Here’s How to Create a $1,000 Emergency Fund

organized stacks piles of dollar bills cash money
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners.

When you’re broke, it feels like you’re always going to be broke. It’s a never-ending cycle. You don’t have money, so you miss a bill and rack up a late charge — that you can’t pay. Because you’re broke.

The first step toward getting yourself out of this cycle is to build up a little financial cushion. Let’s call it your emergency fund. How’s $1,000 sound?

Even if you feel like you’re stuck, we’ve got eight tips to help you out. And if you follow them all, you could have an extra $1,000 (or more!) in two months’ time. It’ll be worth it — and it doesn’t have to be hard.

We’ll break it down for you week by week:

Week 1: See if You Can Get Money From This Company

Here’s the deal: If you’re not using Aspiration’s debit card, you’re missing out on extra cash. And who doesn’t want extra cash?

Yep. A debit card called Aspiration gives you up to a 5% back every time you swipe.

Need to buy groceries? Extra cash.

Need to fill up the tank? Bam. Even more extra cash.

You were going to buy these things anyway — why not get this extra money in the process?

Enter your email address here, and link your bank account to see how much extra cash you can get with your free Aspiration account. And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and under a military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”

Week 2: Withdraw $5 to Own a Piece of Amazon, Google or Other Companies

Take a look at the Forbes Richest People list, and you’ll notice almost all the billionaires have one thing in common — they own another company.

But if you work for a living and don’t happen to have millions of dollars lying around, that can sound totally out of reach.

That’s why we like the app Stash. It lets you be a part of something that’s normally exclusive to the richest of the rich — buying pieces of other companies for as little as $1.
That’s right — you can invest in pieces of well-known companies, such as Amazon, Google or Apple, for as little as $1.

The best part? When these companies profit, so can you. Some companies even send you a check every quarter for your share of the profits, called dividends.

It takes two minutes to sign up, plus Stash will give you a $5 sign-up bonus once you deposit $5 into your investment account.

Week 3: This Research Company Will Pay You up to $225/Month to Watch Videos

This week, you’re going add a little extra cash to your savings stash. But guess what? You don’t even have to leave your couch.

Swagbucks will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute you might watch someone bake brownies and the next you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.

All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward.

No, Swagbucks  won’t replace your full-time job, but it’s possible to earn up to $225 per month watching these videos.

It’s already paid its users more than $200 million.

It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately get a $5 bonus to get you started.

Week 4: Let This Website Pay Off Your Credit Cards

A woman lays on the grass with credit cards surrounding her.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

No, like… the whole bill. All of it. All that debt could be paid by the end of the week.

Your credit card company is ripping you off with insane rates, and it’s getting rich off of you. But there are other, nicer companies that’ll help you out. A website called Credible knows the best ones and could pair you up as soon as tomorrow. 

Here’s how it works: Credible will match you with a loan that’ll cover your credit card tab. Use that loan to pay off your debt, then make monthly payments to repay the loan. It could lower your monthly payments and help you pay off that debt a lot faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month. 

Credible won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.

Week 5: Cancel Your Current Car Insurance

Two young women driving a convertible car
Image Source/Getty Images

People love to tell you to shop around. “You should be getting three different quotes to get the best price on car insurance,” they say.

Sure, this sounds like good advice. Here’s why it’s wrong: Comparing only three companies isn’t nearly enough. We suggest comparing 40. But who has time for that?

A company called Gabi will do it for you for free. It gets people an average of $825 back in their bank accounts a year — and you’ll get the same coverage you already have.

It doesn’t matter when you last renewed; you can get a check from your old company for the time left on your previous policy. (Read: They probably owe you money.)

You don’t have to make any calls or fill out any forms. It takes two minutes to see how much Gabi can put back in your pocket. And the best part? Because we’re driving less, some insurers are slashing prices this month.

Week 6: Stop Deleting Your Emails

It turns out deleting your emails could be costing you money. Intrigued?

One of our secret weapons is called Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.

Plus, if your guaranteed shipment shows up late, Paribus will help you get compensated.

Week 7: Earn Cash While Watching the Latest Celebrity Gossip

If we told you that you could get paid to watch videos on your computer, you’d probably laugh.

It’s too good to be true, right?

But we’re serious. A website called MyPoints will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute you might watch someone bake brownies and the next you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.

All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and sit back and relax.

No, MyPoints won’t replace your full-time job, but it’s something easy you can do while you’re already on the couch tonight. Plus, it takes less than a minute to sign up.

Disclosure: Paribus compensates us when you sign up using the links we provide.