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

A person holds packages of hot dogs.
Flickr
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: Let This App Pay You up to $75 Per Win to Play Bingo on Your iPhone

Chances are you probably already play some games on your phone for fun. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could also earn you money? A free iPhone and iPad app called BingoKing will pay you up to $75 per win for playing Bingo on your phone.

The app pairs you up with players of similar skill levels and adds elements of strategy and skill to keep things fair and competitive. Plus, everybody gets the same card and sees the same Bingo balls, so winning is totally a matter of skill.

The app is easy to use, and the games are quick — usually lasting about two minutes. You can play just for fun, or enter a paid game. In one-on-one matches, you can earn up to $20 per win. In larger multiplayer matches, you can win up to $75 per game. Plus, there’s a daily prize pool that often pays out $1,000. Those winners get invitations to compete for a share of larger prizes pools, which can get up to around $10,000. You can cash in any amount, any time via PayPal or a credit card.

The app has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 on the iOS App Store. It’s free to download, and you can get started playing right away.

Week 3: Ask This Company to Pay Your Credit Card Bills

No, like… the whole bill. All of it.

While you’re stressing out over your debt, your credit card company is getting rich off those insane interest rates. But a website called Fiona could help you pay off that bill as soon as tomorrow.

Here’s how it works: Fiona can match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every credit card balance you have. The benefit? You’re left with just one bill to pay every month, and because the interest rate is so much lower, you can get out of debt so much faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month.

If your credit score is at least 620, Fiona can help you borrow up to $250,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 2.49% and terms from 6 to 144 months.

Fiona 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.

All that credit card debt — and the anxiety that comes with it — could be gone by tomorrow.

Week 4: Cancel Your Car Insurance

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

When was the last time you compared car insurance rates? Chances are you’re seriously overpaying with your current policy.

If it’s been more than six months since your last car insurance quote, you should look again.

And if you look through a website called EverQuote, you can see all your options at once. 

EverQuote is the largest online marketplace for insurance in the US, so you’ll get the top options from more than 175 different carriers handed right to you. 

Take a couple of minutes to answer some questions about yourself and your driving record. With this information, EverQuote will be able to give you the top recommendations for car insurance. In just a few minutes, you could save up to $610 a year.

Week 5: 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.

InboxDollars 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, InboxDollars 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 $50 million.

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

Week 6: Get a Free $80 for Playing This Cell Phone Game

Lots of us already play Solitaire on our phones for fun or just to pass the time. Want to see if you can win money at it?

There’s a free iPhone app called Solitaire Cash that lets you play for real money. You could get paid up to $83 per win.

You might be thinking: There’s got to be a catch. This is definitely one of those spammy apps, right?

Wrong. There really isn’t a catch. Sure, you can pay to play in some higher-stakes tournaments, but there’s no pressure. And, in fact, there aren’t even any annoying ads.

With each game, you’ll battle it out against at least five other players. Everyone gets the same deck, so winning is totally a matter of skill. The top three players who solve the deck fastest can win real money — anywhere from $1 to $83.

Over on the App Store, it has over a million downloads and more than 15,000 ratings, averaging 4.7 stars (out of 5).

To get started, just download the free app and start playing your first game immediately.

Week 7: Add $225 to Your Wallet Just for Watching the News

It’s been a historic year in news, and we’re all constantly refreshing for the latest updates. You probably know more than one news-junkie who fancies themselves an expert in respiratory illness or a political mastermind.

And research companies want to pay you to keep watching. You could add up to $225 a month to your pocket by signing up for a free account with Swagbucks. They’ll present you with short news clips to choose from every day, then ask you a few questions about them.

You just have to answer honestly, and Swagbucks will continue to pay you every month. This might sound too good to be true, but it’s already paid its users more than $429 million. We talked to one user in Pennsylvania, 52-year-old Carolinda Hendrickson, who earned $1,200 in a year.

It takes about one minute to sign up, and start getting paid to watch the news.

BingoKing is only available for iOS. Cash games are prohibited in the following states: AZ, AR, DE, FL, LA, MD, MT, NE, NM, TN and SC. Players can compete for virtual currency where cash games are prohibited.