Top 20 Money Hacks You Must Try
Are you trying to save money? Often times we think saving money is difficult. However, if you want to make life easier here are 20 money hacks that will leave you with more money in your budget so you can rest easy.
You can use your extra money to build up an emergency fund or pay off debt. It’s up to you. These money hacks are life changing!
What would you do with an extra $100 or more in your budget every month? I would personally start saving for my next vacation because I have paid off my debt and now my savings are a bonus.
However, if you have debt you could start a plan to pay it down. This is your time to start a savings plan and if you need money help do your research and get your budget on track.
Do you have an emergency fund? I recommended saving six to nine months of your current total bills in case of job loss or a sudden change in your health such as a car accident. It is unfortunate if this happens to you but it is best to be ready.
The best part is, it is totally doable with the money hacks below. Stop wasting your money and start living better.
Top 20 Money Hacks
Top Money Hacks #1: Use Sinking Funds
Sinking funds are a great money trick! If you haven’t heard of sinking funds, they are separate labeled accounts that are specific for a certain saving’s goal. For example, you may ask your bank to set up a savings account labeled “Christmas.” Then add monthly deposits so when Christmas rolls around, you have money for gifts and are not tempted to use a credit card.
This money idea is great because there is research that backs up why sink funds work. If you set up a sinking fund and make automatic payments on payday, your brain has to make a second decision to take the money out of the account. If saving money is automatic, you are less likely to dip into your separate savings fund like you would your regular fund that is attached to an ATM card. You can trick your brain, by making the withdrawal harder for you. You will have time to process the spending and after a while, this will become a habit.
Try it out this month. Most banks will set these “sinking fund” accounts up for you. Here are some other ideas for sinking funds:
- Down payment (car/house)
- Pet supplies/vet
- Car repair
- An annual bill such as car insurance
Click here to try this amazing free tool that analyzes your spending and helps automate savings!
Related: How to Create the Absolutely Perfect Budget for You
Money Hack #2: Eat at Home
I enjoy going out to a restaurant once in a while, but one of the best ways to save money is to leave restaurants as a treat and eat at home for most of your meals. This works best if you include a meal planning strategy. One of the easiest ways to waste money is to run back to the store two or three times per week. Most people buy more items than planned each time they step into a store.
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Try a meal planning bundle and all the work is done for you. Ultimate Bundles has meal plans for different diets that include grocery lists and recipes.
Money Hack #3: Cut the cord
Do you really need cable? In today’s world, it is so easy to find supplemental entertainment. With choices like Netflix and Hulu, there are unlimited possibilities of shows. You can even stream sports on your phone. So ask yourself if the $80 plus bill is worth it. Can you trade that in for a $10 bill and still be happy?
We love watching shows and movies on Amazon Prime. Check out your free 30-day trial here:
Money hack #4: Use Coupons
Couponing isn’t dead. I have to admit I was a huge coupon fan, but sometimes it is annoying to look through all the flyers and start clipping. Yet, I realized I could find many of the coupons I wanted online.
Check out my favorite online coupon site here
Money Hack #5: Don’t Use Coupons
I know I just told you to use coupons but if you aren’t into digging up coupons or looking online, there are other ways to save. Here are a few of my favorite:
- To find my absolute favorite click here
- Checkout 51 – Earn $10 just for signing up and using
- Shopkick (click below for more info.)
Money Hack #6: Track your spending
Do you know how much money you spend each week? Do you eat out at restaurants often? Your $10 daily lunch salad could be putting you into debt.
Example: Say you do not normally keep track of your spending and eat out three times per week. You spend $60 (national average of one meal at a chain restaurant such as Red Robin – Source:….) Not to mention, you are paying way more than that if you have a spouse and kids. After a month, you have spent $240 (plus spouse and kids) on dinners. That comes it to $2880 per year. Wow! That’s almost $3000 in restaurant bills. Keep in mind I’m estimating eating out three times at an average restaurant. You could clearly spend WAY more than that eating at a nicer place. If you have brought your spouse or date along, you can easily double the amount per year to $6000.
My point is, that is a huge amount of money towards your food bill that you may be missing. If you start tracking your spending, you will see exactly what you spend and you can budget accordingly. This money tip is a real eye-opener for most.
Related: Spending Journal
Money Hack #7: Find the best interest rate
Take a look at your bank’s interest rate and then shop around. Many online banks offer better rates. Some allow ATM access and others take longer to withdraw or charge a fee, which can be good if you are trying to save and do not want to take your money out.
One of the best online banks I have found that offers the best interest rate and has minimal fees is CIT Bank. This bank is also FDIC insured so you can rest at ease knowing your money is safe. Sign up for a savings builder account here and forgot about the measly .43% from your regular bank. Check out the current rates by clicking here.
Money Hack #8: Invest
Compound interest is your friend. Many people do not invest in the stock market or real estate out of fear. However investing is not as hard as you think and if you start while you are young, you can make compound interest work in your favor and watch your money grow over the years.
Remember to be patient and buy stocks you plan on holding on to. Remember the great Warren Buffets advice when asked how long his holding period is. His answer: “forever.”
If you are looking for a quick and easy way to invest, check out Swell investing. They pride themselves on investing in socially responsible companies.
Money Hack #9: Ditch the Latte
The little expenses add up. I love a good Starbucks coffee too, but I save it for a treat or use the free gift cards I earn from Swagbucks to enjoy my more luxurious coffee. In fact, you can literally get all of your coffee for free if you do things like search online and take short surveys.
Learn more here
Back to the coffee scenario…If you spend $4 on your daily coffee, you have now spent $28 per week, which is $112 per month and $1,344 per year. It is no wonder half of Americans owe over $6929 in credit card debt. (Source: Nerdwallet)
Another option besides the free gift cards is buying your own Keriugg. Use a single server and make your own coffee at home. You can even buy Starbucks k-cups or if you want to save even more refill your own k-cups.
Money Hack #10: Wait for Sales
Wait for sales and stay patient. If you see something you want, but it cost more than you usually spend, wait for a sale. Most stores have sales cycles every six to eight weeks and every Holiday which is basically once a month. Sign up for your favorite store email list so you don’t miss these sales. Also, if you are shopping online try adding the item to your shopping bag. Sometimes stores will send you an extra coupon to entice you to buy.
Money Hack #11: 30-Day Rule
Have you heard of the 30-day rule money hack? If you are considering a big purchase wait 30 days. If you still want the item after 30 days and you have the money, go ahead and splurge.
However. Many times the excitement dies down and you realize you really did it want the item. If you do not have enough to cover the item, start a sinking fund or cash envelope and save up for it.
Money Hack #12: Budget in the Fun
Life gets boring if you never do anything because you are worried about money. So budget in the fun.
In fact, you should include entertainment in your budget. If you feel you can never do anything because you are on a budget, chances are you will feel deprived and your budget will be out the window.
Even though I love saving money there are certain things my husband and I will spend money on and travel is one of them.
Figure out what you can afford and set aside a vacation sinking fund or entertainment fund for some concerts, trips, or sporting games you want to attend. Also budget in a movie or dinner night out every once in a while.
Related: How to Save Money From Your Salary
Money Hack #13: Give back
Have you heard of the “pay-it-forward” theory? It’s is also known as karma or whatever you want to call it. It is the idea that if you give, you will receive. This is the energy you put out to your fellow humans.
It is best to find money or items you don’t need and donate. If you don’t have money or items to give, give your time which is just as valuable.
- Homeless shelter
- Kid’s Club Tutor
- Boy Scout Leader
- Collections Volunteer
- Church Volunteer
- School Volunteer
Money Hack #14: Buy Second Hand When it Makes Sense
I don’t always buy second-hand but if it makes sense take advantage. For example, I find great sales on new Children’s cloning at Target, Children’s Place, Kohl’s, Marshall’s, and Macy’s last act. So it is not always necessary for me to sit on mom-to-Mom sites searching for things for my kids.
However, if I am buying something that costs more, I will check the second-hand stores or sites I have bought snow pants, coats, and shoes for a great discount on these sites.
Always factor in how much you are saving and how much time it will take you to search for second-hand and then ask yourself if it is worth your time.
Money Hack #15: Use cash
Have you tried the cash envelope system? It is a genius way to save money. I challenge you to put your credit card away for one month and use cash. You can buy cash envelopes here or make your own. Here are some envelope ideas:
- Car Payment
- Gas Money
- Kid’s Money (school stuff and needs)
Money Hack #16: Spending freeze
Brr! This is a cold one! Stop spending money for a certain amount of time. I suggest starting with a week. Next month, challenge yourself to go longer without spending and try two weeks. Make it a game with more money in your pocket as a prize!
Tips for a spending freeze:
- stock up
- pay bills first
- find free family activities
- put away the money you saved
Money Hack #17: Set Goals
Money goals are extremely important. If you want to have x amount of money you need a plan. You can’t just wish your money goals will happen. You need something solid and concrete.
If you are able to save more, write a weekly goal and have your money transferred automatically after you deposit your paycheck. Then it is just like a bill, only the money goes to you in the end.
Saving for retirement? Many employers will allow you to deduct money right out if your check for your 401K or 403b. You can also set up a Roth IRA yourself even if you have a 401k or 403b. Just check the amount you are allowed to contribute per year. I use Fidelity for my Roth.
Related: My Goal Setting Process
Money Hack #18: Take a Money Challenge
If you are in need of a quick way to build up your emergency fund, try a money challenge. There are literally thousands of them on the Internet but I vote for mine: Easy penny challenge with a free printable. By the end of the year, you will have $667.95 saved.
Money Hack #19: Shop Around & Read Reviews
Don’t waste your money by skipping research. Read all the reviews and make sure you are getting a quality product instead of something that will break and leave you shelling out more dough.
Here is my favorite shopping site just for the reviews
Money Hack #20: Stock up
When you find a great sale stock up. Many store sales cycles run from 6-8 weeks. So there is no need to pay full price. Wait for the sale and buy enough to last a few months.
Find a place in your house to set up a small stockpile to keep your items organized. It is not uncommon for my closet to hold 10 bottles of the hairspray I have been using for the last ten years and I’ve gone around two years without buying more hairspray.
Top Money Hacks conclusion:
If you are like me and love saving money, these money-hacks will help you reach your money goals. Not to mention, once you have reached your savings goals, you will have a little extra money for the fun stuff in life.
What are your favorite money hacks? Do you have a new money tip not listed? Leave me a comment. I would love to hear from you!
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