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…
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.
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.
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!”)
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
(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!!