20 Easy Tips, Tricks, and Money Saving Hacks

20 Tips, Tricks, and Money Saving Hacks

After digging ourselves out of $20k of debt in two years, we learned a lot about stretching every dollar. Our thirst for penny pinching and wealth building strategies have only grown since then. Here are 20 easy ways to keep more money in your pocket and maximize your budget.

  1. Call your cell/internet/cable providers and haggle a better rate. A lower bill is usually just a phone call away. We’ve saved over $1,000/year by simply picking up the phone and talking with customer service.
  2. Sleep on major purchases. Making big purchases in the heat of the moment has a way of throwing all rational thought out the window. Instead, add the item to your online shopping cart, sleep on it, and see if you cooler spending prevails.
  3. Track your net worth. Your budget helps take care of the day-to-day while your net worth follows your month-to-month. Keep a big picture perspective and start charting your progress.
  4. Automate your savings. If putting money away into savings is hard, then take the choice away by automating it. Set up a recurring bank transfer or ask HR to split a portion of your paycheck to go straight into your savings account.
  5. Get cash back shopping online. Odds are you shop online. And odds are you get 3% to 10% cash back on every purchase you make online using Ebates.
  6. If your employer offers matching, MATCH IT! That’s free money on the table, folks. In most cases, your employer is offering 3% to 6% of your salary as a bonus — don’t throw that away.
  7. Know your credit card perks. Credit cards get a pretty bad rap (which in many cases is well deserved), but they also come with some pretty great benefits. From rental car insurance to roadside assistance to extended warranties, take the time to know what perks the cards in your wallet come with.
  8. Invest in your health with an HSA. The next time open enrollment comes along, take a good look at HSA plans. Tax free in, tax free investment earnings, and tax free out on medical expenses.
  9. Don’t settle for fees. If you’re paying anything to your bank, credit card, or brokerage accounts on a monthly or annual basis, it’s time to stop. There are plenty of no-fee options available, so call your financial institution and ask for your fees to be waived or cancel.
  10. Snowball your way to debt freedom. When you’re buried in debt, you need all the momentum you can get. Starting a debt snowball provides just the psychological boost to get you out of your hole.
  11. Buy refurbished. More than half of our electronics are refurbished. Guess how many of them have had issues? Zero. Always check to see if there’s a refurbished model before buying new.
  12. Use a calendar. Bills, trial membership expirations, renewals, monthly budget evaluations, etc., keep them on a separate calendar so that you can stay on top of your finances.
  13. Choose before you spend. If you’re planning to go out to eat, take a few minutes to look up menu prices BEFORE going to a new restaurant. Don’t get sucked in to situations that your wallet will hate you for later.
  14. Use Priceline Negotiator. If you’ve got a little bit of flexibility in your travel plans, reward yourself with a better deal using Priceline Negotiator or other hidden travel deal sites.
  15. Check online prices when you’re shopping. Use your local brick and mortar stores to check products out in person. But avoid paying the higher retail price by checking out prices on your phone. Smart stores will price match, others will force you to get the better deal online.
  16. Cut your cable bill — for good. There are very few good reasons to keep shelling out $75/month on programming that you can watch at a fraction of that cost. If you’re looking to cut back, you should start here.
  17. Sell (or get rid of) before you buy. If you want to buy something that costs $100, find $100 worth of stuff to sell or donate to offset the cost and amount of stuff you own. Part “live within your means,” part anti-clutter, this rule will make sure you only buy things you really need.
  18. Keep track of every dollar. If you’re not tracking your expenses, you’re not keeping a budget. The only way to know where you can save is knowing where you spend.
  19. Time is money, money is time. Look at every purchase as a cost of time. Don’t think about a new TV costing $700. It really costs a week of work, or three months of debt payments, or a four-day vacation.
  20. Make a meal plan and save. You don’t just blindly throw a bunch of random stuff from your closet into your suitcase when you travel, right? Then why would you go to the grocery store without a meal plan? Plan two week of meals, write down the ingredients, and save money and the anxiety of figuring out what to make each night.