Wednesday 29 November 2017

Saving money for an emergency fund

Many people across the UK are living on low incomes and are living month to month. Incoming coming in is often already ‘spoken for’ and goes out as quick as it hits the bank to pay bills and debts. That leaves very little money to live on, with the end of the month being the hardest time as people struggle to survive until pay day.

For people, couples and families who have low incomes which leaves them with very little, if any disposable income having ‘spare’ money for treats and non-essentials can be difficult or even out of the question.

When treats, non-essentials and special days out are difficult to afford, being able to afford an emergency can be impossible. So when something unexpected happens such as a broken home appliance or unplanned bill finding the money to cover it can be a nightmare.

How do you get money urgently when you are in a bind and financially live most of your life on very tight purse strings?

Unfortunately I have personally been in situations like that many times of the years. Managing just about to survive on a low income, budgeting like my life depended on it and succeeding to cover bills and have money for daily living expenses but then the car breaks down and leaves me with a huge car bill or the fridge freezer packs up and I have to find funds for a new one. Finding a chunk of money quickly and in one go when the money is stretched as far as it can go feels unachieveable and a hopeless task.

As I know how difficult it can be to cover unexpected costs I try to find a little money from our monthly family budget - even a few pounds every now and again helps - or ways to make extra money to put into an ‘emergency rainy day fund’.

So here are a few of the ways I have managed to get money urgently when an unexpected financial problem has arisen and ways I have made a little bit of ‘spare’ money for our emergency fund.

Ask for help
A traditional option when in a financial mess thanks to an unexpected expense is to ask your loved ones for help with a loan. The beauty of borrowing money from parents, family and close friends is that they usually don’t expect any extra back in interest and if they can afford it they can sometimes be happy for you to pay it back slowly as and when you can afford it.

Piggy bank
We have a big change pot that we chuck loose coins into. Every once in awhile I add up the coins which then gets changed at the bank and put into our emergency fund. It is always surprising how the coppers quickly add up - as the saying goes ‘look after the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves’.

Sell unwanted and unused items
Not only is it a way to make extra money for putting in an emergency fund it is also a good way to declutter and get rid of things you don’t want or use. The renowned selling site eBay is a popular option and gaining increasing popularity are local Facebook selling groups and Facebook marketplace.

Whilst not something for everyone when things have been very tough financially and we had to pay an unexpected car bill so we had a car for work to keep on earning, we got a small loan. Using a website such as Cash Lady to get loans for bad credit worked for us at the time as it allowed us to get our car back on the road to keep earning for our future finances. We weighed up all options carefully and ensured the loan was affordable for us.

Streamline budget
Even if you think your budget is working well it is worth a look at it every once in awhile to see if there are any costs you can cut-back on and things you are spending money on but don’t use that could save you money. It is worth looking at big expenses for products and services such as mobile contract, broadband, energy (gas/electric) or insurance and shopping around for a better deal or contacting the supplier to see if there is something they can do to lower your bill.

Cashback websites
Use cashback websites like TopCashback or Quidco to get a percentage of cash back for purchases on things you would have been buying anyway. The money adds up over time which you could add to your emergency fund.

Money making apps
There are a range of money making apps that pay you (pay varies between apps and tasks) to complete quick and easy tasks such as shopping tasks.  Some good apps include Field Agent, Roamler, Clic and Walk, BeMyEye and Task360.

These are just a few of the ways I have made money to put in our emergency fund or managed to get money quick to pay an unexpected bill. I have also found it useful to talk to the company to see if you can pay via a payment plan over time rather than one big payment making it more affordable and less stressful.

Do you have any tips for making or saving money to put in an emergency fund?

* Collaborative post *

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