My database of tips is filling up again, so time to pour them out!
Here are a bunch of notes people have shot me in recent months to better help them speed up their savings or stay motivated… Maybe something here will spark joy in your wallets too? ;)
The Scoring System Hack
My focus this year has been to really pay attention to the value my spending brings. I’ve actually added a tab to my spreadsheet (yes, I still use spreadsheets and I love them) where I note everything I buy outside of what I consider living essentials.
I have created a point system that ranges from 1 (shouldn’t have) to 10 (making my dreams come true) and a then a couple middle items for an items I want/need and has been on my list for awhile and I found a good deal on it (replacing 15 year old pans). I also score items that maybe I wouldn’t normally have done, but it was worth it for relationships (happy hour with business partners).
I never really thought of it as happy or unhappy money, but I would say those items that I mark as “shouldn’t have” would be unhappy money or buyers-remorse, and putting extra attention to it and knowing I’ll have to identify it has really helped me avoid some impulse purchases.
The Stealth Wealth Hack
I take delicious pride in saving when others spend. My husband says I can pinch a penny until it screams for mercy. You would never know it if you came to our house because we look “normal”, but my biggest thrills are extra mortgage payments and maxed out retirement. It’s a beautiful thing.
Right now, I’m going a year without buying clothes, books (I can read the 457 I own already and use the library) and makeup. It’s awesome. I feel so empowered by the control I have over how I spend money! – Lisa
The RoosterMoney Hack
I use an app called RoosterMoney to track my boys’ allowance (base pay), and the odd jobs I am offering to pay them extra for, with pay rates.
I believe managing their money and chores with an app gives them experience in 1) gig economy, where you choose a job and the pay rate, and work when you want to, 2) managing the funds you have, with buckets for spending, giving, short-term goals, and long-term goals (with interest set by me), and 3) the nearly all-digital world they are going to be in when they truly enter the job market.
When I started using this system, I made sure both boys had the app installed and knew their logins, and could send me a text via the app to reset their login if they forgot it. They can make purchases online or in person using a debit card I set up for each of them with my bank, who sends me an email for any purchase over $0.01, so I take the amount out of their Rooster “account”. It’s a bit manual, but gives us flexibility and control, without paying an arm and a leg every month or year.
[FYI: Looks like this app also has a UK version, as well as an Australian version too!]
The Car Flipping Hack
I have a friend who flips cars as a side hustle, and the best time to flip and sell a car is around tax time. Great business model, and clears an extra $20,000 to $30,000 per year doing so. – Bryan
The High Deductible Health Plan Hack
For those in good health and that have access to a high deductible health plan, I recommend getting into a HDHP and maxing out your HSA every year.
I have done this consistently since it was first offered and now have $69,000 saved specifically for medical. So far I have been able to cover all my medical expenses out-of-pocket, letting the HSA funds stay invested and grow. I expect to have $125K – $150K triple tax-protected saved by the time I retire in 5 years.
The Child IRA Hack
By putting $20 a week in a Child IRA from birth until their 19th birthday, never putting another dime into the account, that child will have over $2 million by retirement…
The problem is, the Child IRA as a retirement vehicle doesn’t exist yet. Lawmakers are calling for expansion, but under current laws, in order for minors to save, they need to have earned income.
– Chris Carosa MBA, Contributing Editor to Fiduciary News and author of From Cradle to Retirement: The Child IRA.
[I actually found this one in a press release, and was SO EXCITED to hear about the Child IRA until I realized it wasn’t a thing, haha… But of course you can still stash away money for your kids in your own brokerage accounts to replicate this idea any time you choose :) Or if they’re old enough to work and earn money on their own, help them open up their own Roth IRA!]
The Motivational Milestone Hack
Since you share all the time, I wanted to share with you our latest milestone:
(1,700,000 NIS is about $469,251)
As you can see this is sent from myself to myself. I actually have an automated system which checks my google spreadsheet to see if a milestone is crossed, and then sends an email to alert me of it :)
Here’s a google doc I put together which explains how to set it up if you’re interested: How to get Net Worth updates like a boss
The New Camry Hack
This is not your conventional hack, but it’s working out for me. I drove a used truck for around 12 years. I put aside imaginary car note payments each month while I drove the truck. I was then able to buy a NEW Camry LE (basic model) May 2016. It was so NEW it was on the SHOWROOM FLOOR! In addition to a rebate (they were selling them like hot cakes with rebate) I haggled, paid cash for Camry. I have since recouped my costs. Camry only has 30,000 miles! My plan – if all goes well – is to drive the Camry for 12 – 14 years. – Shane
The Smaller House Hack
Here’s one of my philosophies about home size: it is nice for everyone to have their own space, but the larger the house, the less integrated a family can be and the more stuff can accumulate. Smaller space forces more interaction between family members. People lived for centuries in very small spaces – the idea of everyone needing their own bedroom is a relatively modern (last 30-40 years) idea.
There are some good resources regarding smaller house size – and outfitting them with higher priced, thoughtful features: Sarah Susanka’s The Not So Big House book series and site (notsobighouse.com), and Carmella Rayone’s family of five complete with three boys lives in a 665 sf house (www.assortmentblog.
The smaller the house, the smaller the operating expenses and repair costs and the better the location you can afford. – Libby
The Cottage Hack
Good luck on your house search! I wanted to share one thing I did! I bought about $200k more expensive than I could afford which had a cottage rental! I’ve rented the cottage all 20 years except 2 years when one of my daughters lived there while going to graduate school.
I’m now retiring, renovating and moving into the cottage and will be renting the main house for income. I’m in an excellent neighborhood and school district so the house is highly desirable. I love the SF Bay Area and want to travel, this way I can afford to travel and land back in this wonderful area I use as my home base.
I’m on a corner lot so the cottage is on one side of the lot and the main house is on the other. In fact, I’m now going to be seeing different neighbors every day because the cottage is oriented toward the side street. – Laurie
The Sobriety Hack
My best hack I would call “The Sobriety Hack.” Not for everyone, but I have saved over $2,000 to date since July 2017, averaging about $25 or so per week! It’s a steady stream of passive income without question… that money would have evaporated if I still drank. Another upside with this hack? Productivity levels go way up too. – Shane
And for all you parents out there…
The “How To Get More Sleep” Hack ;)
I pick up extra cash here and there doing research studies. While trying to figure out what treat I wanted to spend my recent $20 earnings on, I realized all I wanted was sleep. As in, I legit would pay $20–or more–to get more sleep.
I’m a single mom with teenagers and little kids and I NEVER get enough sleep. I offered my oldest the $20 if she made sure that everyone did their chores, packed their lunches, gave the youngest ones a bath, got them off to bed, and turned in the teenagers’ phones by 10pm.
I took a bubble bath and fell asleep by 8pm. Probably my most favorite way that I have ever spent $20… and you can bet your sweet booties that I will do it again.
Got any secrets you do??
Pass them along and we’ll make you famous the next time around! :)
Here are 76 more hacks to consider in the meantime 👍
- 17 Hacks to Reach FIRE Faster
- 10 #Money Tips For Ya
- 9 More Financial Hacks to Put In Your Pocket
- 40+ Ways to Save More Money & Optimize Your Life
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!