definitely want to read more about it. Maybe consider running a bigger one in March or April when Yard Sales start to pick back up. Since I work from home, I’m going to be devoting Mornings when I don’t have kids to yard sales so I can do this very thing. I need all the tips I can get from you guys!! Your wife needs to write a blog series on this topic of how she got to be a power seller. I’d LOVE to read it and I know others would too.

  3. Rachel says:

    Before the holidays, I was trying to sell some stuff. I’ve started my e-fund — I’m doing a lot of these tips already, but there is a lot more I need to do! Like sell some more stuff!

    • Jessica says:

      Selling stuff is such a double win. You have less clutter in your house and the guilt of holding on to something you aren’t using is gone PLUS you make money! Can’t go wrong there.

  4. Jana says:

    Like you, I’d so much rather donate items to Goodwill or to someone else than go through the hassle of selling them either on consignment or Craigslist or even a yard sale. I’m lazy, I suppose.

    One thing that we used to do to earn extra money was look for odd jobs. For instance, we were both test proctors at our local university. The extra money would go towards debt or savings at first. Then we got to keep the money as an allowance!

    • Jessica says:

      Laziness is a big thing for me. It took me a long time to willingly admit that I’m lazy about certain things and this is one of them. I have 2 pieces of Ikea furniture in my hallway that is a pain to walk around. I need to sell them but I’ve been too lazy. I could put the money into my emergency fund too. I swear I will do this next week.

  5. Money Infant says:

    Get rid of memberships, especially if you aren’t using them to their potential.
    Stop buying lunch out and bring your own instead.
    Get rid of your smartphone and data plan. Do you really need to connect to Facebook when you’re at the grocery store/hairdresser/driving?
    Extreme: Get rid of your car and walk or bike to work.

    That’s just a start, but I am willing to bet that most people could easily find ways to save several hundred dollars a month by getting rid of all the convenience items in their lives.

    • That’s so true. There are plenty of ways to save money each month. I wanted to highlight a few that can be down without making any real life changes (like dropping your cell phone). Although I do think all of those are valid and smart decisions.

  6. I recently wrote a “5 Ways to Make Extra Money, Even in a Tough Economy” post that covers just this subject.

    1.Freelancing- hire out your skills
    2. Are you crafty?- sell stuff on Etsy
    3.Got an extra room?- rent a room to travelers using airbnb.com
    4.Drive like a wrap star- have your car wrapped in advertising and get paid for it
    5.Is photography your hobby?- sell your pics on stock photo sites.

    There are literally tons of ways to make some extra money if you get motivated and a little creative.

    I like the idea of selling stuff bought at yard sales on ebay. Haven’t done any of that yet but may try it this summer as soon as the sales kick back in.

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