I Found My Emergency Fund in My Closet

By Leslie R.

One of the most difficult things for me to do was build up my emergency fund. It seemed that I lived every two weeks paycheck to paycheck and there was no buffer when emergencies did happen. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to build up an emergency fund.

Another problem that I was facing at the time was a too small apartment cluttered with things I no longer used. I was tired of not having enough space and I finally decided that it was time to get rid of a lot of stuff.

I knew that my junk wasn’t worth a lot of money, but I decided that I would try to sell it instead of throwing it out or giving it away. I also made the decision that any money that I made from doing this I would use as my emergency fund. I even went so far as to open a new account specifically to deposit any money that I made.

I sold my stuff in a variety of ways. I used Craigslist.org a lot. If I thought something had a bit of value, I would place it on eBay. I even had a garage sale to get rid of all those little things that I didn’t think would sell online.

The results were outstanding, at least for me. Over the last nine months of cleaning out my closets and other storage places, I’ve been able to put $1300 aside for a true emergency fund while not missing anything that I have sold. As a bonus, my apartment is a lot less cluttered and I actually have room again.

I really thought that I would never be able to build an emergency fund. Imagine my surprise when I found out that it was sitting in my closet.

Do you have a story about saving money that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear about it.

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14 Responses to I Found My Emergency Fund in My Closet

  1. Wojciech K says:

    I had similar luck about a year ago, when I discovered about $500 sitting in our closet. We still haven’t gone through everything, but we first focused on everything of value, and mostly used eBay and Half.com to get rid of it.

    A lot of people got great deals on used stuff, and we got some cash! Win-win all around.

  2. anonymous says:

    What, specifically, did you sell?

  3. Leslie says:

    I sold everything that was sitting in closets and other storage areas that I hadn’t used for a year or more. This included workout equipment, sports equipment, clothes, old toys, old electronic and computer equipment, etc.

  4. Jay Gatsby says:

    Not a bad idea, but setting an arbitrary 1-year non-use date isn’t practical for all people. True, you may not have used it in a year, but there may be a reason. Unfortunately, that reason may simply be laziness.

  5. RB @ Richby30RetireBy4 says:

    Congrats on your savings Leslie.

    It’s all about decluttering and getting rid of junk! I actually hide $20-$100 bills in various drawers here and there and forget about it. After a while, I’ll stumble across it and voila, instant cash I didn’t even miss.

    I’m tempted to sell my baseball card collection from 1957. Several Mickey Mantles and Roberto Clementes. We’re talking about $10,000-15,000 bucks!



    Rich By 30 Retire By 40

  6. RB @ Richby30RetireBy40 says:

    Saving money can also be made simply by just donating to the Salvation Army. No brainer giving away all the stuff you don’t use and getting a write-off.



    Rich By 30 Retire By 40

  7. Justin says:

    We all have stuff that needs to go and someone else could use. Craiglist is absolutely wonderful. You can make good money selling those items that you don’t need anymore.

  8. Stacy Adcock says:

    I love this article! This is one of the best things every person can do for themself! Cleaning out clutter, allowing someone else to benifit from things you no longer need and making money from it is such a great feeling. I did the same thing when I decided to pay off debt. All my yardsale money was sent straight to my credit card companies and it helped me get out of debt a few months early. Plus I learned the valuable lesson that “stuff” does not make a person happy; My shopping habit is curbed, my house is no longer full of junk and my savings account is building!

  9. tetrod4568 says:

    Nice article. I’m thinking of selling some things on Craigslist but I’ve never done that before. Can anyone give me some details on how you get paid? I know eBay has a system like PayPal, but does Craigslist have something similar?

    I would hate to accept a personal check from someone and have it bounce.


  10. Susan says:

    Really great idea! I love it. Very clever. This is the kind of post that is so helpful. Thanks, I need inspiration!

  11. James says:

    Good move. most of the time the stuff in your closet just obligates you to buy more stuff – like containers or bags – t put everything in. You are far better off having the money.



  12. What a great idea, Odds are you have stuff around the house that you have not used in years anyway.

    Good way to make an extra mortgage payment to reduce the prinicple.

  13. gaelicwench says:

    I have a move coming up. I KNOW I have a closet full of things I could easily sell online. I need to sort out those items from those I plan to keep; simply put the items in a box and marked accordingly so I can find it right away.

    As things sell, I will put it in my savings – Pay Myself First. It is a good way to rid oneself of unwanted stuff, that’s for certain.

  14. Haley Manson says:

    That is one nice move Gaelicwench. Things can get really cluttered as years passes without you knowing it and thanks to a post like this you really don’t know what surprises an overall cleaning and a garage sale will give you.

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