6 more $$$ hacks!

Here are a bunch more hacks to add to that FIRE Spreadsheet ;)

I was going to wait until I had a little more saved up, but some of these were just way too good to be hidden for long! Haha…

Tips don’t do anyone good just sitting in the inbox :)

Hope you find something new to try!


The Landfill Trigger

Here’s a little flip to the financial empowerment game. Last year I walked in to a Fred Meyer department store and looked out over a sea of dresses, shoes, belts, hats, bathing suits, appliances, lawn furniture, outdoor games… you get the picture. And suddenly, I realized that it was all destined for a landfill eventually. All. Of. It. And just like that, I didn’t want to buy anything. – Pamela VanDeursen


The “Impulse Tax” Fund

I created a new account at my credit union called my ‘Impulse Tax’ fund. Anytime I’m tempted to spend money impulsively, I move that exact amount over from my checking account to the Impulse Tax account, so I feel like I really did spend the money–yet I don’t have the buyer’s remorse feeling over unnecessary or regretted purchases later. At the same time, I also try to brainstorm at least one or two other options of how I could still get that same item later for free or at least heavily discounted, so I don’t feel like I’m depriving myself either.

Case in point: today How to Train Your Dragon 3 came out to digital platforms, and I was immediately tempted to buy it for $19.99. So I moved that money immediately over to my Impulse Tax account and realized that I could probably watch it for free through our local library or see if someone else already owned it that I could borrow it from, or lastly, just rent it instead of purchasing it, and save myself $15 in the process. – Rachael


The Love Letter

I’ve been writing a “Love Letter” to my wife every year for the past 5 years. I update it every year-end, when I update all of our “numbers”. I print out all of our updated password stuff, attach an updated net worth statement, and update all of our contacts (insurance agent, etc). She keeps it in an envelope “just in case”. It gives me peace of mind to know she’ll be alright. – Fritz @ The Retirement Manifesto

[For a similar idea, see our post on The ICE Binder – a preformatted “love letter” with all the fill-in-the-blanks you need if you’d rather not spend the time building something from scratch :)]


The “Not Spending Money Unless Other People
Are Involved” Trick

I noticed about myself that though there are several purchases I’ve regretted making, I don’t think I regretted any of the purchases I made that involved other people. I prefer experiences to things, and the best experiences are social connections. (Sounds funny to say, coming from a major introvert like myself, but I do prefer to do things with others rather than alone.)

So right there I realized I could cut out a lot of unnecessary spending simply by deciding not to spend money unless other people were involved. Instead of grabbing a specialty coffee on the way to work on Mondays just because it’s on sale and tastes good and it’s my habit and I ‘deserve it’…. I decided I’d make it more of a treat by only purchasing it when I walk there with my family, or if I’m meeting a friend for coffee, or whatever. I make it a social bonding time first, and then the money spent means something. It’s attached to my relationships, not just a habit that is mindless at best, and maybe not so healthy at worst. – Rachael


The (Negative) Net Worth “Mileage” Motivator

(In response to our post on visualizing your money by measuring how far it could take you if you were to line it all up in a straight line from your home, miles-wise ;) For example, I could make it all the way to York, PA from the DC area!)

At first I was all disappointed to find yet another fun net worth trick I can’t do until I’m out of the negatives (sometime next year) but then I realized: just use the absolute value of my net worth, measure a distance starting from home, and see where I’m “coming home from”.

If net worth zero is home, last month I was at my favorite pizza place. I guess that’s sort of like bringing home the bacon… bringing home the pizza!


The (Non) Bills Breaker

I’ve said NO to breaking $20 bills for small, random purchases. If I don’t have a $5, then I won’t buy it. – Becky


Got any of your own tricks you haven’t shared with us yet?! Stop holding back!

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  1. Max Out of Pocket May 9, 2019 at 6:59 AM

    My wife has been working a side gig to pick up some new skills she is interested in. She makes about $11/hour since she is brand new to the field. I annoyingly always equate our purchases to how many hours she would have to spend at the side gig to fund the purchase. Happy Hour Friday night, 2.5 hours. A really fancy knife we just bought, 10.5 hours (it is pretty nice). I actually start to annoy myself with it, but it is a good way to look at things. Cheers!

    Max OOP.

    1. J. Money May 9, 2019 at 2:30 PM

      Maybe you’ll be saving a lot of hours now that you have that knife? ;)

  2. Jamie May 9, 2019 at 7:08 AM

    This is me all the time! Any gift I ask for is for my hair, nails, or massage/facial. I don’t need any more “stuff”! And when it comes time to get a haircut or I want a nice spa day I always have a gift certificate in reserve

    1. J. Money May 9, 2019 at 2:33 PM

      Love it :)

  3. COD May 9, 2019 at 8:07 AM

    When I get my monthly expense reimbursement check from my employer instead of depositing it into checking to replace the money I spent on work-related stuff, I put it in savings.

    1. J. Money May 9, 2019 at 2:34 PM

      Good one!

      Forces you to live on even less too which is never a bad thing :)

  4. Joe May 9, 2019 at 10:03 AM

    The “Not Spending Money Unless Other People Are Involved” Trick is really good.
    It forces you to be more social. I’d exempt cloth shopping from this trick, though. I don’t want to go shopping with my wife… :)

    1. J. Money May 9, 2019 at 2:39 PM

      Haha… How about lingerie shopping?! ;)

  5. Becky May 9, 2019 at 10:52 AM

    This has really been working for me. I get paid bi-weekly and I have my budget set up that way too. When I get paid, I put everything I am paying out of that paycheck (savings, bills, debt payments- we’ll be free of this in less than a year) and essentially “zero” it out. I also take out a small amount of cash to keep and use until the next paycheck in two weeks. With the cash, I might buy coffee and treats or a weekend lunch with my husband, or maybe some plants. If I run out of the cash, I don’t replenish it until the next payday. So far it is working well. Love all the tips and hacks on here!

    1. J. Money May 9, 2019 at 2:36 PM

      You should – one of those tips is yours! :)

      What type of plants do you get?

  6. Paul Kim May 9, 2019 at 1:02 PM

    I’ve been doing the “Impulse Tax” fund for 2 years now. Really cool to see it listed here.

    I buy a lot of things on impulse – strolling downtown “oh let’s get a $12 ice cream bowl. Let’s get this candle. Let’s get these random organic snacks for later.”

    Anytime I’m about to make an impulse purchase I just transfer it into a separate account I have. I think I’ll be calling it my impulse tax fund now :)

    1. J. Money May 9, 2019 at 2:36 PM

      Always more fun when you have a name for things :)

  7. Jessy May 9, 2019 at 2:01 PM

    Impulse Tax: This is a great idea. Not only do you feel like you have spent the money, you realize how much better it is having it than spending it!

    1. J. Money May 9, 2019 at 2:37 PM

      Yup! And cash is almost better than ANYTHING! ;)

  8. Becky May 10, 2019 at 9:19 AM

    Yes I was so happy you included my tip! That’s awesome! I am a sucker for plants every spring. I try to get some perennials every year (I already got a purple coral bell and some moss) and not too many annuals for my flower pots. I’m also doing a small vegtable garden. Thanks for asking :)

    1. J. Money May 10, 2019 at 9:56 AM

      Very cool :) I only have a few little plants in our house that I’m pretty proud of keeping alive (one for 8 years now!) so I’m slowly getting more appreciative of them, haha… Always love seeing them at other peoples’ houses though.