No matter where you’re at with your finances, there are always opportunities to save more. And since nobody likes depriving themselves, why not make the act of saving effortless?
That’s why I created this list of 17 money hacks that make saving easy.
# 1 – Get Cash Back For Price Drops
One of my secret weapons is called Paribus.
Paribus is a free site that gets you cash back on items you bought online when the price drops. In other words, it’s like getting price matching even weeks after you purchased something.
It’s free to sign up. Then, once you do, Paribus scans your email archives for receipts.
When Paribus learns you bought something from one of their monitored retailers (including Amazon, Target, Walmart and 20+ others), it tracks the price. When it learns a price has dropped, it helps you get a refund.
Unlike other similar sites, Paribus allows you to keep 100% of the refund.
Here’s a recent example from my own account. Below is the notification from Paribus I received after an Amazon Prime delivery was late.
Five days later, I got this email from Amazon.
The only thing I had to do was ask Amazon for a free month of Prime. Paribus took care of the rest.
Want to get refunds on your online purchases and money back when shipments are late? Click here to sign up for Paribus.
# 2 – Earn Free Gift Cards While Watching TV
Did you know you can earn free gift cards or cash for participating in market research online?
It’s pretty easy too.
You just sign up for a survey site and then you’re notified by email when a qualifying survey is available.
The hack to actually making this activity worth your time is signing up only with legit sites. That is sites that do not send you spam, do not ask for your phone number, and are highly rated by TrustPilot and Better Business Bureau.
Here’s what’s to like about Survey Junkie:
- Free to sign up
- Over 6,000,000 members
- The highest rated survey site by TrustPilot with an 8.8/10
- An A- Rating with BBB
- Known for having some of the highest payouts
- Pays you instantly in cash via PayPal or can cash out in gift cards to stores like Amazon
# 3 – Get Cash Back On Things You Already Buy (My Favorite)
Wouldn’t it be nice to get up to 20% cash back on everything you bought online?
This is actually possible with Swagbucks.
Swagbucks is a cashback site that allows you to earn up to 20% back in cash when you shop online.
Swagbucks splits the referral fee with you for sending you to a site.
You don’t pay a penny more. All you need to do is start your search at Swagbucks and shop your favorite online stores as you normally would.
Swagbucks has now paid out over $275,000,000 in rewards and has an A-Rating with the Better Business Bureau.
There’s also a $10 sign up bonus if you use this link.
You’re probably shopping online as it is, so why not get some free money back?
# 4 – Shop Around For The Lowest Insurance Rates
Maybe the easiest way to save big money fast is to compare car insurance quotes. If you can save $300 in 30 minutes of work, that’s a $200 an hour task!
Start your search at Esurance, which takes only a few minutes to get a quote.
As an online-only company, Esurance has some of the lowest rates in the industry. Plus, an excellent quoting experience, as it only takes a few minutes to get a quote, even on your phone.
Live in CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA, or WA? Then check out MetroMile, which offers car insurance based on how much you drive. As I work from home and drive less than 5K miles per year, I recently switched to MetroMile as they had the cheapest rate by far.
# 5 – Earn Rewards Effortlessly With Drop
There’s a highly-rated app called Drop that allows you to easily earn cash rewards from your favorite brands.
Here’s how it works:
- Download Drop for free and link your credit or debit card
- Choose your favorite stores (stores include Walmart, Costco, Trader Joes, Safeway, Starbucks, plus dozens of others).
- Then whenever you shop at those stores, you earn rewards.
There’s no scanning barcodes or taking pictures of receipts. You just earn rewards on auto-pilot, then can turn these points into cash or gift cards.
# 6 – Become a 401(k) Millionaire 1% at a Time
The average person with $1,000,000 in their 401(k) saves 16% of their income, according to a recent study by Fidelity. If you’re not at 16% today — there’s no need to panic. Getting there isn’t as hard as many think. Here’s one tip that has been powerful to myself and clients — increase your savings rate by 1% each quarter.
For example, say you’re saving 0% of your paycheck today. Start today by saving 1%. In three months, increase another 1% (what helps is to set a calendar alert every 3-months).
By increasing your savings rate 1% at a time, you’ll barely notice the difference. In four years, you’ll be on pace to become a 401(k) millionaire yourself.
# 7 – Discover If Your Employer’s 401(k) Is Ripping You Off
High investment fees can literally add years to your working life.
Do you have to work an extra 2 years, 5 years, or even 7+ years because of excessive fees in your 401(k)?
It’s definitely not unheard of.
Here’s how to find out.
With employer-sponsored plans, there are two layers of fees:
- Account management fees. This may be a flat fee or a fee based on a percentage of your account value.
- Mutual fund fees. These are fees charged for the specific mutual funds you choose.
Fees can often be hidden. However, a free tool called Blooom can help you discover hidden fees in your 401(k).
All you do is link up your retirement account, then get a free analysis of your 401(k) fees in minutes.
Start the sign up process by entering your name, birthday, and estimated retirement date. Then, let Blooom link up to your retirement account to get your free analysis.
# 8 – Make Your Debt Go Away Faster
- Compare Home Loans with Lending Tree – Easily compare mortgage, refinance, and home equity rates
- Compare Auto Rates with LendingTree – Get rates as low as 1.85% APR with up to 5 offers
Have student loans? Check out Lendkey which can refinance student loans to help save you money.
# 9 – Use Coupon Apps For Groceries & In-Store Purchases
Just as cashback sites can get you money back for your online purchases, coupon apps can get you cash back for in-store purchases.
One of my favorite cash back apps is iBotta.
Here’s how it works:
- Sign up for the app (get a $10 bonus by using this link)
- Before you walk into the store, scan iBotta for rebates
- Once you purchased the item, scan the barcode and receipt
- Then, get cash back in a matter of minutes once your purchase is verified
iBotta works with hundreds of stores, from WalMart, Target, Costco, Publix, and more.
# 10 – Let A Robot Save You Money
One of my favorite new personal finance apps is Trim. The idea behind Trim is to become your robotic personal finance assistant.
Trim takes care of money-saving tasks like:
- Canceling and negotiating subscriptions
- Getting you cash back for price drops
- Lowering your cable and Internet bills
All you do is sign up, connect your account. Then, Trim’s robotic assistant will notify you of ways to save money.
# 11 – $20 Amazon Gift Card Hack
There are a lot of good ways to score free Amazon gift cards.
But by far the easiest opportunity right now is creating a free account with Personal Capital.
Personal Capital, the free finance tracking app with a 4.7 rating & 5K+ reviews, is offering a free $20 gift card for new users. To qualify, you’ll need to link an investment account, e.g. IRA, 401(k), brokerage, etc…
Besides the free gift card, Personal Capital is my favorite personal finance app.
I personally use the app to:
- Monitor my monthly spending
- Track the performance of my investments
- Track my progress towards financial independence
It’s so helpful too seeing all my accounts in one place.
# 12 – Earn Money & Gift Cards Watching Videos
You probably know of InboxDollars, the popular cashback website and app with a 4.4 rating and 52,000+ reviews.
Well, there’s a little-known way you can get paid for watching videos through InboxDollars called Cash Video.
How it works is InboxDollars gives you a specific playlist of videos to watch (you can watch in the background on mute). Common videos include movie previews, music videos, and news.
Once you get through the playlist, you’ll earn cash from InboxDollars. Most playlists run between a few minutes to around 30.
Availability of videos changes daily, but it’s possible to earn up to $225 a month watching these videos!
Plus, there’s a $5 bonus just for signing up.
# 13 – Share your Amazon purchase history
Shop on Amazon? ShopTracker will pay you to see your shopping history.
To start earning you just have to connect Shoptracker to your Amazon account. You’ll instantly earn a $3 Visa Gift card, plus another $3 for every month you keep it installed.
# 14 – Go Cash Only For Certain Categories
It’s widely studied we spend more when using credit cards vs. cash (estimated at about 12-18% more). However, going “cash only” in 2018 isn’t the easiest thing in the world.
A good workaround is to select one or two categories where you overspend. Then, do a cash-only budget for those categories only.
For example, say month-after-month you blow through your budget on dining out. What you’ll then do is set aside a certain amount of cash for dining out. Then, place it in an envelope at the start of the month. Anytime you want to dine out, the money must come from that envelope. Then, when the cash is gone, it’s gone! No more dining out until next month.
# 15 – Improve Your Credit Score
It turns out — having a high credit score, is one of the biggest hacks for saving more. One study1 showed the difference of having excellent vs. poor credit saves the average 35-year old male $274,918 over his life.
It’s important to know and manage this number. A free website called Credit Sesame can help you do just that. By signing up, here’s what you can expect:
- See your credit score for free, then get monthly updates
- Get personalized tips on managing your credit, based on your credit profile and goals
- Instant alerts for when an important change has been made to your credit report
The last point above is worth signing up for alone. A recent FTC report found 20% of Americans have an error on their credit report. With how big of an impact your credit score has, it’s vital to know if an error is bringing down your score.
# 16 – Focus On Your Food Budget
Large monthly expenses, such as your mortgage, car payments, and utilities are difficult to save money on overnight.
That’s why often the best place to start saving money is lowering the amount you spend on food.
There are a lot of easy hacks to save money on food.
The easiest is switching the grocery stores you shop at. I’ve found stores like Aldi and Costco 20% to 30% lower than shopping at typical grocery stores. Just as important, you’re not sacrificing quality.
While you may not have this same combination of stores, the lesson to remember is to optimize your grocery spending.
# 17 – Set Financial Goals
Setting goals is a difficult task, setting financial goals is even harder.
None of us know what life will bring us next month, let alone in 5, 10, or 30+ years. On top of that, we must make a whole bunch of assumptions about things we have no control over.
It’s these reasons, among others, we tend to forget the process altogether.
But despite the frustration, financial goals make a lot of sense. After all, working for money takes up most of our waking hours. Once in a while, it makes sense to ask yourself if you’re on the right track.
I’ve written a financial goal setting workbook, to help guide both individuals and couples for setting financial goals. It’s a step-by-step process for gaining clarity in your financial life. Sign up below for free access.
*Paribus compensates us when you sign up for Paribus using the links we provided.