I hope I’m finding you all happy and healthy.
My family and I have experienced medical emergencies this past December, and then again in January.
Any time of the year is a terrible time for emergencies; but, there’s an added stressor when it happens around the holidays – MONEY.
Of course, I never expected these emergencies to happen, so I’ve been working on several ways to save money in a pinch. Most of these methods have been working for me, so I’d like to pass them along to you.
Here are 6 ways to save money in a pinch.
1) Cancel non-essential services. It seems like a no-brainer, but shortly following an emergency situation, this can be easy to overlook. Take stock of any and all non-essential services you have…then cancel them.
Often times these are convenience or entertainment services like gym memberships, Of-The-Month clubs, or magazine subscriptions. For us, the only non-essential service we had was cleaning services.
Yes, I know…what is a money-saving blogger doing paying to get her house cleaned?? Well, it was a long thought-out and planned decision to prioritize time over money.
We had the room in our budget for the service (at that time) so I made a purposeful decision to pay for someone to regularly do the deeper cleaning of my house so that my family and I could have more quality time together.
Anyhow, I digress. The point is, we were able to instantly save $140/month by cancelling our home cleaning services.
2) Negotiate your bills. This may sound familiar. That’s because I talked about this more in-depth in 7 Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Household.
I contacted our internet service provider to negotiate our bill. I got it dropped from 68.98/month to 49.99/month – an instant savings of $18.99/month.
3) Rethink work/daycare schedules. A brief history on this one: My two kids are both school-aged. My husband and I both work first-shift hours, so the kids have to go to before- and after-school care (a $150/week expense). My current work hours are 8a-4p, and my kids’ school starts at 8:45a. .
In the wake of my family emergencies, to save money, I considered shifting my work schedule to 9a-5p. That way, I could get the kids on the bus in the morning, eliminating the need to pay for before-school care.
When I contacted our before- and after-school provider to get pricing for after-school care only, I was told it would cost $110/week. So, we decided to keep both before- and after-school care.
Of course, a savings of $40/week is nothing to scoff at!
But, for us, we weighed the pros and cons of making this change. The large amount of logistical changes required to switch to only after-school care ultimately wasn’t worth the $40/week we would save.
That doesn’t mean a change like this wouldn’t work for you. So, keep schedule changes like this in mind. Ask yourself, might your employer allow you to shift your work hours? If so, can you save money somewhere else because of a schedule change? Maybe it would be a savings on daycare, maybe a savings on pet-sitting or dog-walking? Perhaps shifting your work schedule would allow you to help a neighbor get their kids on the bus in the morning (and make you extra money each week!). These are all ways to make a quick money-savings or earn a little extra income.
Keep this open as an option – whatever benefit it may serve for you. And, don’t assume that your employer won’t allow you to shift your work hours…it doesn’t hurt to at least ask the question!
4) Sell your stuff. This can be a bit time-consuming, but, can still be accomplished in a pinch! The selling site we use most is Letgo. Check out my 10 Side-Hustles to Make Extra Money page to hear more about Letgo.
We haven’t gotten into selling on Amazon too much yet, but, I have found that the Amazon Seller app is a MUST if you’re going to sell on Amazon. It’s an intuitive, convenient hub to plan and track your Amazon sales.
Another site we’ve recently started using for selling is Giftcardmall.com. My workplace offers an incentive program where we can win gift cards (I’ve won two in the past. One I’ve used, the other I didn’t expect to ever use). There are two things about Giftcardmall.com that I’ve been liking. It’s not only a great resource for buying gift cards for others (they have a HUGE selection, offer reduced prices such as paying $20 for a $25 gift card, and there’s a design-your-own gift card option where you can put an custom image on a gift card!)…
Also, you can sell your unused gift cards. I sold my $30 Pottery Barn gift card for $22.26!
I had won a $30 Pottery Barn gift card that I knew I wouldn’t use. So, I went to Giftcardmall.com to sell my gift card. When you sell, you choose whether you want a check mailed to you, or if you want to receive an Amazon gift card. I chose to get paid by Amazon gift card (both because I got back 6% more than getting paid by check, and because I shop at Amazon often and knew I would use it).
So, in a pinch, check your gift card stash and get to selling!
5) UserTesting. Another one of my go-to’s – UserTesting! I’ve talked about it before in 10 Side-Hustles to Make Extra Money – go check it out. It’s a relatively quick and easy way to MAKE money in a pinch. Signing up is free and involves taking a sample test to get approved to be a UserTester – so, getting signed up now will make it even quicker to do testing for money when you’re in a pinch.
6) Make your situation known. I was beside myself when my husband fell ill…suddenly…just before the holidays. Once the initial crisis was over, I was left with thoughts of – how will I make ends meet? how will I afford gifts? how will I afford extra food for parties?
There’s no simple answer, but, making my situation known to others definitely helped!
It made having to decline invitations to go out to restaurants, bars, movies, etc. easier. It helped to build a support-system – I had at least 6 offers from friends and family to take care of the kids so I could save money on babysitting and get things done (like wrapping Christmas gifts). I was tearful at the generosity and support of others. My co-workers went in together and put $140 on a Walmart gift card for my family and me! We are still using that gift card to cover grocery and home good needs. I’m deeply appreciative of the generosity of others during our time of need. I never expected that! (Not that my co-workers aren’t wonderful people, but, the holidays are such a money-tight time for everyone; I was overwhelmed with their willingness to help us out.)
I hope these ideas can help you out in a pinch, too.
Best wishes, Savers!
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