Latest posts by R.J. Weiss, CFP®
- Debt Repayment Plan: An 18-Minute Plan To Start Paying Off Your Debt - March 21, 2018
- How to Become a Freelance Virtual Assistant & Earn $45/Hour+ Working From Home - March 12, 2018
- How to Become a Proofreader & Earn $45/Hour Working From Home - March 6, 2018
No matter where you’re at with your finances, there’s always opportunities to save more. And since nobody likes depriving themselves, why not make the act of saving effortless?
That’s why we created this list of 17 money hacks that make saving easy.
# 1 – Get Cash Back On Things You Already Buy (My Favorite)
Shop online? If so, you need to check out Swagbucks. With Swagbucks, you can get up to 20% cash back from stores like Amazon, WalMart and more.
Click here to get a $5 bonus just for signing up!
Swagbucks Quick Summary
- Free to sign up and free to use
- Get up to 20% cash back from Swagbucks when you shop online
- Paid out over $220,000,000 in rewards and has A+ rating from Better Business Bureau
- Get $5 just for signing up
# 2 – Improve Your Credit Score
How does a good credit score save you money ?
It turns out — having a high credit score, is one of the biggest hacks to 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.
Credit Sesame Quick Summary
- Get your credit score for free in under 90 seconds
- Get personalized tips on how to improve your score
- Highly rated app with a rating of 4.3 and 21,000+ votes
- No credit card needed & it won't impact your score
# 3 – 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:
- Cancelling 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.
Trim Quick Summary
- A free service that saves you money by cutting unused subscriptions, negotiating bills & earning cash back
- Has saved users over $1,000,000 in the last month
- New York Times called Trim, "a good warning for consumers who hate not getting what they are paying for or paying for things that they are not getting."
# 4 – Earn Free Gift Cards By Completing Surveys
A simple way to earn extra cash or gift cards to stores like Amazon, Target, or Walmart is completing online surveys (you can do this while you watch TV in the evening).
While there are dozens of survey sites to choose from, here’s two legit ones that are reader favorites.
SurveyJunkie is an established survey site with over 5,000,000 members and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Keep in mind, by signing up for both these sites you’ll have more opportunities to earn.
# 5 – 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’ 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.
# 6 – 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.
Blooom Quick Summary
- Check the health of your 401(k) with a free analysis from Blooom
- Works with: 401(k), 457, 403(b), 401(a) and TSP
# 7 -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? See if you qualify for a lower rate.
# 8 – Use Coupon Apps For Groceries & In-Store Purchases
Just as cash back 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.
# 9 – Try the 52-Week Money Challenge
Ever heard of the 52-week money challenge. The idea is simple. Save $1 the first week, then an additional dollar every week.
While it doesn’t sound like much, you’ll save $1,378 over the course of a year. This is a great way to build an emergency fund, vacation or Christmas.
# 10 – Shop Online with eBates
eBates is very similar to Swagbucks, where you get cash for the shopping you’re already doing.
Essentially, eBates allows you to share a referral fee for making a purchase through their link. So, you get a few extra percent off of your online purchases.
If you sign up through this link, you’ll get a $10 bonus too. So, you’ll save $10, plus get cash back.
# 11 – Get Cash Back For Price Drops
Many retailers constantly change their prices.
Credit card companies offer price protection–which allows you to refund the difference if something you bought drops in price. The hard part is tracking your purchases and then claiming a refund. Fortunately, there’s software that can do it for you.
Paribus is one such app/website. Paribus will watch your purchases for price drops, then file price adjustment claims on your behalf. It takes about 15 seconds to sign up. Then, the software does the rest.
# 12 – Shop Around For The Lowest Insurance Rates
Insurance companies typically raise their rates once per quarter. So, it’s important to lock in your rate now.
The easiest type of insurance to shop is your auto. Use a site like Esurance, which takes only a few minutes to get a quote, to see if you can save. All it takes is a few minutes. So, with ease you know whether to continue shopping around or if you’re already paying the best price. Time saved!
# 13 – Learn This Valuable Skills
Negotiating is one of the top financial skills to grow your net worth.
Consider the ROI on spending an hour learning the basics of negotiation for a home purchase or negotiating a raise (You can and should spend more time, however, since most people don’t spend any time here, even an hour of prep makes a big difference).
Beyond asking for a raise and in home transactions, negotiation is a valuable career skill. Since few people take the time to understand negotiation, it’s extremely valuable.
Some of my favorite books on the subject are:
- Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In – by Roger Fisher
- Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It – by Chris Voss & Tahl Raz
# 14 – Go Cash Only For Certain Categories
It’s widely studied we spend more when using credit cards vs. cash (estimated 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 – Sell Your Stuff The Easy Way
Selling your old “stuff” is one great way to generate some extra cash. The problem is — it can take A LOT of time.
Try using Decluttr which is much easier than selling through Craigslist, eBay, or other online marketplaces.
Instead of you selling items individually – Decluttr buys your stuff in bulk. This saves you the hassle of managing multiple listings, payments, and dealing with buyers.
You simply upload what you want to sell, then ship it to Decluttr for free. Once Decluttr gets your order, you’ll get paid cash within 24 hours.
# 16 – Prepare Simple, Tasty Meals For $5
To avoid blowing through your food budget for the month, focus on creating low-cost meals.
One trick is to search the Internet for these low-budget meals. You can enter search terms like “$5 meals” or “budget friendly dinners” to get ideas.
Or, sign up to get $5 meals delivered right to your inbox. The founder of $5 Meal Plans, Erin Chase, is a genius when it comes to low-cost meals. She’s been on The Today Show and Fox & Friends showing how you can eat good, healthy meals for a fraction of the cost.
# 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 all together.
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 awhile, 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.
HOW TO SET FINANCIAL GOALS
A step-by-step process for setting financial goals that connect the dots between your money and your happiness. Simply opt-in below to have it sent straight to your inbox!