11 Ways To Build Up Your Emergency Fund

Written by on March 7

We know that it can be really easy to get started, but also easy to get off track on your journey to financial freedom. A lot of people get off track when emergency financial situations arise, and they’re going to have to find the money to take care of it. One of the most necessary tools on your journey to financial freedom is having an emergency fund in place. There are lots of different ways that you can build up your emergency fund, and we are going to share 11 different strategies for you.

If you are fighting right now to get out of debt, we suggest that you have what is known affectionately as the “baby emergency fund”, made famous by Dave Ramsey, of $1000 in an account. Now, you’re probably going to say, “Where am I going to get $1000 from? I don’t have $1000…I’m living paycheck to paycheck!”

One of the easiest ways to free up some extra cash is either you have to make more money, or you have to save more money. We have compiled a list of eleven ways where you can try to get this cash as quickly as possible to build up your emergency fund.


Sell Stuff

I know you all hear that all of the time. Everybody says sale, sale, sale, but it really does work! Think about having a garage sale where you can sell unwanted items around the house. You’d be cleaning up clutter and also making some extra cash at the same time.

Get On a Budget

Again, it sounds so basic and simple, but the numbers suggest that people who are on a budget and stick to it consistently, spend less money. That money you are spending less of can go towards building your emergency fund. You will not make it to financial freedom without being consistent in your budget. Get on a budget and stick to it religiously and faithfully.

Lower Necessary Expenses 

Not all expenses can be eliminated, and there are necessities that we absolutely need such as auto insurance, rent/mortgage, and even utilities. You need to take a second look at certain bills that are a must in your home and find out if there are ways that you can cut costs. Someone mentioned in our private Smart Money Couples group, that she was able to shop around and find an electric company that sources her electricity and she gets free Saturdays. Every single Saturday, there is no charge for her to use electricity, and those are the days that she’s washing clothes and running the dishwasher. 

Cut Unnecessary Expenses

After you lower your necessary bills, you need to cut those unnecessary bills. That Netflix subscription that you’re not watching, that gym membership that you’re not using, that cable that you’re watching too much of. Think about getting rid of those things that are just not necessary, because every last dollar that you can cut from unnecessary bills, can go towards building up your emergency fund.

Pick Up a 2nd Job

There are so many places that are looking for work. There are places that will hire you for night shifts or evenings. Even if you do have small children, when the kids lay down and go to bed at night, you can pick up a couple of hours of work to make some extra cash. 

Side Hustles

If you’re not up to getting a second job, you should definitely at least be doing some side hustles. It might be time to start Mystery Shopping to make some additional cash. Maybe you’re a great writer and you can do some freelance writing. Whatever it takes to bring some additional income through side hustles, think about it and consider it and get it done. Everybody has something that they are good at doing. Maybe you’re passionate about doing arts and crafts, baking cakes, or maybe even taking care of children. Whatever it is, find a passion of yours and sell it. There are people who are willing to spend money for the very service that you offer.

Cut Out Extra Splurges

If you’re ready and willing to get out of debt, sometimes you have to give up some of your lifestyle luxuries, like that magazine subscription or that gym membership. It doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to enjoy those things later on in the future, but right now your main goal should be trying to build that emergency fund of $1000 as quick as possible. Instead of getting your hair done four times a month, maybe you should consider getting it done twice a month. There are a lot of tutorials on YouTube and you can do your own hair for free. Remember that this is just a temporary pain for a long-term gain.

Spending Freeze

Think about doing a spending freeze. Take a month and don’t spend one dime, other than for the absolute necessities. You’re not going out spending additional money on stuff that you already have. Take inventory of the food that you have in your kitchen, pantry, and cabinets and consume those foods. You’re not going out to the movies; you’re not going out doing additional things that are not deemed as necessities. Whatever money you save from that thirty day period, can be used to build up your emergency fund.

Meal Plan

It is no secret that food can be a serious budget killer if you are not careful. Many of us are spending hundreds, if not thousands, in food costs every single month whether it be eating out, or buying groceries without a plan. It is necessary that you put together a meal plan. Grab a calendar and make sure that you schedule out all of your dinners. If you don’t want to do breakfast and lunch, that’s okay, start off with dinners. You’re going to save so much money by planning your meals.

Public Transportation

Consider taking public transportation. Maybe in your situation, it would make more sense to take the train to work, than to drive and save some money on gas. For some who may not be able to take advantage of public transportation, or it might not be beneficial for you, consider carpooling to work with a co-worker or friend. 

Tax Deductions

We are no tax accountants and we want to make sure that you consult professional advice when it comes to this last tip. Are you aware that one of the ways you can free up some extra cash, is to change your allowances when it comes to taking out taxes on your payroll? Go to www.irs.gov and check out a free calculator that the IRS provides for your service.


There it is – 11 ways that you can find extra cash to put towards your emergency fund. Make no mistake, you need your emergency fund in place. The millisecond that you decide that you’re going to get on track financially, or that you’re going to turn things around and do what it takes to become debt free; that’s the moment something’s going to come up, and you don’t want to be knocked off track.