As I had stated in a previous article, Dave Ramsey has a 7-step plan for getting out of debt and becoming wealthy. As simple as these steps may seem, when we are burdened by the mortgage, credit card payments, student loans, and all other forms of debt, even the simplest of steps can seem nearly impossible. So, I thought I would break down these steps and show you that no matter how bad your current situation, there is a way out.
Step 1. Set aside an Emergency Fund of $1,000
This sounds so simple doesn’t it? Easy on paper, perhaps not so easy in real life. Lucky for us, at the same time my wife and I decided to start this financial plan together, she found a job. Boom, step 1 was completed in our first month. Since then we have seen our fair share of financial disasters though, and we have learned to become quite creative with our money accumulation.
If you just can’t possibly grasp the idea of saving $1,000, here are some of the things we have done to gain a couple extra bucks here and there. First, we found items that were going unused in our apartment and decided that we could sell them: bar stools, an old love seat, a bicycle that we never used. And second, we were living within an apartment community and saw so many valuable things near the dumpsters that were in perfectly good condition! Now don’t be calling me a dumpster diver, I never once went over the brim to pull something out! (Although, if I saw a gold bar in there, I would have swan-dived myself straight in.) We saw hardly used bar stools, a dog kennel, a very attractive painting… people would all pay good money for these things! A simple posting on Craigslist and I had $100 in my pocket with hardly any effort.
Here are some things you could do to save up that $1,000 emergency fund:
1. Sell unused items within your home via a garage sale or Craigslist.
2. Find a part-time job – deliver pizzas, bus tables, valet cars, become a bell-boy, be a waiter – the list is endless.
3. Find online work – there are plenty of scams out there, so definitely be careful. The recent article, Real work-at-home jobs might be helpful beginning your search.
4. Buy and Resell items – If you feel that you know the value of particular items, why not try to find them at your local garage sales and resell them online? Before doing so, make sure that you have fully researched the products that you are buying and know their value. You do not want to go into further debt with this.
5. Offer your labor – perhaps you don’t feel comfortable with the suggestions above, but anyone can provide their labor right? If you navigate to Craigslist, click “Labor/move” within the “Services” section. You can quickly and easily find people that are willing to pay $10 an hour to help them move, organize, or maybe dig a hole. It may not sound like much, but 10 hours a week will yield you an extra $400 a month.
6. Cut your expenses – if you need more money every month, SPEND LESS! You don’t need to go out to eat for lunch every day. Pack a lunch and save $50 a week. Instead of going to the theatre, rent a movie. Cut out that gym membership; you know you hardly even remember where it is anymore! We can always to push-ups, jog, or find a body of water to swim in.
These ideas could easily get you started on your 7-step journey to financial freedom! Have you taken some action to save for an emergency fund? What have you done?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.