Over at Feminist Finance, blogger F.F. argues that saving $500 could change your life. Literally. (Most personal finance advisors recommend having an emergency savings fund that could cover living costs for four to six months; in this economy, with jobs even tougher to find, eight months to a year is ideal.)
F.F. quotes a study by the Consumer Federation of America that found that among low and moderate income households, those that had at least $500 in savings reported better psychological, health, and financial outcomes. F.F. writes:
Five hundred bucks is an amount within just about anyone's reach. Just five hundred dollars! (I'm starting to feel like an infomercial here). The study's findings indicate that within each category, a household's income wasn't a great predictor of its ability to save--in fact, higher savers actually had slightly lower incomes ($17,000/year) than lower savers.
She recommends finding the spare cash through tax refunds, part-time jobs, selling stuff on eBay, change, and other creative methods.