10 #Money Tips For Ya

Y’all asked for more real-life stories like our #money motivations from last week, so today we deliver up another plate full :)

Only this time around, we focus on money #tips. (Why do I keep #hashtagging everything?)

I always keep a folder of great ideas when I see them in comments or emails, so here’s a smattering of them all for your perusal today. Share your own down in the comments below, and maybe we’ll make you famous in the next round!

Always be learning, baby…


The Rounder-Upper

I use a spreadsheet and write down every time I spend, but instead of writing $135.77, I write $150. I like round numbers, and these little rounding ups cause me to always have more money in my account than I think I do =)

— Tessa C.


The Coin Scatterer

When I was four or five years old I had a hack for saving my allowance. I would get my allowance in coins and I would scatter the coins in my underwear drawer, then mix everything up. Whenever I wanted to buy something I would go searching through my underwear drawer.

Finding the coins would take some doing (and I never knew if not finding any meant that they were all gone or I just hadn’t looked hard enough!), and as a result how much I searched depended on how badly I wanted whatever I was thinking of buying.

If I couldn’t find enough money, I would toss it all back and mix it up again! This not only made saving (sort of) automatic, but it also helped me set my priorities.

— Les


The Store Walk-Arounder

My way to get over buying stuff is that I pick up what I like in a store, and then I walk around the store with it. In my mind I am convincing myself that it’s already purchased and it’s now mine.

Usually if I walk around with it for about 15 minutes or so, it looses its grip it has on me and suddenly I don’t like it as much anymore.

It is the feeling of owning something, the feeling of “this is mine” that makes me lose interest in the item. The same way that when we buy an item and bring it home, it is suddenly not as important and it ends up sitting in a corner without much attention after a day or so.

So, I just come to this feeling first without having to buy the item, just by walking around the store with it for a while.

— Sandy


The Inheritance Preserver

(written from an “old-school, New England WASP family money” perspective)

In my family for generations (and I’m talking about family going back to the mid 1800’s, with trusts still in place based on handwritten wills), inheritance is to be preserved and passed down to the next generation. Live it up with the investment income but make sure the principal is preserved and keeps up with inflation so it can be passed down intact to the next generation.

This means no debt payment, no going wild and buying anything the first year, no funding Roths or IRA, etc. Your daily life is to be funded from your own generated salary. It means investing the entire inheritance and using the investment income ONLY for the rest of your life, where you then pass it down the family chain.

(My ancestors are probably rolling in their graves, btw, at the fact that I am publicly discussing money! It is uncouth and “just not done!”)

— Libby


The Library Fine Hacker

Check with your library and see if they have a program called something like “Read Down Your Fines”. My library system lets you and your family come into the library and sit and read (together or alone) and they take off something like $5/hour from your fines. It’s to encourage families not to stop using the library if they forget to return some books once a while!

— Samantha


The Hail Capitalizer

Hail storms present excellent car buying opportunities if you care more about mechanical integrity than cosmetics. I picked up an ’07 Accord with low miles for about 40% off ($5,500 vs just over $9,000 blue book at the time, paid off over an 18-month 0% credit card promotion to maintain a cash buffer for maintenance).

The car was ‘totaled’ by the insurance company and has a salvage title solely because of the hail damage, which is noticeable only when the car is clean and shiny (a rarity in New England). I brought it to my mechanic for the pre-purchase inspection (probably the most important part of buying any used vehicle, anywhere) and learned he too drives hail-damaged, salvage-titled cars exclusively. In fact, his wife drives a late model Porsche Cayenne with a few hail dings they picked up at an insurance auction!

We tell people the golf ball motif improves gas mileage, and I am now considering the license plate ‘HAIL-YEA’. I pay lots of attention to the vehicle’s mechanical bits, and have been pleasantly surprised by how refreshing it is to not care about the appearance. It’s a tool to get from A to B and save a bunch of money in the process.

— k.Jam


The Odd Day Avoider

I use the ‘odd days off’ rule (no spending on odd days of the month!) and it has made a big difference. Not just on my budget, but on the way I view money overall. I was surprised at how often I *needed* to run to the store for something, when I was really just bored.

— Felicia


The Anti-Budget Budgeter

I’m a big fan of the Anti-Budget that Paula Pant talks about. Save your desired percentage off the top, and don’t fret so much about where the rest gets spent. If I spend $200 on groceries or $200 on restaurants, who cares? It was allocated to be spent anyway!

— Jover


The Money Comparer

One of my favorite lines is, “What else can I buy with this money?”

If the purse is $2,000, that’s $2,000 that could’ve purchased 20 pairs of shoes, 111 shares of Under Armour stock, 200 burrito bowls from Chipotle (plus guac) or $8,000 towards your child’s college education ($2k x 7% rate of return x 20 years).

After this quick analysis, I usually find that I would be happier holding onto my money and using it elsewhere.

— Anonymous


The Lazy Saver

I think it’s about time I comment and thank you for pointing me to Digit! I still have a lot of work to do when it comes to my finances, but using this app has given me the confidence to at least start. I’ve save almost $3,000 in seven months! I think that’s more than I’ve EVER had in savings.

— Johnna

(Editor’s note: as of January of this year the total amount saved from readers of this blog using Digit was exactly $4,608,568.32. As of yesterday it was $7,472,406.78!)

So there you have it! Our community is the smartest people in the world ;)

If you already knew of all these hacks (and that wouldn’t surprise me, again, smarty pants!), here are 46 more to sink your wallet into…

Get. That. Money!!

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  1. Barnabas @ The Dad Wallet October 16, 2017 at 6:17 AM

    I love the money in the underwear drawer idea when they were a kid.

    For me, I don’t carry credit cards/debit cards/or more than $20 in cash on me ever! We have planned what days we go grocery shopping and what days we might need the money so unless it’s off to the grocery store, the cards and such stay in our house.

    I have a problem that if I have it on me I end up going for a random coffee run or lunch with friends.

    For emergencies, I keep a $100 bill hidden in my car. If it doesn’t get spent that month then it goes into our vacation fund. It’s a good way to try and stay on track!

    1. J. Money October 16, 2017 at 10:59 AM

      HAH!!! Do all your friends know you have that $100 hidden?? That is hilarious.

  2. Mrs. Adventure Rich October 16, 2017 at 6:36 AM

    The “store-walker” hack sounds genius! Haha- I may try that the next time I’m tempted to buy something impulsively!

    1. Ramona @ Personal Finance Today October 16, 2017 at 6:54 AM

      Worth checking out. I’m still falling into the ‘impulse buying’ trap, so this might actually do the trick. And thinking about ‘what I can buy with 2000 bucks’ helped me not squander the money on a MacPro, but get myself an HP with similar specs, a camcorder, a DSLR camera and a lot of clothing I really needed :D

  3. Ms99to1percent October 16, 2017 at 6:37 AM

    OMG so many good strategies I never considered before. I’m gonna look into the Hail Capitalizer strategy, sounds like we can save thousands with that.

    And we can also relate to the Anti-Budget Budgeter coz that’s the same budgeting strategy we use.

  4. Ember @ An Intentional Lifestyle October 16, 2017 at 6:40 AM

    We do so many of these!! What’s better than using one money saving? It must be using as many as you can! ;)

    For basically any purchase, we ask ourselves if its a want or need, can it wait, and is there an alternative that we can get that is cheaper or better. These 3 questions have saved us quite a bit of money through the years!

  5. Lily @ The Frugal Gene October 16, 2017 at 7:15 AM

    Why is that library one not the norm for every library!!! It’s flipping brilliant!!! Best money tip I’ve heard in a loooong time.

    *Puts it into memory bank for future uses (:*

    1. J. Money October 16, 2017 at 11:01 AM

      That was one of my favorites too :)

    2. Laura October 16, 2017 at 3:00 PM

      I work at a public library and we don’t do that…yet. I’m definitely going to suggest it to my boss! The thing that we hate about fines is that even if you pay, the money doesn’t go to the library. It goes into the city’s general fund (at least at my library – I’m sure it’s different elsewhere).

      1. Samantha October 17, 2017 at 2:26 PM

        That was my tip! yay! I did want to mention that when my library did away with fines, they wrote lots of press releases about how much sense it made – only a minuscule amount of their budget was coming from the fines anyway, and it disproportionately affected families of lower income levels – which is who needed the library the most!

        1. J. Money October 19, 2017 at 9:19 AM

          “only a minuscule amount of their budget was coming from the fines anyway, and it disproportionately affected families of lower income levels ” – makes sense!

      2. Alaska49 October 17, 2017 at 3:52 PM

        Same in our town.

  6. Balanced Dividends Mike October 16, 2017 at 7:17 AM

    Great ideas!

    For the The Rounder-Upper, checkout Qapital – it’s a great app for savings (similar for Acorns, but for investing).

    For the The Inheritance Preserver, my family hasn’t been and isn’t at the moment (at least not yet) in a position to apply this strategy. Inheritances aside, our goal is also to ideally only live on passive income and not touch principal.

    For the The Money Comparer, this seems like a very powerful method. We’ll check it out.

    Digit also seems quite interesting. I’ve reviewed it before but will give it another look – those numbers are quite impressive!

    1. J. Money October 16, 2017 at 11:06 AM

      Let me know if you end up trying it out – I’ve saved over $10,000 using them myself over the years :)

  7. RJ October 16, 2017 at 7:22 AM

    Love it! I’m definitely the Store Walk-Arounder. Glad I have a name for it now. lol.

  8. Apathy Ends October 16, 2017 at 8:13 AM

    Can you picture the coins in underwear drawer hack when the ice cream man came rolling by and you really wanted a treat?

  9. Miss Mazuma October 16, 2017 at 8:20 AM

    I like to use the store walk around method as well as money comparing. Another one is how many hours do I have to work to buy this. Usually it’s too many! Any extra minute of work just isn’t worth it these days. But my favorite from this list (and one I haven’t heard before) is the odd day avoider. Genius!

    1. J. Money October 16, 2017 at 11:07 AM

      You should up it a notch and try to go odd *months* haha….

    1. J. Money October 16, 2017 at 11:08 AM

      Fantastic idea!

      For a group that’s pretty old school, they sure are pretty creative :)

    2. Laura October 16, 2017 at 3:04 PM

      My library does an annual fine forgiveness event but instead of canned food, we take donations for the Animal Shelter (pet food, cat litter, paper towels, etc.) It’s very popular!

  10. Ms. Frugal Asian Finance October 16, 2017 at 8:22 AM

    These are such refreshing money saving tips. They are different from everything I have seen before. I particularly like the shop around tip bc I think I do that sometimes hehe.

    I would walk around the store and convince myself that I don’t need the item so that I won’t buy it.

  11. Joe October 16, 2017 at 8:25 AM

    Great tips, but I urge everyone to pay your library fines. They need all the support they can get. Note to self, go pay the $1.50 fine. :)

    1. J. Money October 16, 2017 at 11:14 AM

      (you naughty boy you)

  12. Owen @ PlanEasy October 16, 2017 at 8:27 AM

    Well, it looks like I’ll be googling for hail damaged sports cars this morning…maybe a Tesla?

    1. J. Money October 16, 2017 at 11:14 AM

      now THAT would be awesome… as I have to imagine most Tesla owners would *not* be cool with rolling out with dings all over :)

  13. Josh October 16, 2017 at 8:28 AM

    Having hand-written wills from the mid-1800s still in effect? It’s unbelievable.
    That is an idea my wife and I can get on board with to help us establish a legacy for our children and their progeny.

    1. J. Money October 16, 2017 at 11:15 AM

      I’m liking it as well :) Such a good way to help future generations, while keeping in tact the $$$ (and hopefully even growing it w/ each generation!).

  14. Mrs. Picky Pincher October 16, 2017 at 8:32 AM

    Aw, I wish our library did an option for people to read down their fines. I partner with our local schools and there are some depressing stats on how little parents are reading with their kids.

  15. FullTimeFinance October 16, 2017 at 8:36 AM

    I love the car hail hack, I hadn’t heard of it before. For us we move cash out of our checking account and into savings where it takes extra steps to get it out. Sort of like the adult version of the money drawer. The harder it is to spend beyond your means the less likely you will be to do so.

    1. J. Money October 16, 2017 at 11:17 AM

      Even better would be changing the password to something super hard to remember and then not writing it down anywhere :) and then opting out of debit cards too so the only real way to get access to is to *visit* the bank – hah! I’ve heard of people doing this before – super hardcore haha

  16. Jason@WinningPersonalFinance October 16, 2017 at 8:52 AM

    Some great tips here. I found the hail capitalizer particularly interesting. At some point in the next couple of years I’m going to need a new car. I learned about “salvaged title” cars yesterday and am getting curious if this is a good way to “car hack.”

    1. J. Money October 16, 2017 at 11:18 AM

      that one always makes me nervous, but if you can tell *why* it was salvaged and not trying to flip it for profit I’d think it would get the job done :)

  17. Budget Kitty October 16, 2017 at 9:34 AM

    I think I need to teach my kids to keep all their money thrown around their underwear drawer. They’re always ready to spend their cash on candy or silly toys, but we’re trying to teach them the importance of saving and making wise spending choices.

  18. Miguel @ The Rich Miser October 16, 2017 at 10:14 AM

    Great hacks! Someone very close to me has an electronic version of The Store Walk-Arounder: she puts things in her Amazon shopping cart (or wish list) but then does not buy them (Amazon has a “save for later” button that you can click to check out but not buy everything in your shopping cart). She then keeps the saved items there for months until she either does not want them anymore or they drop in price by a lot. Kind of like procrastinating, but in a good way.

    1. J. Money October 16, 2017 at 11:19 AM

      I’ve done that with things before :) And most times I totally forget what was in there and don’t want anymore!

      1. Tonya October 16, 2017 at 10:24 PM

        I have a different version of this…STAY OFF AMAZON COMPLETELY. It is working really well for me.

        1. J. Money October 19, 2017 at 9:20 AM

          Haha – that also does the trick, yes :)

  19. jp October 16, 2017 at 10:17 AM

    A caution on the hail damaged cars: check with your insurance company before buying. Some states/companies will not provide comprehensive coverage (and/or other coverages) for totaled cars. Also some lenders won’t finance a damaged vehicle. Just be sure to double check before purchasing. Otherwise it’s a great way to save some $$$

  20. Krystal @ Simple Finance Mom October 16, 2017 at 10:41 AM

    The Store Walk-Arounder and the Odd Day Avoider definitely give me some inspiration to try those strategies for saving more! The amount of buyer’s guilt I can avoid by this is amazing. (I’m talking to YOU, Target!) And I can see how only spending on even day is just an easy way to reconsider purchases. Impulse buys are the bane of my existence. I think nickel and diming our money away can be just as dangerous as failing to plan or follow through on your plan.

  21. Doug Boraas October 16, 2017 at 10:47 AM

    I really like the money inheritance where one passes on his inheritance with only the div’s, interest, etc. are to be spent and lived on!

  22. Paul @ ABL October 16, 2017 at 11:08 AM

    The coin scatterer sounds like a squirrel burying nuts in the yard. I love it, but I just hope more advanced versions of these strategies (I’ve known people who hide cash in lots of random places) don’t end us losing you lots of money!

    1. J. Money October 16, 2017 at 11:21 AM

      Haha yup…. At least more chance of finding it *inside* of your house vs out in the yard like you’ve heard stories of from back in the day :) (Although as a coin collector and metal detector, finding those hoards are what dreams are made of!!)

  23. Primal Prosperity October 16, 2017 at 11:31 AM

    $2,000 for a purse?!? Whoa… I wouldn’t even pay $200 for a purse! :)

  24. Mr Defined Sight October 16, 2017 at 12:05 PM

    I like rounding up on the budget numbers too. Makes up for small things that I lost the receipts for!

  25. Done by Forty October 16, 2017 at 12:20 PM

    LOVE the store walk arounder. They’re using the endowment effect to their advantage!

  26. James @ Penny Wise Dollar Wiser October 16, 2017 at 2:13 PM

    Some of these are so funny. HAIL YEA – they are!

    Wonder if the coin scattering tricks would work with dollar bills too or are dollar bills too easy to find.

    1. J. Money October 19, 2017 at 9:21 AM

      You should try it and then let us know :)

  27. Dave October 16, 2017 at 3:36 PM

    I can relate to many of these stories. I can especially relate to “the store walk arounder”. I have driven to the store many times and changed my mind at the checkout line. It was normally based on not wanting to spend the money.

  28. Backpacking Princess October 16, 2017 at 3:38 PM

    The Blogesphere inspired me to come up with my next goals (just paid off my main-income-in retirement rental property). I think they will be a big fat cushion of cash and paydown of the remaining mortgage. 2 1/2 years to FIRE, but who’s counting? I make a spreadsheet to show how much I’m paying towards my goals, and writing down the amount is the financial highlight of each month. I keep it in my bill-paying folder; it provides incentive to keep expenses down and keeps me on track.

    1. J. Money October 19, 2017 at 9:23 AM

      Boom! 2 and 1/2 years is so close!!

  29. Bailey @ Becoming Bailey October 16, 2017 at 9:03 PM

    So the store-walkarounder is genius! I guess the online shopping equivalent is putting it my cart and leaving the cart for a few days/a week before I actually check out. The hail damage car is also genius… My hubby and I are *almost* debt free and our next goal (once we’re debt free) is to buy a new (to us) vehicle for cash!

  30. Maven Lin October 16, 2017 at 10:56 PM

    Whenever I get a salary increase, I compute how much is the incremental and put it into something to invest in for the long-term.

    When I moved between companies 2 years ago, I started paying for the downpayment of a pre-selling condominium unit. When I received a considerable salary increase this year, I got all my family members a VUL plan, set to be paid for 10 years.

    This way, I’m minimizing the chances of falling into the lifestyle inflation trap!

    1. J. Money October 19, 2017 at 9:24 AM

      What’s a VUL plan? Some sort of insurance?

  31. Joan Young-Santiago October 17, 2017 at 1:30 AM

    I do the Roundup also but I love Felicia’s suggestion about on odd days having them as no spend days! I will do this!

  32. Mrs. Retire to Roots October 17, 2017 at 11:00 AM

    I love the inheritance rule! What a cool way to preserve capital for future generations and make sure your kids don’t end up blowing a ton of money on useless stuff.

    We have been working on wills/trusts and were joking about putting in an a**hole clause, where if something happened to us while they were still young my sister-in-law would be have the ability to determine if they had turned into jerks and their portion of the inheritance should go to charity. This sounds like a much better and more realistic idea :)

    1. J. Money October 19, 2017 at 9:25 AM

      Hahahhahaa… yes to all of that ;)

  33. Kris October 17, 2017 at 6:32 PM

    Hey that library hack is a great idea. And like the wording on that, “Read Down Your Fine.” Brilliant!! They had a Fine Forgiveness program at my local library earlier this year where they would gladly wipe off your late fees if you brought your book(s) you borrowed from the library and never returned it. I saw an article where one book was returned to the library after it was ‘borrowed’ for almost a 100 years. The grandchild of the borrower returned it to the library and now that book is on display at the library.

    1. J. Money October 19, 2017 at 9:26 AM

      That is too funny, haha.. I like that. (And also must have been a pretty old library! That’s cool!)

  34. Nancy October 18, 2017 at 2:28 AM

    I love the Store Walker. A couple of years ago when I got serious about saving, I started taking pictures of the impulsive things I liked and wanted. If I still wanted it after a few days I could go back for it. I found oddly enough, that having the picture was satisfying, and I’ve never gone back. That alone won’t make me a millionaire, but it feels good knowing I am not adding to the landfill or the Goodwill while saving a few dollars.

    1. J. Money October 19, 2017 at 9:27 AM

      that’s a good idea :)

  35. Laurie@ThreeYear October 18, 2017 at 6:07 AM

    Libby’s story is interesting because we often hear that most inherited wealth doesn’t make it three generations. It’s true that here in New England people tend to be frugal and way less showy about their money. I hope we’ll be able to institute similar rules for our boys and their families one day, and more importantly, have them stick for more than three generations!

  36. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life October 18, 2017 at 1:22 PM

    I shared “The Inheritance Preserver” with SingleMa (you remember her right? Super awesome lady?) and we both have the same question – How did the family enforce this rule from generation to generation? Was there someone with fiduciary responsibility to enforce it? How did they prevent a bad or careless investing error?

    I LOVE this idea. As the first in our family to build wealth where I’m planning to make it generational, I’d be interested in any and all details that they might be willing to share on how this works for them.

    1. Libby October 18, 2017 at 9:27 PM

      Hi Revanche – Congrats on building wealth! This is a long answer.

      There are several things at work here:
      1. Money is only inherited when someone dies and in my family people tend to live until their late 80’s. This means I’ll probably be retired by the time I inherit money and my wild oats will have already been sown ; )
      2. Because most family members inherit when they are much older, they have learned to live life on their steam. Some members are super frugal i.e., wooden spoon for Christmas anyone?
      3. I’ve heard all my life something along the lines of, “do you want to be the person who blows money and then has to face Grandfather X at the pearly gates?”
      4. One trust in existence busts only when the final member of a generation dies. This generation has people who were born in the 20’s and early 30’s and there are still three living members.
      5. We had a family company, which was founded during the Civil War. Only family members and the bank (through trust funds) held stock with dividends paid quarterly. Unfortunately the company went bankrupt after 140 years.
      6. The one exception to getting trust money early is for college. I benefited from a trust that paid 50% of everything on the invoice from the college for a maximum of four years and as long as I was under the age of 25.
      7. There has also been a family culture of avoiding flashy, “nouveau riche” behavior. My mother used to remove the alligators from LaCoste shirts.
      8. Family culture of financial literacy also: My grandfather taught me to read the stock pages when I was 8 or 9. Stock is given as baby presents. It was pounded into our heads to “have money set aside for a rainy day.” I grew up hearing stories about the Depression and WWII. Don’t spend money on cars as they are depreciating assets, etc. But I’ll add that my grandparents had a second home on Nantucket and we grew up living on the water, sailing, and playing tennis at the yacht club.

      1. J. Money October 19, 2017 at 9:30 AM

        Than you for sharing this, Libby! It’s all so damn fascinating!

      2. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life October 21, 2017 at 12:54 PM

        Libby, thanks SO MUCH for coming back to share! I absolutely love it and appreciate your longer answer. If you ever wanted to share more, I’d love to chat with you. My email address is over at my blog. <3

  37. Dave @ Married with Money October 18, 2017 at 3:28 PM

    I love the hail one – mostly because my car got hail-damaged a few years back during a bad, bad hail storm. tons of cars had windows broken, trees were downed, etc. I was driving during it and thankfully was able to get under a bridge relatively quickly before the BIG stuff started hitting.

    My car got ~40 significant dents, but none chipped the paint. Insurance paid up over $1k to fix them, which I pocketed since I don’t plan on selling the car anytime soon. Best decision ever!

    1. J. Money October 19, 2017 at 9:30 AM

      Haha – I would have done the same thing :)

  38. ZJ Thorne October 22, 2017 at 12:42 PM

    I’m super intrigued by the inheritance trick. My father is very ill and I’m the executor. He wants his heirs to use the money responsibly and I am trying to figure out what that means for me. I could use it to pay down debt and have a down-payment for a condo. But if I only used it for actual assets (plus paying down high interest debt, because I’m not a fool), then it could have a potentially greater impact on me in the future. This would force me to save up a down-payment without help… Interesting idea.

  39. Audrey Brown April 18, 2019 at 6:47 PM

    Is that $8,000 or should that be $80,000 saved for child’s college savings?

    1. J. Money April 19, 2019 at 2:28 PM

      The compounding example above was $8,000, but overall yes – $80,000 would be much better banked by the time the kids are off ;)


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