One of my family’s major goals this year is to pay down as much debt as possible. Even though we owe more than $36k (not including the mortgage) this isn’t my main priority. Right now, my main focus is to start rebuilding our emergency fund.

Like millions of people across America, my wife and I love Dave Ramsey. Sure, the math doesn’t always work and his answer to just about every financial crisis is to sell the car, yet I cannot help but to like the man, and his teaching. According to his book, The Total Money Makeover, one of the first things you should do is build an emergency fund of $1,000.

Over the past few years, we have managed to keep at least this amount in our savings account for emergencies. While a grand is certainly not a lot of money, it helped me sleep better at night. Since we live entirely off of my salary, I always worry about having enough cash to pay our immediate bills. According to the chart I found at daily info graphic I am not alone.

When polled by experts, only 25% of Americans agreed that they could come up with $2,000 if needed within the next month. 28% reported that there was no way they could come up with that much money. I always thought we would be able to but lately I am no longer sure. OK, I am sure – there is no way we could come up with that kind of cash and we would be forced to add it to the credit cards; which is simply no longer an option.

As such, my wife and I have committed ourselves to rebuilding our emergency fund as soon as possible; as in right now.

SMART Goal – By March 31st, our goal is to build a baby emergency fund (defined as $1,000). These funds will be generated by a combination of budget cuts, freelance writing, and selling unused items on eBay.

Budget Cuts – My wife and I are not big spenders. Most of our income goes to paying boring, ordinary bills. We usually try and make our budget at the beginning of the month. Since this is not working out as planned, we are going to start doing a zero-based budget every other week.

Freelance Writing – Last year, I made a lot of money writing articles (relatively speaking) for other websites. Despite the fact that I actually made a decent amount of money, I hated the keywords people wanted to me write about. Seriously! I live in the United States. What would I know about Korean dramas? Needless to say, I got discouraged and stopped my freelance business altogether.

eBay Sales – Our youngest son is 10 months old now. He has a TON of clothes that he can’t fit into anymore. Some of these are brand new, while some were saved from our first son. Hopefully, we can bundle them together and make a few dollars for the effort.

Once we have finishing rebuilding our emergency fund, we will start attacking our debt again. Not that it is going anywhere any time soon.

Do you have a fully funded emergency fund? How long did it take you to save enough money to sleep soundly at night?