A Handful of Great $$$ Tips From Readers!

Time to dump out the ol’ “reader tips” bucket again!

I swear I learn more from you guys than anyone else in my life, haha… Y’all are too clever! And it’s also nice to have someone else to blame for once if any of the ideas backfire ;) Daddy needs a break every now and then!

Enjoy these great ideas around saving, investing, couponing, gifting, budgeting, and cheering up our spouses like the true financial nerds that we are…

Hope you find something good!


How to hide your cash:

“Just write “casserole” on some freezer tape, stick it on the container, put it in your fridge, and it should be completely safe. Since you know this is code for “cash, a roll” you too will remember where your $ is stashed! ” – Mitchell Walker @ The PouchPlan


How to score free coupons:

“I email and call companies for coupons. I just scored free kcups (44) pack and a 3 dollar coupon for planters nuts. I used to call ten companies a day, now I only do it when I want something out of my budget. Like the ten dollar nuts, because only deluxe nuts are my favorite. You can also request coupons on company’s Facebook pages. I do all 3, been rejected only by one company in the last 7 years. I love the freebies, but even a .50 cent coupon/discount saves.” – Mariann


How to think about market losses:

“I actually use moments like this to savor the loss. Not that I like losing money any more than the next person. But I use market losses like these to desensitize me in a way. The thought process being that the more I see larger losses in my investment portfolio, the more used to it I get and the more likely I’ll shrug off bigger losses during recessions. Stock goes down, comes back up, goes down, comes back up, rinse and repeat.” – CP


How to cheer up your spouse like a nerd:

“I text my wife our numbers when she is having a bad day at work. Little reminders like the mortgage balance just dropped below a milestone, the house will be paid off in x number of days (currently 1,432 or less), or our mutual fund is up by some percent since January. It makes her smile.” — Richard


How to stop chasing ‘the next thing’:

“My theme this year is “Take 1 step back and 2 steps forward” … the purpose is to go back and look at the stuff I do have (the programs, the books, the hobbies, the clothes, etc. etc. etc.) and utilize them or discard them versus constantly moving on to the next thing. And by doing that I expect that my life will jump two steps forward with no ‘chasing the next thing’.” – Mary Ann


How to stay organized:

“I have a single sheet of paper where I list all of my accounts (savings, checking, credit card, CDs, money market, whatever) and the interest rate for each one, and any other fees. It’s a handy one page reference that I can see at a glance if it is time to move my funds. And, I value having things be easy so I don’t chase every 0.01% increase in interest.” – Jane


Great gifts for kids:

“When my son was young, I used to give him a share of stock for Xmas with a matching Xmas ornament: Hershey stock and I had found a Hershey bar ornament, Disney with a Disney ornament, etc. Now when we decorate the tree, he says “oh this is my Hershey stock! Where is it by the way?” And then we have a conversation about the value of holding stock with DRP and not selling it for a depreciating asset like a car :)” – Libby


Great gift for adults!

“So here’s the deal. Last year I brought up that I hate gifts and think it’s silly that we exchange them with my brother and sister in law. We are both well off enough that if we want something we’ll just buy it rather than wait for someone else to get it for us. We agreed that we’ll stop giving gifts. Instead, this year we’re doing a Book and Recipe exchange – bring a book you think others might like, and a recipe, and we’ll get together, swap them around, take what you want, etc. 100% free, 100% fun!” – Dave @ Married with Money


Great gifts for the spouse/coin collector in your life! ;)

“We buy each other precious metals – pure silver or gold coins (.9999) as gifts these days. One: they appreciate over time. Two: they are tangible and actually feel like you own something together, but most importantly, three: we look at these coins as our retirement pocket money.” – Mrs. Dragonfly


How to get your kids to graduate:

“The only thing that I will be assisting my kids is paying for a post secondary education. I will let them know that if they graduate, then they will not need to pay back any money. If they don’t graduate, they will need to pay back every penny, with interest. It pays to be responsible.” – Leo T. Ly


How to stay motivated with $$$:

“I printed out one of those thermometer things that people use to track a fundraiser goal, and fill it in a little each time our net worth goes up. I keep it on my refrigerator (and hide it when people come over!), and we jut recently hit the big 7 figures last year!” – Roxi, “the weird one that lives next to the cemetery”


What to do when you move out of a rental:

“Make sure you take pics when the place is empty the day you’re moving out. This will prove you did no damages. Some landlords will make up damages to avoid returning your deposit. Do this even if the landlord agrees to do a final walk thru, pictures speak 1,000 words or better yet, take a video of every room if possible. Gotta cover your butts.” – Debbie (She also recommends taking pictures/videos right when you move in too!)”


What to do when one budget isn’t enough:

“I run 2 budgets; 1 for normal (employed) spending, and 1 for bare bones (no job, or retire early, or other income source) spending. The bare bones budget is always my backup plan budget and gives me a little security knowing I can survive on way less. It also lays out a path to cutting some current unnecessary spending to help increase my savings rate.” – Brian @ SingleDadMoney


Good good stuff, haha… Y’all will have to let me know if you try any of these and report back :)

I think I’m going to steal the “you don’t graduate, you pay me back all the college tuition” route. Not sure what’s more motivating than that, but hopefully they actually ENJOY learning and being around their peers so it’s never even an issue!

Totally unrelated, I remember my father telling each of us kids growing up that he’d buy us any sports car we wanted if we joined the military like him and his father did. But apparently he needed to up the ante as all three of us ended up going to college to become artists of some sort, haha… Oops. Though something tells me it was more of a $$$ savings technique than a generational legacy one ;)

i see what you did there gif

At any rate, hope these help!

– J$

For more roundups like these, see below (listed in order of publish date, in case it’s easier to find the ones you haven’t read yet):

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  1. [HCF] May 18, 2018 at 5:54 AM

    How to cheer up your spouse like a nerd is inarguably the best of this list. Thanks for sharing :)

    1. J. Money May 18, 2018 at 10:58 AM

      Haha… Agreed. The only thing better would be OUR OWN SPOUSES texting US this stuff! ;)

  2. Kate May 18, 2018 at 6:18 AM

    *Use This Chart to Save $1,000 This Year!*

    I printed the chart I found on this very blog it on 1 January 2018 and put it in my desk drawer and now hide away some £ each Monday morning. I’ve got £382 so far and look forward to having a cool £1K on 1 January 2019.


    1. Jody May 18, 2018 at 8:28 AM

      I am too! I love this chart. I did it half a$$ last year but this year I’m serious about it and have ~$450 put away right now.

    2. J. Money May 18, 2018 at 10:57 AM

      YESS!!! LOVE IT!!! Way to go guys!!

    3. Generous Yiadom May 19, 2018 at 1:01 PM

      My wife and I started using the chart at the beginning of this year to save for vacations…. I am thrilled to announce that we can go on vacation next year cos we will be able to save $2K by the end of the year. Thanks all, especially @J. Money for all the great miracles you work out here.

      1. J. Money May 21, 2018 at 10:33 AM

        So glad to hear it :)

  3. brigid May 18, 2018 at 6:20 AM

    Currently loving the save all your $5 bills game.
    Amazing how fast it adds up, and it’s fun to do.

  4. Mrs. Mad Money Monster | @madmoneymonster May 18, 2018 at 6:41 AM

    These are great tips. I love the freezer idea to stash cash.

    I also need to print one of those thermometer things to track our mortgage balance. It’s too big of a goal to not have a visual progress meter. Maybe I’ll do that today. Sounds like a perfect Friday thing to do…for a nerd. :)

    1. J. Money May 18, 2018 at 11:00 AM

      It does, indeed :)

      (And if you’re REALLY nerdy, you’ll be able to color in a little extra by the end of the weekend!)

    2. Richard May 18, 2018 at 11:25 AM

      instead of a thermometer, we have a photo of Walter’s Wiggles on the trail to Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park. I cut small pieces of post it notes to fill in the trail as the house gets paid off. Its hanging i my office and I can look at it any time! This reminds me. Its time to update it!

      1. J. Money May 18, 2018 at 1:46 PM

        I want to see a pic!!

  5. My Sons Father May 18, 2018 at 6:42 AM

    These are some great tips! I’m totally going to give my kids stock for Christmas this year, what a great idea!

  6. Erik @ The Mastermind Within May 18, 2018 at 7:16 AM

    Regarding market losses, that’s why my time in the cryptocurrency market has been so beneficial.

    20% change in a day? No big deal… makes the stock market’s 1% swings look like baby moves :)

    1. J. Money May 18, 2018 at 11:04 AM

      Haha – I bet it does!

  7. Sean @ Frugal Money Man May 18, 2018 at 7:23 AM

    Love the tips for cheering up your spouse!

    Admittedly, I need to do A LOT better job with communicating with my spouse. I definitely still struggle with separating $$$ from emotions at time, so I will definitely be giving these a try!

    Great share J!

  8. Ms. Frugal Asian Finance May 18, 2018 at 7:47 AM

    Haha fun tips! I consider myself to be extremely frugal, but I still enjoy reading frugal tips from other people hehe.

    I really liked the one about how to cheer your spouse up with the numbers. It’s so real and practical. Mr. FAF usually cheers me up by talking about how we will travel the world one day to Europe and Asia. And it works!

  9. Paul May 18, 2018 at 8:54 AM

    The Dawson wagging his finger at the end adds instant credibility to all of these.

    I wonder if I could trick my kids into signing a “legal document” requiring payback for not graduating. I could include an amortization table and everything. Might be worth it…I’d have to look it up but does anyone know if my kids 529 accounts legally become theirs at 18? I don’t think they do but I could be wrong.

    1. J. Money May 18, 2018 at 11:08 AM

      I’m pretty sure the “owner” of the account is always you? But you can make the beneficiaries whoever you want? (and even change them over the years?) I’d have to look up, but that was my understanding when I first set ours up years ago…

    2. GJ May 18, 2018 at 4:27 PM

      No, it doesn’t automatically become theirs; you can also choose to transfer it to the benefit of another child or even yourself.

      We also plan to pay for all of or as much of our kids’ college education as possible but want to make sure it is going toward an actual degree, not just messing around. We have 529 accounts for each kid but intend to have them take out the full balance of student loans in their own names so they have some skin in the game and incentive to finish. Upon graduation, we will use the 529s to pay the loans.

      Yes, it will cost slightly more in accrued interest for those few years, but it makes contracts, etc. a non-issue (especially if everything goes up in flames! can you imagine the drama/costs of taking your kid to court?).

      1. J. Money May 21, 2018 at 10:32 AM

        Very interesting idea!

  10. brian @ singledadmoney May 18, 2018 at 10:03 AM

    Nice – Thanks for the mention on my dueling banjos, I mean budgets!!! Now y’all will have Dueling Banjos from Deliverance stuck in your head (hopefully while you’re stuck in a meeting or walking through a grocery store) Happy Friday folks!

    1. abails May 19, 2018 at 1:50 AM

      Thank you for the dueling budgets! We’ve gone thru job loss, and it makes complete sense to have the “worst case scenario” handy. You don’t have to live without a Sling TV, but if the ish hits the fan, you know straight where to go to cut the spending immediately!

  11. Leo T. Ly May 18, 2018 at 10:04 AM

    Thanks for the shoutout J$.

    As a landlord, I think I can do the opposite of taking videos before the tenant moves in. This way, when they move out and we can do a walkthrough, I will have proof if the tenant damaged my property. This is a great tip for both landlords and tenants.

    1. J. Money May 18, 2018 at 11:09 AM

      OH yeah – very good idea!

    2. CP May 22, 2018 at 8:08 PM

      I tend to do the reverse for tenant move-ins and move-outs. I do the move-in walkthrough with the tenant and take a picture of everything they note and have them sign it that day and take it with me. Usually I give them a week to add damage items to the list with a requirement that they describe the damage and email me a pic. After that week I email them back a .pdf of the signed move-in inspection sheet with every damage item numbered (including anything they added) with a corresponding numbered pic. Helps with any fuzzy memories when they move out and there’s a dated email with the final list/pics. Move out is the same except it’s up to them whether they attend.

  12. Mitchell@thepouchplan May 18, 2018 at 10:46 AM

    Great list!! Love the ideas about the nice numbers to brighten the day of the spouse and the book and recipe exchange ideas. Too late for me to charge the kids for college, but we got through 5 graduations with no debt!

    1. J. Money May 18, 2018 at 11:09 AM

      Parent of the year, right there :)

  13. Jay May 18, 2018 at 11:27 AM

    I gotta get me one of those thermometer fundraiser trackers to track to nw goals. Little free motivation and outside the box.

  14. Richard May 18, 2018 at 12:16 PM

    Glad everyone like the idea of cheering up the spouse with numbers. Just texted the wife. Happy Friday – 1,262 days or less until the house is paid off! :-)

    Love the stock idea, but the kid is 26. I think the grand kid gets a share of Disney for Christmas! I also like the dual budget idea. It would be good to show the wife that if the wheels come off the bus, we have time to fix it.

    1. J. Money May 18, 2018 at 1:45 PM

      Lucky wife!! :)

  15. lisa May 20, 2018 at 6:28 AM

    I recently fought the landlord for our son’s off-campus apartment and won. Pictures were worth 1000 words and I even used the words in their contract against them. The exorbitant cleaning charge had to be approved by the student before getting charged for it. Uh, nope, didn’t approve it. So, he got all of his security deposit and cleaning fee refunded.

    Also, I negotiated a higher awards package for our son for college. I made an appt with the adviser and said I didn’t like the awards package he was given- it should be more. That conversation netted him an extra $5000.

    1. J. Money May 21, 2018 at 10:33 AM

      GO MOM!!!