Building a $1,000 emergency fund is the first step, or baby step for Dave Ramsey fans, to getting your finances in order.

With $1,000 in the bank, you can start to attack debt without having any and every setback halting your momentum.

For those in debt, who haven’t been able to save $1,000, this task seems impossible. But over 30 days, all you have to do is either make or save on average $33 a day. (If you’re out of debt, look at this as simply a way to increase your net worth by $1,000 a month).

Now, you can look at building a $1,000 emergency fund as a daily challenge. If you cut $33 today from your weekly grocery spending, that’s a win. If you sell something for $100, you’ve just made three days progress in a day!

Each time you make or save $33 you get closer to your goal. All it takes is doing this 30 times throughout the month.

Sound difficult?

It can be. But it’s not impossible. And it’s only 30 days.

Where should you get started?

I’ll make it easy for you, here are 15 easy ways.

How To Earn $500 In 30 Days

Sell Anything on Craigslist or Second Hand Stores

Anything you own right now is accruing interest. So, everything you own you should consider selling. (You can always buy it back later, often for less than you sold it for).

I’ve always found Craigslist the best place to sell items, although that has started to change as certain Craigslist alternatives are increasingly popular.

Here’s a few things to consider selling:

  • Furniture
  • Cell phones
  • Electronics
  • Kitchen gadgets
  • Old kids toys
  • Cars (and then buy a cheaper one if needed for commute)

For any items in bulk like clothing or books, go to a second hand store where they’ll pay you upfront.  For textbooks, sell them on Amazon.

Get A Second Job Or Temp Position

While you’re on Craigslist, browse different opportunities to earn money. One option is taking a second job, but you’ll find there are many other ways to earn money fast.

There are dozens of temporary positions available locally for myself. Including joining a research study. You can work weekend events that need labor. You can make $320 a week delivering newspapers. There are landscapers looking to hire for certain jobs on the weekends.

Remember, this is only temporary.

Complete Surveys, Search Online, & Play Games For Gift Cards & Cash

There are dozens of legitimate online companies that pay you for completing surveys. You can even do this on the couch every night in front of the TV.

You’re not going to become rich completing surveys. However, it is possible to earn a few hundred dollars this month.

Many of the survey sites offer signup bonuses, making the first survey you complete the most valuable. In addition, some sites will pay more based on what’s unique about you. So, it’s best to sign up for as many as you can upfront to get a feel for what’s best for you.

Here are five legitimate survey companies you can start with:


How It Works: Swagbucks is a favorite of mine,  as well as a favorite of many readers here. Not only do they offer a wide range of surveys that pay cash, you can earn points for the everyday things you do online like searching, shopping, and watching videos. In total, Swagbucks has paid out over $187 million in rewards. Even if you’re not interested in doing surveys, it’s still easy on the platform to earn decent money with what you’re already doing online today.

Payment Method: Redeem points for Cash through PayPal.

Sign Up Bonus: $5 Just For Signing Up!



How It WorksYouGov is one of the world’s largest research companies with over 5 million members worldwide. Most surveys take between 5-10 minutes and earn you 1,000 points ($1 is equal to 1,400 points). You simply sign up, then get personalized surveys sent to you each day.

Payment Method: Points to Cash through PayPal

Sign Up Bonus: 2,000 Point Signup Bonus

Click here to sign up for YouGov


How It Works: MyPoints is another large survey site, owned by the good people who run Swagbucks. Founded in 1996, they’ve paid out over $236 million in cash and rewards. You can earn points through surveys, plus a number of other ways like watching videos or testing games.

Payment Method: Points to Cash through PayPal

Sign Up Bonus: $5 Bonus for first 5 surveys

Click here to sign up for My Points


How It Works: InboxDollars is another legit survey site that pays out cash. Partner companies include NetFlix, WalMart, Target, & H&R Block. In total, they’ve paid out over $50 million in rewards.  It’s similar to Swagbucks you have access to surveys that pay cash but and can earn watching videos and making purchases through their portal.

Payment Method: Check, gift cards, or Visa PrePaid Debit Card (No PayPal)

Sign Up Bonus: $5 Just For Signing Up!

Click here to sign up for InboxDollars

Dog Walking

Like spending time outside? Become a dog walker. You could earn $1,000 or more per month by walking dogs. The website Rover makes it easy to get started. You complete a profile, go through a background check, and Rover connects you to dog owners.

Test Websites with

Another way to earn money, which doesn’t take much effort, is through testing websites. User Testing is one of the largest sites, where you can earn up to $30 an hour or $10 per website, which takes about 20 minutes. If you can get in the habit of doing one website a day for, that gets you 30% to your goal.

How To Save $500 In 30 Days

Refinance Your Current Debt

Paying a lower interest rate on any debt can save you A LOT of money. So, look into refinancing any debt you may have. However, know that it’s only the first step.

A great solution for a personal loan is SoFi. There you can take out a personal loan at a reasonable interest rate to pay off any higher interest debts.

In addition, SoFi offers student loan refinancing, which can save you hundreds each month.

Another option is Credible. Unlike SoFi, who is the lender, Credible works with multiple banks that loan you money. Similar to how Kayak functions as a search engine for flights and hotels. For those interested in learning more, you can check out my review of Credible.

Unnecessary Driving

When you add up gas, maintenance, and depreciation the average cost of a mile driven is 59.2 cents for an average sedan. So, to save $33, you need to cut out 55 miles of driving.

That’s easy. Batch your errands. Take a bike. Walk. Work from home. Do anything you can to cut unnecessary driving.

Cut Cable & Negotiate Your Internet

You’re in debt. Paying for cable isn’t a necessity, it’s a luxury. Call your provider right now and cancel.

While you’re at, ask if there are current promotions to save money on your Internet. Internet providers spend hundreds to gain you as a customer. They’ll negotiate a lower rate if it means keeping you.

Quote, Negotiate, & Update Your Car & Home Insurance

First, call your current insurance provider to see if you qualify for any additional discounts. Let them know you’re looking at alternate options.

Next, get quotes from competing carriers.

Where can you start?

Use a site like Esurance, which takes only a few minutes to get a quote, to see if you can save. All it takes is a few minutes. So, with ease you know whether to continue shopping around or if you’re already paying the best price. Time saved!


Buy High Caloric, Nutrient-Dense Food In Bulk

You don’t have to sacrifice your health to save money. Instead, shop smart. Your goal is to buy high caloric, nutrient dense foods for the lowest price. Unless there’s a sale, the best way to do this is by buying in bulk.

Here are some cheap, healthy staples:

  • Apples
  • Cheese
  • Chicken Thighs or Drumsticks
  • Dried Beans
  • Eggs
  • Frozen Fruits & Veggies
  • Milk
  • Nuts
  • Olive Oil
  • Oatmeal
  • Peanut Butter
  • Potatoes
  • Yogurt

Open A No-Fee Bank Account, With A Line Of Credit, That Offers A Bonus

ATM and overdraft fees topped $6 billion at three largest banks last year. It’s not the rich who are paying those fees, it’s those in debt.

Find yourself a good bank, with access to free ATMs, a free debit card, and who offers low interest overdraft protection.

I use Capital One 360, who I recommend. You might check out local option as well.

It doesn’t matter that you may only be depositing $100. Get yourself a good bank and stop paying fees. Oh, and you’ll earn $25 for opening an account at Capital One 360.

What’s Next?

That’s the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ideas to make or save money.

Your goal is to get to $1,000 in 30 days. It’s not impossible and is the first-step to end the paycheck to paycheck cycle.

Good luck!