How to Start an Emergency Fund Fast & Turn Clutter into Cash

Chances are you’re one of about half of American families with little to no money in a savings account.  A GOBankingRates 2017 survey shows 57% of Americans have less than $1,000 saved for emergencies. Far too many of us rely on a credit card or short-term loans when unexpected expenses come up.  How can you start an emergency fund when you feel like your budget is already tight? You can make more money at your current job by asking for a raise or work overtime. Part-time gigs or freelancing are other options to earn quick cash. Another way to start an emergency fund fast is to get rid of the clutter that’s around your house by selling it. I’ll walk you through some of the ways I’ve gotten rid of unused items around our house for extra cash including my affiliate links where I’ll be compensated if your visit results in a purchase.

How to Start an Emergency Fund Fast & Turn Clutter into Cash

Here are some recommended places to sell the clutter around your house for extra money. Because I know you’re all busy raising children, many of these options allow you to mail in your stuff for free and get cash back ASAP!

Sell Electronics on Gazelle

Gazelle buys old Macbooks, iPhones, smartphones, tablets and pays you cash.

Here’s how it work: Visit Describe your item & condition. Get an offer. Mail in your item FOR FREE. Get paid with an Amazon gift card, Paypal or check in the mail. Here’s how to trade in your old MacBook Air for cash at!

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Sell Everything on eBay

I think of eBay as an online garage sale. You can list almost anything you want to sell there by listing it as an auction or buy now. Once you receive payment, ship the item and complete the sale.
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I realized I have a designer tote bag I received as a gift that’s selling for as much as $220 on eBay.

If you don’t like the idea of listing items and going to the post office, there’s also eBay Valet: Ship your items to a professional eBay seller who lists and photographs your items. You get paid when they sell. I’ve also heard of similar people you can hire to sell on Craigslist for you for a flat fee.

In case you missed it, I did a Facebook Live on the Mommy Talk Show page with my blogging buddy Michele from Midlife Healthy Living, because she’s a pro at selling on eBay. It’s a revealing Q&A where she talks about her most popular items to sell there.

Sell Kids Clothing & Toys at Consignment Sales

Every spring and fall in Atlanta, area churches and non-profits host consignment sales.

When your gently used item (ex. a girls tutu) sells for a price you select, you split the sale price with the consignment sale organizers.
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Consignment stores are another option. They do all the marketing and selling. Drop off your items. Get a cash offer. Take it or leave it.

Sell Books on Amazon Trade-In

Although you won’t get cash for your old books through Amazon Trade-In, you will earn Amazon gift cards.
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If you’re an Amazon Prime Member, use your gift card for bulk food items or add the cash you would have spent on the bulk items to your emergency savings.

How to Start an Emergency Fund Fast & Turn Clutter into Cash

This year my husband and I have had better money conversations about our goals and challenges.

Talkback to me in the comments: Why is it so hard for most Americans to save? What’s your go-to way to save money in a crunch?

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About Joyce Brewer

Creator & Host of Mommy Talk Show. Emmy award-winning TV journalist.Wife & Mommy; Mom Blogger; Social Media Coach; Long Island, New York transplant living in Atlanta, GA. Follow Joyce on Twitter @MommyTalkShow Author of Use What You Know: A Business Idea Guide for Moms featuring interviews with mompreneurs who created businesses using their skills & backgrounds.

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  1. I used to sell my kids stuff at consignment type stores when I was in a pinch. I’ve never thought to use the money for savings. Great idea!

  2. Wow these are such excellent tips! I think its hard for most Americans to save because when they do have a little putaway, sure enough, an emergency tends to come up! Be it an expense for a car, etc. I love that you shared some ideas that make us proactive. I’m for sure going to look into the Amazon trade in as I have loads of books that I want to get rid of since currently living abroad. Thank you!

  3. Having a emergency is always vital to any person’s budget. These are some great tips to start a emergency fund.

  4. I am happy to run into this post! I so needed to read this…I plan to implement as my life can use so decluttering!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing these tips!! I will try out a few of these!

  6. Ok I didnt know about the Amazon Trade in. As much as I use Amazon Prime that is as good as cash for me!!!

  7. These are some great tips for making some extra cash while decluttering! Thanks for the reminder about selling books on Amazon, I have so many that I keep meaning to list on there!

  8. I could probably get some MEAN cash for my books with Amazon! The problem is I don’t even like sharing them, let alone getting rid of them. I’ve recently started an automatic transfer for my online savings account. I do it on Monday’s so in my mind I think it’s money spent on brunch because of pending weekend transactions! lol

  9. Good ideas! I really should sell my old things.

  10. I am working on reestablishing an emergency fund. I did have one but it was depleted when I was laid off 6 years ago and I havent done anything to replenish it. This is my goal for 2019 to work getting it back to respectable level. I have have been slowing decluttering and starting to sell stuff on ebay. But I did not about gazelle to sell back electronics, I think my electronics might be too old but you never know. And who I could sell books to Amazon.

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