Latest posts by R.J. Weiss, CFP® (see all)
- How To Survive The Next Recession - June 26, 2017
- 17 Passive Income Ideas for 2017 With Little Or No Upfront Investment - June 22, 2017
- 5 Important Money Lessons You Never Want To Learn The Hard Way - June 20, 2017
Here’s one hack to save more money.
Calculate what every expense costs you in 10 years.
If you save $100 a month and instead invest that $100 monthly at 8% interest, in 10 years you’ll have $18,444.
So, we can make a rule:
- For monthly expenses, multiply each expense by 184
Cable? That costs you over $18,400 in ten years!
Lower your grocery bill by $200 a month? You’ll have saved $36,800.
This is how to get excited for saving.
How do you save money wisely?
Here are 21 things to try.
Save Money Wisely
# 1 – Shop Online with eBates
I enjoy finding a great deal online on things I need. One thing I’ve done to save more has been to use eBates. eBates give you free money for the shopping you’re already doing.
Essentially, what what eBates allows you to do is share a referral fee for making a purchase through their link. You get a few extra percent off of your purchase from stores like Amazon, Target, eBay, Nordstrom, and more.
If you sign up through this link, you’ll get a $10 bonus too.
# 2 – Know Your Investment Fees
Say you invested $500 a month into a brokerage account for a total of 30 years. If you were charged a 1% fee a year, your total fees over 30 years would add up to $98,404.65!
Making investment fees one of the single biggest expenses over your lifetime!
Review each of your investment accounts and the fees you’re paying.
A few tips:
- Rollover old 401(k)s into an IRA at a low-fee investment provider such as . A 401(k) typically has higher fees then individual brokerage accounts.
- Investment companies like to hide fees. Use , which logs into your accounts and discovers the true fees, to discover actual expenses.
# 3 – Ibotta
The Ibotta app is a great way to get a few dollars back every time your shop.
Ibotta offers cash back on a huge list of items you’re probably already buying like eggs, milk, bread, and yogurt, This can be from anyone of your favorite brands.
Plus, there’s bigger cash back offers on brand name items pending the store. Stores include Wal Mart, Target, Costco, and most nationwide grocery stores.
It works by just scanning the items and the receipts when you’re done.
Ibotta offer a generous signup bonus and a very easy way to earn your first $20, which is deposited into your PayPal or Venmo account.
# 4 – Cut the Cord & Get A Digital Antenna
# 5 – Study Happiness
Mind hacks like multiplying monthly costs by 184 to determine their true cost are a nice trick. The ultimate mind hack—study happiness.
Once you study and practice scientifically proven habits of those that are happy, you’ll want much less. This makes saving money a natural habit, not an uphill battle.
A few books I’ve enjoyed lately are from ex Google Engineer Chade-Meng Tan:
Two of my favorite all time classics are:
# 6 – Refinance Your Debt
For any debt you do have, you want to have the lowest interest rate possible. A low interest rate, combined with an aggressive payoff plan gets you out of debt in the quickest way possible.
Without a large percentage of your income going towards repaying debt, you can build considerable wealth fast. Most importantly, give yourself more freedom.
For those with debt, there are a few different options here:
- Credit Card Debt – Find a card with 0% transfer balance with a low interest rate.
- Student Loans – Refinance your student loans to a lower rate with companies like Sofi and Credible (See my review on Credible).
- Mortgage – Monitor interest rates overtime. If you can find a cheaper rate, go for it. In addition to student loan refinancing, SoFi offers very low mortgage rates to qualified borrowers.
# 7 – Know Your Credit Score
Chances are you’ll be attempting to finance a large purchase in the next few years.
If that’s the case, now is the time to learn how to improve your credit score. With time, anyone can get their credit score up by knowing the factors that impact it.
Sign up today for a free credit monitoring service. The one I recommend is Credit Sesame.
You’ll get to see what your credit score is at no cost, plus get recommendations and alerts going forward on how to improve your score.
Having a high credit score is a BIG WIN. The difference between paying a 3.8% rate on a $300,000, 30 year mortgage vs. a 4.0% is $12,375.
# 8 – Get Up To 5% Back On Credit Card Purchases
The first credit card I applied for, which I still use a lot today is the Chase Freedom.
You earn a $150 bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months. Plus, you earn up to 5% cash back on $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories.
This makes the Chase Freedom card one of the highest earning cards with no annual fee.
# 9 – Savings Made Easy With Trim
Trim’s tagline is, “An assistant that saves you money.”
If you have a Visa Card, there’s an easy way to make a quick $10 in about a minute. If you link your Visa Card, you’ll get a $1 statement credit whenever you spend $5 or more at the grocery store.
Once you link your credit card, Trim then analyzes your past spending.
- Send you a list of your subscriptions and cancel the ones you don’t want for you
- Negotiate on your behalf to lower your Comcast bill and get you credits when you have an outage
- If something you bought on Amazon drops in price, Trim gets you a refund for the difference
They’ve already saved consumers over $8,000,000.
You can sign up for a free account here
# 10 – Cancel Your Gym Membership
This one is a tough one. As a gym membership can be very beneficial.
The problem—they cost a lot, they take up more time, and you can get a good workout at home.
The rule of 184 tells ut that a $100 gym membership will cost $18,400 over ten years.
So, now we can weigh the opportunity cost.
- A) Spend $100 once on Craigslist buying some equipment for a home gym.
- B) Or, spend over $18K in the next ten years on a gym membership + transportation expenses + more time, to join a gym.
# 11 – Get a Programmable Thermostat
A basic programmable thermostat will set you back $22.
You’ll then save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting, according to energy.gov.
You can then double that estimated savings by turning it back 16 hours a day:
- 8 Hours when you’re at work
- 8 Hours of sleep
# 12 – Call Your Internet Provider To Negotiate
Along with recently cutting the cord on my cable, I called Comcast to negotiate my internet rate.
My rate dropped from around $50 to a $25 promotional rate. They then encouraged me to call in 12 months when the promotional rate ends to renew at this $25 rate.
This is one of the biggest wins you can have today.
Don’t want to negotiate? Use Trim instead.
# 13 – Buy A La Carte Instead Of Membership/Subscription
Don’t want to get rid of the gym membership?
See if your gym offers a one-day fee.
The local gym I play basketball does. I play a few times a month at $5.
You can apply this same concept of shopping A La Carte to any monthly subscription service.
Buy magazines only when you need them. Drop the monthly clothing box and buy clothes only when you need. You get the idea.
# 14 – Pay Off Debt, With Your Cash
A common and expensive mistake I find others making is holding cash while carrying high-interest credit card debt. Most people do this because having some cash on them makes them “feel safe.”
However, that feeling is actually costing them a lot of money.
For example, say you have $10K saved in cash, and $8K in credit card debt at 16%.
If you used the $10K in savings to pay off your entire credit card bill, you’ll only have $2K in cash. However, you’ll have saved $1,280 in interest over the course of the year.
Yes, you’ll only have $2K in cash. But, that money was just going to make you feel secure. That credit is still there if necessary.
I see this also with student loans. Someone can easily knock off their student loans with cash in the bank, however, they stick to making monthly payments.
# 15 – Use Your Library
Buy two books a month at $25? That will cost you $4,600 over ten years.
Yes, you can rationalize investing in yourself. Yet, having $4,600 in ten years does sound quite nice.
The library makes a productive, fulfilling hobby like reading absolutely free.
It’s a no brainer.
# 16 – Learn To Cook
Eat out a few less times a month and save $100, that’s $18,400 more you’ll have in 10 years.
If you’ve never given cooking a serious chance, you’re missing out.
Not just in savings. Not just in the health benefits. Not just in the extra time you’ll spend with family.
What I’ve found is that cooking is extraordinary fulfilling. I’m at a computer a good chunk of the day. Seeing my traffic go up from my website is satisfying. Ditto with seeing a nice paycheck hit after a good month. But, it’s an entirely different feeling producing something excellent you can touch and taste.
For beginners, I highly recommend the Four Hour Chef. Of course, pick it up at your library.
# 17 – Shop Your Home & Auto Insurance
Besides checking your limits on your insurance, check quotes with alternate companies.
The thing about insurance is that the price can change drastically from one carrier to the next depending on how they rate. For example, some insurance companies heavily weigh your credit score, while others do not.
# 18 – Increase Your Deductible
Now that you’ve shopped your insurance, next up is checking how much you’ll save by increasing your deductible.
The average amount of time someone files a homeowners claim has been about once every seven years.
So, the math is pretty simple. If increasing your deductible on home insurance will save you more than 7X the increase, you’ll be better off.
For example, if going from a $1,000 to a $2,000 deductible, you should switch if you save more than $142 a year.
The average auto insurance claim frequency is filed once every 18 years. So, as long as the increase will save you over 18X, make the switch.
# 19 – Challenge Your Property Tax
According to the National Taxpayers Union, as many as 60% of properties in the U.S. are assessed at a higher amount than their current value. That means by challenging your property tax assessment there’s a good chance of saving.
This can be a huge win.
There are lawyers out there that will do this for a share of the savings. So, that means no cost out of your pocket.
# 20 – Review Limits On Home & Auto Insurance
While looking over my home insurance, I noticed my personal contents was insured for $280,000.
Your contents are everything in your home that would fall out if you turned it upside down (furniture, refrigerator, clothing, computers, etc…).
Not having many possessions in the first place, a limit of $280,000 meant I was overinsured. I lowered that to $150,000 and saved over $250 a year.
# 21 – Complete Surveys for Gift Cards
There are dozens of sites online that will pay you in gift cards for taking surveys.
The most popular and legit service is called Swagbucks.
With Swagbucks you earn points for many of the activities you’re already doing online such as searching and shopping. Plus, there’s opportunities to earn more from taking surveys and playing games.
You’ll receive a free $5 bonus just for singing up today!
Save Money Wisely
Those are some of my favorite tips on saving money wisely.
Now it’s your turn.
What are your favorite?