Everyone knows abstractly that it is just a wise financial choice to have an emergency fund. From time to time there are unexpected expenses that can throw off even the most carefully planned monthly budget. But the tough economy and ever rising cost of living is making it very difficult for families to find even a few extra dollars a week to tuck away for a rainy day. But by investing a little bit of time and consistently following this new plan, you can use free or found money to begin your emergency fund.
We all come across coupons and rebate offers when we are shopping. Coupons usually are for less than a dollar but we find that they are easy to use and the savings does add up, so we use them. Rebates, on the other hand, are generally for larger amounts, many can be $5.00 to $20.00, depending on the cost of the item that you purchase. The reason these offers are more valuable is simple. The manufacturer is counting on most consumers to be lazy. You will shop, and purchase, feeling good that you are getting a good deal; but businesses know that most shoppers will not take the time to complete the paper form or go online to complete the rebate form. They offer a high reward knowing that they will only pay out to a few diligent consumers.
So be glad that most people are lazy, and capitalize on their short coming. Send in the rebate form or complete it online and then wait for your check in the mail. Then just a quick trip to the bank and you will be seeing your emergency fund grow for free. To jump start your fund or just to give it a little boost from time to time, place a few items on Craigslist and deposit that money with your next rebate check. Or commit to really saving the money that you might not be spending at an unexpected sale. You knew you were going to purchase two shirts today, but you get to the store to find them buy one get one 50% off. Save that extra 50% you were going to spend for your emergency fund.
Cutting costs from your budget is sometimes just not an option. But you can always invest a little bit of your time find extra money in rebates and special offers. In the beginning it may seem like a few dollars here and there will not make a difference but over time they will add up just like your coupon savings does.
Kathy Koewler Phoenix.org Phoenix Frugal Living Blogger