10 Financial Lifehacks to Bear in Mind This Fall

10 Financial Lifehacks to Bear in Mind This Fall

For some people, fall is just another time of year. For others, it is a time to prepare for holiday season spending. But no matter which group you belong to, you will want to meet this season in better financial condition. This list of financial tips will help you make your money go further.

1. Pay Debts Down with Zero Interest Credit Cards

If you have a credit card with a large balance and the zero interest period is coming to an end, you may want to open a new card and transfer the balance of the old card to the new one. This way the balance will fall within the new zero interest period (sometimes up to 18 months). There will be a charge of about 3%. But if your debt is large enough, it will pay off.


2. Ensure Your Savings Account Is Up to Date

Seasons change, and financial situations change. Your old savings account may be obsolete by today’s standards. Check here to see if you are getting the most out of your money.

3. Pay Your Insurance Policy a Year Ahead

If you have an insurance policy you are willing to keep for at least a year, consider paying for it in an annual lump sum. This way you will not have to worry about monthly payments, and you will save considerable amounts of money.


4. Save on Airfares by Browsing Anonymously

A lot of airfare comparison sites keep track of their visitors to see if they visit them repeatedly. If you do so, it tells the site that you are actively looking for something and are ready to pay more. So they raise their prices on you. Hiding yourself may be achieved by simply cleaning up your cache or entering incognito mode in your browser.

5. Learn About Debt Consolidation Loan Coverage

If you have a lot of loans to pay off, consider consolidating them. Take out one loan to deal with all the rest. It will simplify your financial situation and help you get a lower interest rate. However, if you are worried that you may get into even more trouble, consult an expert, or at least read about debt consolidation loan coverage to find out more about companies in this line of business.


6. Check Out the Extras In Your Health Insurance Policy

Health insurance policies may cover much more than meets the eye. It may be anything from gym membership and birth control, to eye surgery and acupuncture. Some of these things may be extravagant or useless for your situation, but a careful glance at your insurance policy is always a good idea.

7. Time Your Car Purchase

If you are going to buy a new car, consider contacting a car dealer late in the month. They usually have quotas to meet and may give you a bargain to get their bonuses.


8. Consult Coupon Sites Before Shopping

Look through this list of popular coupon sites when you are going to make a purchase. In addition to providing discounts for all kinds of businesses and products, it is much easier than collecting classic paper coupons.

9. Use Cash Over Credit or Debit Cards

Credit and Debit cards make money seem less real and thus easier to spend. No matter what you tell yourself, studies show that people are more reluctant to spend actual bills than abstract sums from their credit or debit cards.

10. Put off Impulsive Purchases

If you feel an impulse to buy something, put it off for a set period of time (a day, a week, a month). If that period expires and you still want to buy it, go ahead; but experience shows that in most cases the urge will disappear along the way. Some of these tips don’t look like much, but they say that devil is in the details. What looks insignificant adds up. Pay attention to these little things, and the results will surprise you.

Featured photo credit: Finance/Tax credit via

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Melissa Burns


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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.


So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.


Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.


You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.


Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via

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