The 1st of 9 Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University classes is Super Saving. This is an excellent class to start with and begin to set the goal to accomplish Baby Step number one; saving $1,000 in an emergency fund. The emergency fund will provide the safety net, or insurance, when something happens in life like a car repair or the hot-water heater going out. When you have money set aside for emergencies, you will not have to go into debt, fall behind on bills, or pull money out of long-term investments. However some people commented after class last week, since they are living paycheck-to-paycheck how are they going to come up with $1,000? Here are 15 things that you can consider doing to help you accomplish baby step #1:
- Follow a budget and track spending, so that you know where your money goes and you have limits when you shop (you will learn more about this in Lesson #3 “Cash Flow Planning.)”
- Tear up credit cards and use cash. Research indicates that people who use plastic end up spending more money than those that don’t- it is a psychological thing (this is covered extensively in lesson #4 “Dumping Debt.)”.
- Refinance your home now that interest rates are lower than ever, and a lower rate could lower your payment. Be careful, take your time before pulling the trigger, read this post for more information. This will be covered more in lesson #12 “Real Estate and Mortgages.”
- Change tax withholding if you usually get a tax refund. Talk to your tax advisor about the right amount of exemptions for you to take that make sense for you. Your paycheck will go up, and you can use that money for important things.
- Shop for lower insurance rates, this may save you $20 – $100 per month.
- Reduce grocery spending $100 this month. Most people who don’t pay close attention to this area, can save a lot by becoming a more frugal shopper by using coupons and other means. Your local library has dozens of books about how to save money. We like anything by Mary Hunt of Debt Proof Living.
- Cut back on your Cell phone data and time usage, or shop around for better rates. We were able to save $30 per month for two smart phones by switching to Cricket from Verizon. Cricket is owned by AT&T and their network is the second largest, so coverage is pretty good.
- Reduce cable to basic or eliminate all together until you are back to where you need to be.
- Lower your real estate taxes, start by calling your county auditor and talk with them about how you can go about adjusting the valuation of your home down for real estate tax assessment purposes.
- Downsize your home or automobile if you can, this will help you have lower payments, maintenance and utilities.
- Obtain a second part-time job.
- Use tax refunds to fund, or for debt re-payment, and don’t buy anything unnecessary with those monies.
- Do freelance or side work. This has been helpful to me, in the past I painted a friends barn and did other work, and now I do freelance writing.
- Sell something: In the last few years we sold old gold jewerly (read this article first), and I sold a few items that I only used a couple of times per year, including Ping golf clubs and a Specialized road bike.
- Pray for miracles, they sometimes happen. Also, be sure to pray for strength, perseverance, wisdom and guidance along the way, you need His help and He is willing to help you.
You can have a successful year, it takes ingenuity, hard work and prayer.