Last week I asked y’all what hacks you’re doing right now to reach FIRE faster, and your answers were just as creative as they were helpful ;)
Since not everyone scans the comments or reads my inbox though (at least I hope you can’t scan my
secrets inbox?!), I wanted to highlight some of my favorite tips here in case you’re looking to speed up the process too….
This stuff doesn’t happen overnight, but there are definitely things we can do to amplify things! And oftentimes with minimal effort!
Here were my favorite hacks below…
[And PS: the winners of the Work Optional book before I forget are Dylan R and Jessy! Congrats guys, hope it helps! Thx again to Tanja for passing us a couple copies!]
The Uniform Hack
“I have been sticking to a work “uniform”. Wearing the same type of outfit each day saves me so much money because I don’t feel the need to buy something new when I walk by it in the store. It won’t match my “outfit” anyways! This is also a huge savings in time. No fooling around each morning to pick out clothes! Been going strong for 3 years now, and my clothes are still great. Three years of no new clothes for me.” – Amber
The Punishment Hack
“My one hack that I’m doing is sort of a game I play. You see, I’m obsessed with checking my accounts… All the time. So, I decided to “punish myself” by paying a “fine” every time I open any of my savings apps. No set amount, but it has to be added to whatever account I was looking at. Some days I am adding a lot to those accounts. It’s easy to do since all of the apps are on my home screen on the phone. (I love to play games, this is a win-win for me).” – Karen
The Weather Hack
“Using an app called ‘If this then that‘- it moves money from my spending account to my savings account when events such as a certain time, weather pattern or any other event I like occurs. Moving a small amount such as $1.50 every morning at 1:00am is not noticeable and has netted me an extra $400 in savings so far!” – Jarred
The Free Yoga Hack
“I work trade at a yoga studio (even before frugalwoods posted about her doing the same thing) and have never paid for a sweat session. I started in 2013. The studio’s annual membership is $1400/year so I’ve saved $8400!” – JW
The Job Spotter Hack
“My current favorite hack is making a little money on the side with the Job Spotter app, by Indeed.com. You get paid to take photos of ‘help wanted’ and other hiring signs in store windows, which Indeed then posts online to make its job listings more comprehensive. Great to combine with walking around your neighborhood or exploring new areas to score more sign-spottings. I made $205 in my first month and now averaging $60 per month since. I use the Amazon credit payments for giftcards with Airbnb, Uber, Starbucks, Chipotle and more!”
– Michelle @ FrugalityandFreedom.com
The Home Phone Hack
“The bigger issue for us was dependable phone service, since our cell phones don’t pick up very well at our house. After much research and YouTube video reviews, we ended up getting a Google Voice Phone# for free. Then purchased an ObiHai device on Amazon to convert the Google Voice calls to existing cordless handset phones we already had. All in all we are pleased with our savings from this transition.” – Eric
The Amazon Prime Cutting Hack (*gasp!*)
“My wife and I have decided to ‘cut the cord’ with Amazon Prime in 2019!! It was extremely difficult to do but in the long run we know this is going to save us hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. We now have to physically drive to a store to buy things that we instead of it being shipped directly to our doorstep by just the click of a button.
Our January spending for the past 4 years from Prime is shown below:
- 2016 – $73
- 2017 – $77
- 2018 – $115
- 2019 – $0
So far, so good! I can start to smell the FIRE burn!” – David
The Publix Hack
“Most grocery stores including Publix will refund everything… no questions asked, as long as it was purchased there. When you buy extra boxes or cans for holidays or just thinking you may need it, bring it back. If produce spoils too quick … bring it back. Saves me at least 15% on my groceries.”- Jim
The Bedroom Hack
“When my son moved from LA to Chicago I started to Airbnb his room and another spare bed and bath. I have gone, in 5 years, from $50 a night to $69 – $72 a night in pricing (demand pricing). I started making a few hundred bucks a month to now making an average of $3000 a month ($4500 in January including one 41 day stay) and $1900 in February. By going the extra mile for guests, I have gotten great reviews and my occupancy rate has steadily increased so I am solidly booked. I invested the earnings in tech stocks, like Netflix, Zendesk, Okta, Salesforce, and received a 30 percent return. I now have no mortgage and am building a high end studio in my garage to continue the rental opportunities!” – Jean Young
The Exchange-Before-It-Dies Hack
“One habit that I’m training myself to adopt is to not let things become completely broken/threadbare/unusable before I exchange it. I love to have a very low cost per use, however the costs of repairs, time waiting for things to be fixed or for the replacements to arrive has cost me more in the long run in money, time, and unnecessary stress. So instead of continuing to drive my old car until the wheels fell off, I upgraded to a decent, safe used car and sold the old one to someone who fixes cars for fun. Instead of wearing clothing until they are so worn out that they rip while I’m at work, I’ve gotten a new pair of pants when they are on sale. The other advantage of doing things this way is that I can do my research and plan for discounts in a relaxed way, instead of settling for or buying the first available replacement because I’ve put myself in a difficult situation.” – Elora
The Bill Cutting Hack
“For every bill I cut back, I adjust my work’s direct deposit to put that bill into savings. I am up to six hundred a month hitting my savings account. When it hits six months emergency fund, I take out half and invest it somewhere – The last couple of years, this has been for the major maintenance my house needs. The bills I cut back have paid for maintenance that could have really hurt my bottom line. When I don’t have that maintenance, I will research where to put it next :D” – SL
The No Physical Stores Hack
“I stopped shopping in all physical stores other than the grocery store and Costco. By avoiding TJ Max, Macy’s and all of those other stores I simply don’t spend any money on stuff I really don’t need. I cleaned out our closets first and reminded myself just how much excess we already have. I was never a big shopper but this probably saves us a few hundred per year and more importantly I’m not wasting my time in those places!” – OFG
The “Why I can’t go out to lunch with you” Hack
“My biggest hack has been meal planning AND including my phrase for why I can’t go out to lunch with my coworkers. “Sorry, I have to meet the deadline for XYZ”, “I’m really into this article,” “Bread is the devil!” are some of my favorites. This method has reduced by monthly “dining out” costs from about $400 to $60-70 in the past 6 months. Unfortunately, my attempts to apply it to coffee runs have failed, so still room for improvement!” – Lexee
The Clinical Study Hack
“Clinical Research Studies! I learned about them from another FIRE enthusiast in my city. I look for the clinical trials that pay well but don’t take up too many of my working days. There’s a 30 day waiting period after each study so even if you push, you can only fit 5-6 in per year. But at $3K average per study that’s plenty! My plan is to bring in an extra $12K-$15K per year, and 100% of that money goes toward moving the needle that much closer to Freedom. (I also don’t want to get used to living on the money in case it’s not an option in the future) If anyone else is interested, you can check out http://jalr.org/. They have a pretty comprehensive list of clinics for each state. Also get ready for some crazy comments from your friends! :)” – Travis
The Netflix Hack
“I pay for a month of Netflix, download as much as I can and then watch downloads throughout the following months with no subscription. I started this August 2018, and I’ve only paid the $9 twice so I have saved myself $36 thus far.” – L
The Weekly Savings Hack
(aka The 52-Week Money Challenge)
“I have a savings account for weekly savings. Every week I save that amount of money. For example on January 1st I throw in $1. January 8th I throw in $2. By the end of the year I’m only throwing in $52 and Ive saved almost $1400. It’s easier to do when you’re in the service industry and most of your income comes from tips.”
The Gratitude Hack
“My best FIRE hack? Gratitude. I know that sounds flippant but it’s for real. I got some perspective traveling to a few developing countries and seeing first hand the problems they face on a daily basis. (No shoes, no safe housing, etc.) Now I can be SO grateful for every little thing, even when things go wrong I still have it so great. We are living on one income ($50k) and banking the other, because it’s ENOUGH. We cut things like cable (but still have Netflix) and expensive phone plans (but kept Republic) and we’re still living better than 99% of the world’s population.” – Samantha
Thanks for sharing, everyone!
Keep passing them over as you stumble across new ones! They’re fun to read about even if we’re too chicken to try some of them ;)
UPDATE: Here’s a spreadsheet of all these hacks if you want to add to it or organize over time: Fire Hacks (Excel). A reader just sent it to me so thought I’d pass forward in case you like the idea :)
Links to Amazon above are affiliate links
Killer resources and apps:
- Best Budget Templates & Spreadsheets (FREE)— The best free budget templates from around the community! Including the ones I use :)
- Personal Capital* (FREE) — A great app to track your investments and net worth. You can see an in-depth review we did here from a millionaire who checks it daily 😂
- You Need a Budget (YNAB)* (FREE TRIAL, then $14.99/mo or $98.99/year) — One of the BEST budgeting methods in the space, with new users saving $600 on avg their first two months, and more than $6,000 over their first year! Check out my friend Vic’s review of YNAB here that went on to completely change his finances 💪
- Digit (FREE 6 mo. Trial, then $5/mo) — This is one of my favorite apps for automatically saving money, and I even came on board as an advisor I believed in them so much! You can see my full review on Digit here.
- Acorns* ($3-$5/mo) – Similar to Digit, this app helps you automatically INVEST money by rounding up all your transactions to the nearest dollar and then investing it right away for you. My full review of Acorns can be found here.
- Honey (FREE) — By far my favorite coupon service out there! Click the Honey button any time you're about to buy something online, and BOOM - any discounts it finds will be automatically applied at checkout. You can see my write up on them here.
- Credit Karma* (FREE) — An easy way to check and monitor your credit score AND report! See my full review of these guys here.
- My Favorite Blogs + Books < -- Click here to see all my other recommendations!