9 More Financial Hacks to Put In Your Pocket

Alright, so last week we featured a ton of financial tips and motivation from our *readers* of the blog here, so today I thought we’d share a handful of tricks from the *bloggers* in our space.  Many of which I’ll be hanging out with today and over the next few days at our yearly FinCon conference, so if you’d like me to personally thank any of them for you just shout! ;)

(And btw, if I’m slow to respond to any of you for the rest of the week, now you’ll know why… Got lots of hanging and drinking and nerdy $$$ talking to do!)

Here are the last of all the tips I’ve been saving over the months:


How To Not Blow Your Windfall

Any time you get a new windfall (bonus check hits, you have a great month of sales or another one time windfall), put that money into a 3 month CD.

This is boring. The reason why you’re doing this is to allow your dopamine levels to settle at its normal baseline (you’ll have a temporary spike after receiving the windfall). We’ve found that 90 days is enough time to allow your body to reset (get used to the money).

If you spend a single cent of the windfall within the first 90 days it usually leads to “buyers remorse” which is just another way of saying regretful purchases. We’ve deployed this tactic many times and continue to do so despite being financially independent (no one likes regretting purchases).

— The Wall Street Playboys // How to Avoid Negative Life Style Inflation


How To Push Your Kids To Self-Improvement

My dad sometimes comes up with creative ways to push me towards self-improvement. His most recent concoction is what he fondly calls, “Dad’s Investment Reading Club.” He has put forth this offer to both my brother-in-law and me.

Here are the terms:

– We can read 4 specific investing books for a reward/bribe of $100 per book.
– We must provide a 2 page “book report” for each book read.
– The funds must be invested in a Roth IRA for long-term savings
– After finishing all 4 books, we get a bonus/bribe of $100, and have the option to read 5 more books for $100/book.
– In total, we have the option to read 9 books about investing for a total of $1,000. The deadline is December 31st, 2017.

So essentially, my dad is bribing us to read books of his choosing about investing, and I think it’s a brilliant idea for all involved.

— Matt Spillar // How My Dad Finally Got Me to Read Investing Books


How To Not Be Stupid(er)

I leave one account as my Stupid Mistakes Fund, and every month I just put in a small amount into that account. It covers me for when I do something dumb like get a parking ticket. I remember learning this from Ramit Sethi way back in the day.

The Financial Panther


How to Better Pay Your Medical Bills

Don’t pay medical bills with credit cards! Most medical providers don’t charge you interest, and they’re usually very willing to work out payment plans with you.

Christine Luken


How To Save Money Shopping (And Piss Off Store Employees)

Well, I’m famous for going “shopping,” filling my cart, trying on clothes, and leaving the cart in a random aisle before walking out of the store. Yes, I know this is cruel to the kind workers in Target (if I’m still in the clothes section I put them back) but I can’t help myself!!

I have a rule that if I didn’t know that it existed and was needed 5 minutes before I picked it up, then why do I feel I need it now?? It takes about 30 minutes to talk myself off the ledge, and when I do I hightail it out of there so the clothes don’t chase me down.

Miss Mazuma


How To Really Afford Something

If I’m going to start getting a massage once a month, I won’t consider myself able to ‘afford it’ until I can build both the cost of the massage and match that with an additional contribution to my savings, into my budget.

Stefanie O’Connell


How To Pay Less For College

For the last 18 years, my credit card rewards have funded a 529 college saving account. The balance is now over $36K, enough to fund over a year at the average school. It adds up fast.

Joe Taxpayer


How to Save For Emergencies and Vacations
(And Where Do You Park Your Car?)

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!

Barnabas @ The Dad Wallet


How to Keep Your Inheritance From Going to Jerks ;)

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 :)

— Mrs. Retire to Roots


And that’s the end of my tips hoarding! I’ll start saving them all up again to dish out another round in a few months… If you missed any of the other articles in the series, you can find them here:

Come find me if you’re at FinCon this week!!

all the single ladies

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  1. Mrs. Adventure Rich October 25, 2017 at 5:12 AM

    Haha- I love the last one! A will and trust are incredibly helpful to make sure your wishes are granted!

    See you in Dallas!

    1. J. Money October 25, 2017 at 5:32 AM

      You know it!

  2. Ms99to1percent October 25, 2017 at 6:16 AM

    Can Matt Spillar’s dad adopt me please? I would like to get paid $1,000 every couple of months to read PF books that I would have read for free anyway:-)

    Ok J, enjoy FinCon and have fun for the rest of us

    1. J. Money October 25, 2017 at 6:53 AM

      Right??? SUCH a great idea.

    2. Jason@WinningPersonalFinance October 25, 2017 at 8:06 AM

      Totally agree. Love the idea of paying your kids to learn what you want them to learn. Plus the money is going into a Roth! This is certenly in my parenting to do list now. What a great investment.

    3. Rachel October 25, 2017 at 12:06 PM

      Yeah, I sent that to my mother right quick!

  3. Ember @ An Intentional Lifestyle October 25, 2017 at 6:25 AM

    Pretty sure I’m going to steal the books for $100 idea when my kids are older. That’s brilliant! I love reading tips like these ! Hope y’all are enjoying FinCon!!

    1. J. Money October 25, 2017 at 6:55 AM

      Same here :) Though first, getting them to learn how to *read* haha….

    2. Mr. Freaky Frugal October 25, 2017 at 7:34 AM

      Yep, that’s a great idea and I wish I thought of it when my sons were young. I did teach them financial stuff and they’re doing great, but bribing them to read various financial books is brilliant!

  4. Ms. Frugal Asian Finance October 25, 2017 at 6:37 AM

    Ahhh I love the kid self-improvement tip! I have to be honest and say that I don’t read a lot of books. I am a big fan of short articles and blog posts. I used to read books when they were required in college and grad school. I haven’t really read a book in full in a while.

    I definitely want our son to read more. One of the first books I want him to read is “The Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey (I actually listened to the audio version). I’ll need to implement this payment tip. Awesome!

  5. J. Money October 25, 2017 at 6:58 AM

    Maybe we’ll have to get Matt’s dad to incorporate a program for other adults out there, haha… Maybe a fintech company would sponsor it? :)

  6. Leah October 25, 2017 at 8:27 AM

    I am so glad I am not the only one that uses Miss Mazuma’s shopping method. My mom gets so irritated at me because I will have a cart full of clothes, try them all on, love about half of them and then slowly put them all back before we leave the store. There have been times I have been in the checkout line, gave the item to the cashier and told them I changed my mind and left. I have never regretted not buying any of those items, though.

    1. Rachel October 25, 2017 at 12:08 PM

      As a former Target employee, I thank you for your effort to return them to where you got them from!

  7. Leo T. Ly October 25, 2017 at 8:33 AM

    Bribing kids to improve themselves, that’s pretty interesting. I think that’s probably a great investment in itself. If the kids learned how to make money for themselves, you’d lower the chances for them to come and ask you for money later in life. I am going to keep this one in my back pocket till my kids grow up.

  8. Balanced Dividends October 25, 2017 at 8:38 AM

    A number of great suggestions.

    I liked number one the most. Perhaps common from a knowledge perspective, but nearly uncommon from a behavior or actual execution perspective.

    Utilizing credit card cash back / rewards is also interesting. Admittedly, we usually apply ours toward a vacation or semi-long-term goal (instead of investing it).

    1. J. Money October 30, 2017 at 9:36 AM

      Yeah – it’s HARD to sit still on loads of money when everything inside of you tells you to go spend it!! Even if it’s spending it on *investments* like most of us would want to do asap.

  9. The Grounded Engineer October 25, 2017 at 8:48 AM

    Wow – credit card rewards can be used to fund a 529 savings plan? I need to investigate that and see what type of credit card would be the best for this. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Joe October 25, 2017 at 9:18 AM

    I like the bribing to read trick. Our kid has to read a book whenever he spend 30 minutes on the tablet. :)
    The last one is really good too. Hopefully, my kid don’t turn into a jerk, but you never know…

    1. J. Money October 30, 2017 at 9:36 AM

      Hah! That’s a good one too!

  11. Miss Mazuma October 25, 2017 at 9:20 AM

    Thanks for the mention!! I’ve worked retail and hate people like me. ;) Perhaps my family needs an asshole clause for
    Me?! Hysterical (and unfortunately needed in some cases)…

    Matts dad is a rockstar. I created a similar plan for my niece and nephews called the Aunty Fund. I’ll get them the books but they have to read them to get bonus money. Of course, they are a bit on the young side so I am still waiting to see how it will turn out. Fingers crossed it will be as successful as Matt’s dads program!!

    1. J. Money October 30, 2017 at 9:37 AM

      I like it :) And even more MEETING YOU THE OTHER DAY!! You are even more fabulous in person!!

  12. Jason@Simple Man Money October 25, 2017 at 9:44 AM

    These are great tips, but what I like even better is I now have a few new blogs to read! Thanks for passing these along.

  13. Dave October 25, 2017 at 10:12 AM

    Great list of tips that cover a wide range of hacks. The idea to put a windfall into a 3-month CD is an interesting plan. I agree that it freezes up the money long enough for most of the excitement to wear off. Three months should be enough time for emotions to settle down and create a prudent plan for the windfall.

  14. Dave @ Married with Money October 25, 2017 at 10:17 AM

    I love these! I’ll have to send the book report one to my brother to keep in mind as his daughters grow up. Great way to give them a bit of money and be financially savvy at the same time!

  15. Brian October 25, 2017 at 10:40 AM

    I think I’m going to borrow Matt Spillar dad’s idea for my kids. :) Enjoy FinCon!

  16. Hayes @ Absolute Budget October 25, 2017 at 7:31 PM

    I really like the idea of paying your kids off for their self imporvment. I wrote that one down in my notes for when I have my own children one day. I’d like to compile those notes one day and publish them to my blog.
    The how to really afford something is a very good one as well and practices great self discipline.
    Putting credit card rewards towards a 529 is such an awesome idea! I can’t wait to start one of these for my kids and do the $365 a year until their 18 and just watch it grow!

    1. J. Money October 30, 2017 at 9:39 AM

      Yes! Publish away all those notes so we can all see and learn from them too!

  17. O October 25, 2017 at 10:56 PM

    I have to disagree completely with the advice given to not use your credit cards for medical bills. I think the idea behind that advice is, if you can’t pay it, THEN don’t charge it because you can probably negotiate the cost lower or make it more spread out. Which is definitely a valid point.

    However, I have found that by using my credit card exclusively for every single copay, prescription, etc. (which I could otherwise be paying via check, as I used to) I have made hundreds back in the form of cash back, over the past few years. So if you CAN afford the expenses, and you have rewards points of some sort on your credit card? USE IT FOR EEEEVERYTHING!!! And then pay it off in full every month, or else.

    (Disclaimer: Not so useful if you don’t have medical bills in the first place, either. In my case, I have been paying a $15/week copay for my allergy shots, which I am definitely not thrilled about, but this makes the expense a bit more bearable.)

    1. Adam October 26, 2017 at 9:21 AM

      So much this. Credit card rewards are a lovely silver lining to necessary expenses. When my wife started at her job and set up an HSA, her boss straight-up advised her to pay expenses with a rewards card and then transfer money out from the HSA to cover that part of the bill.

    2. Lisa O October 26, 2017 at 9:35 AM

      Not only do you get rewards $ for those bills. You also have a really nice accounting system that does all the work for ya.

    3. Miguel @ The Rich Miser October 26, 2017 at 2:37 PM

      I’d agree. On the one hand, it’s clearly better to pay over time with a no-interest payment plan than to finance it with a credit card at usurious interest. However, I agree that, if you have the money, it’s probably better to use a rewards credit card than to ask for a payment plan you don’t really need.

      I guess it depends on which is better for you: (1) pay with a rewards credit card and get ~2% back, or (2) pay over time with checks and get zero back. I’d usually choose the credit card rewards.

    4. J. Money October 30, 2017 at 9:41 AM

      All good points y’all, thx for chiming in!

  18. Matt Spillar October 26, 2017 at 8:58 AM

    Thanks for the shoutout J! My dad was very proud of himself that his idea is getting so many comments haha. The “bribing for reading” idea has really worked out well for all involved, it has helped light a fire under me to read difficult books and he gets the peace of mind of seeing his kids learning essential skills for long-term financial success. The rest of these were great tips as well. Have a great time at FinCon!

    1. Krystal @ Simple Finance Mom October 26, 2017 at 11:55 AM

      That is seriously GENIUS! My girls are about to have a list to work on as soon as they hit high school years….I would love to see a list of some of those books!

  19. John Miller October 26, 2017 at 6:24 PM

    Bribing your kids to read more kids is definitely an interesting idea! Will be sure to try that one ;)

  20. Sean Issac October 28, 2017 at 7:48 PM

    I really love Matt Spillar dad’s idea! Thanks so much for sharing these tips. This is my first visit to this blog and I already have bookmarked it. I would love to see some reviews on personal finance mobile apps like Bill Karma, Credit Karma, Clarity, etc. I have been seeing ads on TV but I am unsure if these app are any useful for someone like me. I am about to retire so I am looking for ways to passively generate income.

    1. J. Money October 30, 2017 at 9:45 AM

      Glad you’re enjoying it so far! We do app reviews every now and then, but we don’t get into them as much as other blogs do just because I tend to only share stuff I love and use myself, and I don’t use many apps.

      That being said, you can see a list of all the products I recommend here (https://budgetsaresexy.com/recommend/), and then those we’ve reviewed on my other site here (http://rockstarfinance.com/reviews/). And actually, I’ll be doing a roundup of the latest apps coming out from our financial conference over the weekend, so look for that this week!

  21. Golden Life October 29, 2017 at 11:21 AM

    I loved this one about hiding money in a car :D ahaah.. good advices!!!

  22. ZJ Thorne November 13, 2017 at 8:55 PM

    I’m anticipating an inheritance soon and am thinking of parking it in my regular savings for 6 months (minus paying down CC debt) rather than using a CD. Dad wants me to use it responsibly to buy assets and pay off debts. Depending on the size, having it liquid should be helpful since I’m in the market for a small condo.

    1. J. Money November 14, 2017 at 9:34 AM

      I love it! Esp the the paying off CC debt right away :)