Here’s a mind 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.
So, how do you save money wisely? In others words, how do you save money without feeling deprived?
Here are 21 things to try.
# 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. So, 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. So, you’ll get an instant savings of $10 off of your first purchase, plus extra cash back.
# 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 expenses and 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.
Side note: If you’d like to save time tracking expenses, I recommend you check out Personal Capital to automate your budgeting. I’ve found Personal Capital to be the best way to keep track of my money. Personal Capital automatically records each of your expenses and organizes them by category. A huge time saver for me. And it’s FREE!
# 3 – Cut the Cord & Get A Digital Antenna
# 4 – 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:
# 5 – Refinance Your Student Loans With Credible
It’s estimated 1 out of 3 people will benefit from refinancing student loans. The quickest way to discover if you’re eligible is to contact lenders to see what types of refinancing rates are available. makes this process easy. If you’ve ever used Kayak to book a flight or hotel, you’ll enjoy the experience of shopping for lower rates with . allows you to refinance student loans quickly by aggregating offers from top lenders for both federal and private debt.
If you’re interested in learning more, you can see my review of Credible.
# 6 – Get A Water Filter That Lasts A Lifetime
A good water filter saves you money. The problem with the $20 Brita filters is you end up spending $30 on filters every couple of months.
Due to some health conditions in our home, we’re attempting to limit the amount of fluoride that comes into our water. (There’s research linking fluoride to autoimmune disorders).
A few years back we bought “an expensive water filter” called a Berkey.
There are two types of people who buy a Berkey:
- Survivalists who think the world is going to end, as this can filter pretty much any water
- Those who want to eliminate fluoride from their water
What I came to find out is that Berkey filters don’t need to be replaced. Only the optional fluoride filters need to be replaced once a year, costing $46.
So, not only does this pay for itself in about five years, it tastes much better. While I don’t know if it was solely responsible for improving a family members autoimmune condition, I can say the blood work has improved. ( :
# 7 – Know Your Credit Score
Chances are you’ll be attempting to finance a large purchase in the next few years like a mortgage or a vehicle.
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.
Right off the bat 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 – Limit Errands To Two Days A Week
Get in the habit of running errands only two days a week. Not only will you save a ton on gas, by limiting your trips you’ll start using what you have more. e.g. instead of running to the store to get eggs, you’ll end up just making something else.
# 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 as a 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. Good place to start are used kettlebells and dumbbells.
- 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.
# 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 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. In reality, 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 dollars 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 the rate. For example, some insurance companies heavily weigh your credit score, while others do not.
Go to a good, local independent agent who will shop multiple companies for you at once. If you’re in Illinois, you can get a quote from my family’s agency instantly online. The agency was founded in 1905 by my Great Grandpa. It has contracts with over 14 different insurers which is about 2.5X the average. AND,you’ll work with Sue who is as good as it gets when finding you a low rate.
# 18 – Increase Your Deductible
Now that you’ve shopped your insurance, checked for proper limits, 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 deductible to a $2,000, if you’ll save over $142 make the switch.
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 for larger homeowners. 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!