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20 Mini Money Hacks To Save You A Lot

20 Mini Money Hacks To Save You A Lot

If you’re like most people, you’d be happy to have more money, either to pay off debt, invest, or spend on items and experiences you love. I’m not a penny pincher but I do like easy, practical tips to save money and increase my net worth. Here are some money hacks to save you a lot and help you slowly achieve your financial dreams.

1. Hide your money…from yourself.

Begin delegating a portion of your paycheck, even if it’s a very small amount, toward savings. Have this amount automatically transferred from your paycheck to an account you can’t conveniently access, so the money never enters your checking account and you are less likely to spend it. Tricking yourself into thinking you have less per paycheck to spend will help you save.

2. Forget about late fees.

Automate your bills whenever possible. This will help you avoid those dreaded late fees.

3. Tell your raise where to go.

When you get an increase in pay at your job, automatically have that extra amount per pay period go into savings. You won’t miss it if you never see it in your checking account in the first place.

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4. Learn the language of money.

401K? Roth IRA? ROI? Cash flow? Net worth? If you want to understand savings, learn the language of money. Having an understanding of basic financial terms will help increase your sense…and cents.

5. Save for an emergency fund.

Plan for the unexpected. Year after year, there will be unplanned events that cost money, ranging from urgent home repairs to unforeseen medical expenses. Having money set aside can help greatly when those surprises occur.

6. Build multiple streams of income.

Gradually building multiple streams of income will give you access to more money to save.

7. Track your spending.

Record every dollar you spend for one month. Analyze your findings and determine if you can cut back some unnecessary spending in order to boost your savings.

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8. Have an accountability partner.

Find a friend on a similar mission to save money, and hold each other accountable. Having someone to encourage you along the way can make a big difference in attaining your savings goals.

9. Forget about the Joneses.

Quit comparing yourself to others. First of all, you don’t know other people’s financial situations; just because your coworker bought a new vehicle doesn’t necessarily mean he had the money to buy it. Secondly, trying to uphold an image of wealth may cause you to spend way more than you should, and therefore actually decrease your long-term savings. Focus on yourself and your situation, and try to do better than you did last year.

10. Don’t buy what you can’t afford.

Just because a store is offering an item for “% money down for 3 years” doesn’t mean you should buy it. And spending money on items for sale is still spending money.

11. Use cash when shopping.

Although some people use credit cards, diligently pay off the balance each month, and rack up airline miles, many of us are not as disciplined. For many of us, carrying cash when shopping is a smarter choice. It’s harder to part with cash; seeing money physically leave your hands is more difficult than swiping a card. Research shows people spend more when they buy using credit cards.

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12. Be mindful of the company you keep.

Jim Rohn, a businessman, is quoted as saying, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Do you feel pressured by your friends to spend recklessly? If your goal is truly to save money, hang out with like-minded people.

13. Ask questions.

You thought an item was on sale, but it didn’t ring up on clearance in the checkout aisle? Ask. Can’t remember the balance you need to keep in your checking account to receive free checks? Ask. Not sure you understand your retirement plan at work? Ask. Many people are scared to ask financial questions, but taking an active interest in your finances is essential for you to take control of your money.

14. Embrace second-hand items.

If an item isn’t going to make you money, it might be worth purchasing it second-hand. If you’re crafty, many items can be refurbished for minimal cost. And embracing hand-me-downs for kids’ clothing can save you thousands of dollars.

15. Study yourself.

Do you overspend when you shop online? Book extravagant vacations when stressed? Are you a sucker for a latte every morning? It’s impossible to change your habits if you don’t know what they are. Studying your habits and what triggers you to spend money in the first place is a fundamental step to saving money.

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16. Take advantage of the retirement match at work.

If your employer offers free money, take it. All of it.

17. Befriend your tax accountant.

Tax accountants are a great source of information for saving money. Be sure you understand the tax benefits that accompany charitable donations and running a home-based business, if you have one.

18. Cut transportation costs.

Transportation is one of the biggest monthly costs for many people. Riding bike or walking to work, if you live close enough, can save you a lot of money plus helps the environment. If you drive your car to work, commuting with a friend can significantly decrease your costs, and make the ride more enjoyable.

19. Involve your whole family.

Talk to your spouse and children about your financial goals. Kids can help search for best prices on upcoming purchases. Also, you can encourage each other to cut costs around the house by developing eco-friendly habits including turning off lights when leaving a room. Involving your family members empowers them and they will likely want to help save, especially if they know a reward is coming for them.

20. Reward yourself.

As you reach savings milestones, reward yourself. For example, after you have a $1,000 emergency fund saved, treat your family to a special weekend. Kids’ college saved for? Celebrate with a family vacation. You feel you’ve stashed enough for retirement? Delight in that once-in-a-lifetime experience you’ve been longing to take part in. Diligently saving money can be tough, and it’s important to relax a little and treat yourself for excellent progress.

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 unsplash.com

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