New Book (and Giveaway): “Work Optional” by Tanja Hester of

What up what up!

Another new $$$ book just hit the shelves today!

This one’s called “Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way” and comes way of Tanja Hester of the popular FIRE blog,

It’s been getting some mixed reviews, but considering she retired early at 38 and is now living The Good Life, chances are there are some solid tips in it ;) So if you enjoy her blog or all things FIRE-related, be sure to give it some consideration!

Before we get more into it though, let me announce the winner of last week’s “Financial Freedom” book giveaway real quick…. And the lucky winner who’ll be receiving a free copy of that one is Blair P! Congrats, man! Let me know when you hit the “I Quit” button! ;)

Alright, here’s more on Work Optional from Amazon:

In today’s work culture, we’re expected to hustle around the clock. But what if you could escape the traditional path and get on one that doesn’t require working full-time until age 65? What if you could wake up every day without an alarm clock and do the things you love most?

Tanja Hester and her husband Mark left their crazed careerist lifestyle to live their dream life in Lake Tahoe, retiring early from high-stress careers. Now Tanja will help you map out a customized plan for freedom and make it easy to succeed, whether you’re good at math and budgeting-or not!

Work Optional is more than just a financial plan: it’s a plan for your whole life-designed by you, not by an employer or clients. Tanja walks you through envisioning your dream life, accounting for variables such as health care and children, protecting yourself from recessions and future unknowns, and achieving a purpose-filled early retirement, semi-retirement, or career intermission with completely doable, non-penny-pinching steps.

You can live a happier, more meaningful life, free from the daily grind. Regardless of where you are in your career, Work Optional will get you there.

And then here are some of the more specific topics it covers:

  • How to build a solid early retirement financial plan
  • How to account for future expenses you can plan for—and those you can’t
  • How to retire early with kids, as a single person, or while supporting loved ones
  • How to save money fast without pinching pennies
  • How to make your plan bulletproof to withstand economic downturns

I haven’t paged through it myself, but she’s definitely exploded on the scene in recent years and I can attest to how smart she is. So hopefully you get something out of it if you try it!

More info can be found on her blog here, and you can pick it up at Amazon here (as well as your local library at some point I’d imagine too): Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way

Want a FREE copy of it?

work optional book

Answer this question down below in the comments or via email, and you’ll be entered to win… And this time we have *TWO* copies to give away (Thanks Tanja!), as well as it being open outside of the U.S. too :) (Thanks, hachette Books!)

What’s one hack you’re doing right now to help you reach FIRE faster? How much money – or time – has it saved you already so far?

Mine would be knocking down our cell phone plans from $150+/mo to $50/mo, netting us a sexy $100 bill each and every month. And since it’s now been almost 4 and 1/2 years since that fateful day, it means a total savings of $5,400 banked so far – for a ONE-TIME MOVE!!

Tell us your tricks now and you’ll be entered to win :) GOOD LUCK!

Let’s see what blogger comes out with a book next, haha… I’m voting for Mr. Money Mustache, but something tells me he’s too cool to be bothered with such things ;)

UPDATE: Forgot to mention, the giveaway will remain open until the end of the weekend, at which point I’ll randomly select the two winners and announce back on this same post!

GIVEAWAY NOW OVER! Congrats to our two winners, Dylan R and Jessy!

Links to the book above are Amazon affiliate links

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  1. DNN February 12, 2019 at 6:41 AM

    The traditional way of working and getting $ gUaP $ from a day job in today’s age of information technology is quietly becoming obsolete!

  2. Shannon February 12, 2019 at 7:16 AM

    I use Airvoice and pay as you go $20 lasts me 3 months!

    1. A. Money February 12, 2019 at 2:43 PM

      Like it! I use H2OWireless, which costs me $9 every three months to add $10 to my running balance. Having voice, texts, and data come out of my balance also helps me to keep my screentime in check.

  3. Sara February 12, 2019 at 7:17 AM

    This sounds like a great read, thx for the chance to win. Getting rid of cable and enjoying more family time has been the best hack for my family. We have saved well over $100 a month for 3 years now! Cha-ching.

  4. Mel February 12, 2019 at 7:26 AM

    Hey J.

    About 3 years ago, my son was born, and I had the revelation that we’re broke. I started to Google. I came across many bloggers and websites. Got a library card so I could start reading books about money. Started to listen to budgeting/debt free podcasts. I got on fire.

    At some point in this I came across FIRE and your website. I now have a game plan and a goal. I’m still working on becoming debt free. We’ve had some financial ups and downs. Our household income went from about 52 to 0 to 46 now.

    During zero income time, we reduced our WiFi bill from 100 to 50 and our phone bill from 90 to 42. Simply by changing companies. A while back I messaged you about Republic and it worked out for us so thank you. We realized that if we made major changes to things like switching to actual towels from paper and buying bulk and other household changes, we reduced our grocery/house budget from 300 to 125. And planning car trips we control our gas bill at about 95 a month vs 200 previously. While living off our emergency fund. I planned a three month fund and that’s about how long we were unemployed. Our income is now at 46 and we still are maintaining the minimalistic lifestyle and we are content. We got out of a scary financial time with a bunch of scratches. And we are continuing our debt snowball as soon as our emergency fund is back in place.

    1. J. Money February 12, 2019 at 12:12 PM

      WAY TO GO!!!!

      I’m so glad Republic has been working out for you! :)

  5. Jess @ Minimise With Me February 12, 2019 at 7:39 AM

    I regularly review our mortgage interest rate to make sure we are getting the best advertised rate. In one call I got our rate down from 4.13% to 3.65% savings us about $1200 alone that year in interest. This hack will hopefully allow us to own our house in 10 years total. A little effort goes a long way and as you say J those savings come year after year :) :D

    1. J. Money February 12, 2019 at 12:11 PM

      Pretty sweet :)

  6. OFG February 12, 2019 at 7:39 AM

    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!

    1. J. Money February 12, 2019 at 12:10 PM

      That’s exactly what I did when I first started this $$$ journey myself over a decade ago :) Took on a “no shopping” month which broke my habit of walking into stores just for fun! I think I estimated it was saving me $200/mo back then.

  7. Matt E February 12, 2019 at 7:47 AM

    The most effective hack I’ve got going on right now has been letting my two roommates have the bigger and more private rooms upstairs while I tricked out a smaller office downstairs. Saves me an average of 400-430 a month, or close to $5000 a year!

  8. Jessy February 12, 2019 at 7:52 AM

    Starting to seriously think of retirement for the first time. I love my work, but maybe it’s time to live my life. I maxed out my retirement contribution as of January, saving an extra $500/month. I have started living on my “retirement budget”–or trying to. Shopping online and picking up saves serious money–no temptations in the parking lot!

  9. A. Money February 12, 2019 at 7:59 AM

    To reach FIRE faster, I automate my payments to myself. I make my maxed out 401(k) and HSA contributions through payroll deduction. I have $500/month automatically withdrawn from my credit union checking account to a high-interest 12-month savings account, which ends up as my annual Roth IRA contribution each year at maturity. I also make automatic $200 investments to my brokerage account each week. And lastly, I automatically reinvest my investment dividends and capital gains. I don’t know how much money or time I’ve saved, but that’s kind of the nice thing about having things on autopilot.

  10. David February 12, 2019 at 8:07 AM

    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!

    1. J. Money February 12, 2019 at 12:08 PM

      Now that is hardcore! Haha….

      But also one helluva smart experiment – I really like that :)

  11. Shannon February 12, 2019 at 8:09 AM

    Got rid of cable 4 years ago = $100 month savings = $4,800 saved and counting!

    Using the avalanche method to pay off outstanding credit card bills…. 2 to go!

  12. Judy February 12, 2019 at 8:17 AM

    A few months ago, I started tracking every penny spent by category in a spreadsheet. It was eye opening to see where the money was going and I’m finding it to be almost a game to see how much I can cut back each month! Would love to win this book!!

  13. Sue February 12, 2019 at 8:22 AM

    I ditched cable 7 years ago when the new bill would have been $220 a month. I cut that right out and pay $65 for internet only. That $155 a month went to buy myself dividend paying stocks. I have 2 annual bills covered by dividends, and counting.

    1. J. Money February 12, 2019 at 12:07 PM

      Love looking at things that way :)

  14. Al February 12, 2019 at 8:46 AM

    My biggest FI hack is downsizing from a big old house to a smaller more effiecient house. Which took care of most of my mortgage and debt, dropping my property taxes and utilities for a monthly savings of $1100/month. Almost five months of savings so far for a total of $5500!

  15. Hillary February 12, 2019 at 8:59 AM

    Having my boyfriend move in to my house and now splitting the mortgage!!! *which was already very affordable…** :)

    JK it’s for love.. but also psyched when it works out financially

  16. SL February 12, 2019 at 9:04 AM

    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

    1. J. Money February 12, 2019 at 12:07 PM

      It’s like having FREE money!!! BOOM!

  17. Mike February 12, 2019 at 9:07 AM

    Most recent hack has been IF (Intermittent Fasting) – skipping one meal/day saves me around $150/mo. and maybe 30 minutes/day in cooking time, and losing weight is an added bonus!

    1. J. Money February 12, 2019 at 12:06 PM

      Oh man, I don’t know if I could do that one… don’t you get hungry?? Do you snack at all or just 100% skip?

      1. Mike February 12, 2019 at 2:33 PM

        Meh, it’s really just pushing breakfast out. No snacking – this particular method means eating only in an 8hr window, no more than 50 cal or so outside of that. I have coffee & tea in the mornings, have ‘breakfast’ around 10a, lunch around 1:30p, then ‘dinner’ around 5:30p (dinner being a post-workout shake/smoothie). Pretty easy & you get used to not eating in the mornings after a week or two. I actually really like it so far!

        1. Scott February 14, 2019 at 4:32 PM

          Ever since I started intermittent fasting, I know I’ve saved quite a bit of money on breakfast foods (mainly cereal and milk for me).

          While not the easiest to get started with, it actually becomes much easier as you continue to do it. I drink a lot of water (added bonus!) to stave off any hunger feelings. I’m not super hardcore about it though so I occasionally cheat a bit. How could I give up on a home cooked breakfast every once in awhile?

  18. Elora February 12, 2019 at 9:10 AM

    One habit that I’m training myself to adopt is to not let things become complete 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.

    1. J. Money February 12, 2019 at 12:05 PM

      Love this insight!! And something we all can suck at for sure, including myself. (as I sit here with two large holes in my boxers, womp womp…)

  19. B February 12, 2019 at 9:11 AM

    I said it before and I’ll say it again. My hack, if you will, was finding the Trifecta in 2017…J, MMM, and Jacob. Pre 2017 I was a full blown Consuma Sucka. Didn’t care where the money went. Fast forward to today…savings rate currently 75% and $128,000.00 saved in two years. All accomplished by simply applying what I learned from them and others like us generating great ideas. Cheers!

    1. J. Money February 12, 2019 at 12:04 PM

      Haha – I don’t hate hearing this any time either :)

      You’re on FIRE man!

  20. Samantha February 12, 2019 at 10:13 AM

    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.

    1. J. Money February 12, 2019 at 12:03 PM

      Amen to all of this.

  21. Jean Young February 12, 2019 at 10:13 AM

    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!

    1. J. Money February 12, 2019 at 12:02 PM

      Impressive! That’s a solid salary for some people :)

  22. Liz February 12, 2019 at 10:21 AM

    Appreciate the chance to win!

    My hack is student loan refinancing! Slashed interest from >6.8% down to 5.3% and got a nice referral bonus! Every bit helps!

  23. Kelli February 12, 2019 at 10:22 AM

    I’ve paid off all credit card debt and finally learned to STAY out of CC debt and use a cash back card responsibly where I put all purchases on it, then pay off the entire balance every month.

    I also have a substantial emergency fund now which is a great feeling!

  24. Kim Suarez February 12, 2019 at 10:46 AM

    I’ve picked up side projects as a writer outside of my 9-5 job. It gives me extra income but it also has opened up the possibility of working for myself as a freelancer someday doing what I love. For now though I’m just enjoying the grind!

  25. Liz February 12, 2019 at 11:18 AM

    I haven’t had cable in over five years!

  26. Wendy February 12, 2019 at 11:33 AM

    Socking extra money away on my mortgage each month. Last year it saved me a few thousand dollars in interest and that’s just going to keep compounding until the house is paid off. It’s amazing what a little bit of money can do over the long term.

  27. Elyse February 12, 2019 at 11:39 AM

    Living off my husband’s income and saving mine in my 401K, our Roth IRAs, and then the rest in a brokerage account!

    1. J. Money February 12, 2019 at 11:59 AM

      WOWWW – that is one way to turbocharge things for sure!

  28. Margaret February 12, 2019 at 11:46 AM

    I finally set up the automatic transfer to my Roth IRA directly from my paycheck. Gets the money invested quicker and gives me a steadier budget to work with.

  29. JW February 12, 2019 at 11:53 AM

    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!

    1. J. Money February 12, 2019 at 2:38 PM

      Smooth :)

  30. Mr. SoS February 12, 2019 at 12:04 PM

    We set up a weekly automatic deposit from our checking account to our high yield savings account online at Synchrony Bank for our emergency fund. It is amazing how small deposits can add up over time. We managed to build up $6,344.20 for emergency savings thus far. Our plan is to build this to at least $10,000 this year through regular deposits.

    1. J. Money February 12, 2019 at 2:39 PM

      And I bet you don’t even notice the money being “gone” either, do you? :)

  31. Samantha Chapman February 12, 2019 at 12:18 PM

    I’m really looking forward to reading this one!

    We cut cable more than 3 years ago and have saved $100 a month so we’re more than $4,000 saved so far! Next up – as soon as we’re finished making a home gym in our basement we are cutting our bootcamp gym memberships and that will save us $200 a month. $2,400 a year right in our pocket! And no more extra time spent driving back and forth from the gym. Drywall should be finished next week and then we’re in business!

    1. J. Money February 12, 2019 at 2:42 PM

      Wowwww that is gonna be so awesome!! I bet you work out so much *more* too since you only need to go downstairs every time – brilliant!

  32. Nita February 12, 2019 at 12:22 PM

    I haven’t done that much in six weeks, but the first thing is real budgeting, instead of ballpark guessing.
    It’s still adjusting, but I’ve already been able to identify the corners to cut on my fixed bills and tackle them. We’re talking €80-100 a month. Haven’t cut them all yet, but it should be done soon enough.
    Also, I know exactly what I can and can’t afford for the rest of this year without compromising my aims.

  33. Nicole February 12, 2019 at 1:59 PM

    I overpay my mortgage by approximately € 300 per month. This will wipe 8 years off the mortgage and € 20 K off the interest on the mortgage over the life of the loan! The overpayment can be cancelled without penalty at any time, so it’s a win-win! ☺

  34. lauren m Keenan February 12, 2019 at 2:14 PM

    I have increased my % savings to 401K in the last few weeks. So I am saving even more than the $75 it cost me so far (only 1 paycheck since the change) — and then compounding!
    I also have money earmarked that if we don’t have any huge emergency this year we can stuff into an IRA.

  35. Susanne Nielsen February 12, 2019 at 2:24 PM

    The only interest we ever pay is for our mortgage (3%). We don’t charge anything we can’t pay off in full every month. We have enough saved to pay off the mortgage, but don’t because our money makes more than 3% in our investments. :D I love having my money pay me. LOL

  36. Lisa Hernandez February 12, 2019 at 2:25 PM

    The latest hack is meal-prepping breakfast, which saves me from hitting the vending machine (roughly $3-$5 a week, $12-$15/mo). Saturday morning, I cook up a batch of oatmeal (using up the super-ripe last of the bananas), and a veggie-heavy (whatever is aging in the fridge) egg casserole. I’m so not a morning person, but having it all pre-portioned fools my internal clock enough to eat right in the morning with a touch of variety. I already pack my lunches, which saves me easily $200 a month. FIRE DATE: May 2026 or $1.08M in the retirement accounts, whichever comes first.

    1. J. Money February 12, 2019 at 2:44 PM

      Love that you have exact dates/#’s!! I net you hit it way before 2026 too :)

  37. Stephanie Chin February 12, 2019 at 2:40 PM

    I’ve just recently been saving money by going to Starbucks.

    Now, hear me out, it’s not as crazy as it sounds.

    We go out to eat a lot! Especially on weekends that we aren’t busy (my youngest just went off to college on the other coast). The average bill including tip is $30 to $50 depending on the meal.

    We live just outside Seattle if you’re wondering why it’s so expensive. If we eat in then go to Starbucks it’s only $7. This only works til the afternoon but once you’ve been out and sat in Starbucks for awhile it feels like you ‘ate out’.

    So let’s say the average is $40, minus the $7 Starbucks bill, that’s a savings of $33. Multiply by three that’s $99 a month. Plus this is waaay less than all our friends who go away for the weekend since they’re empty nesters too.

    I got this idea from Nick True’s YouTube video on things they don’t buy anymore.

    1. J. Money February 12, 2019 at 2:45 PM

      That 100% counts!

      And I’m not just saying that since I got to Panera Bread every morning :) (“Office rent!”)

  38. Leons February 12, 2019 at 3:20 PM

    Thanks for opening to Canadians!

    I think my biggest hack would just be plain old hard work. There are no jobs beneath me and I’ll always do what it takes to get the job done. Today was filling nail holes and painting trim. Also on a bigger scale diversification is key. Really trying to bring in as many streams of passive income possible.

    1. J. Money February 12, 2019 at 6:02 PM

      Reminds me of that famous line from Thomas Edison – “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” :)

  39. Travis Fisher February 12, 2019 at 3:54 PM

    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 They have a pretty comprehensive list of clinics for each state. Also get ready for some crazy comments from your friends! :)

  40. Lana February 12, 2019 at 5:45 PM

    I quit smoking on August 31,2018 which will help me save roughly $4900 a year, net (I live in Canada, cigarettes are crazy expensive up here due to taxes). I have also recently reviewed and slashed my monthly cell phone plan by $35/month and car insurance by $57/month.

    1. J. Money February 12, 2019 at 6:06 PM

      Congrats!!! On just being able to *break* it, no less the money savings! That’s hard as hell to do!

  41. Jamie February 12, 2019 at 6:22 PM

    I just saved myself at least $30 by reusing a set of shelves I already had in the house. I also saved myself the time to go to the shop and then assemble the shelves, plus the environmental cost of producing new shelves.

    The shelves I re-purposed don’t fit as perfectly as a new shelf bought specifically for the space would, but I think once the financial/time/environmental costs are taken into account it is worth it.

  42. Kris February 12, 2019 at 7:06 PM

    I’ve been looking forward for Tanja’s book and so thanks for this opportunity to win one J!!
    One hack I do is cut out cable from our monthly expenses. At first it was tough because I’ve had cable my whole life and I had to adapt without channel surfing through 100 different stations. It sounds ridiculous but that’s how I got through the day when I’m at home. But as the months went on I found other things to do like read more books and go on youtube…lol. And now after about 8 years not having cable, I advocate cutting the cord because everyone has other options to entertain themselves and not have to pay a ridiculous amount to watch TV.

  43. Laura February 12, 2019 at 8:09 PM

    I use Personal Capital to track my spending and separately track my net worth monthly. “Up and to the right” is a great motivator!

  44. Mollie February 12, 2019 at 8:58 PM

    This may not seem like a hack, but cooking saves me a lot of time, money, and energy. Sure, it can be a pain to cook or prepare food, but I watch colleagues go through more energy deciding what to do for lunch, ordering it, and then the extra expense of having it delivered because there aren’t any places easily accessible to our office. Grabbing leftovers from the fridge eliminates decision fatigue and is much better for my health and savings plans!

    1. J. Money February 13, 2019 at 4:21 PM

      Haha… true that.

  45. Suz February 12, 2019 at 10:09 PM

    My latest FI hack is setting up a solo 401k for 1099 side hustle income to tax defer more money in addition to our work plans and IRAs. :)

  46. Lynette February 12, 2019 at 11:00 PM

    I pay for a month of Netflix, download as much as I can and then watch downloads throughout the following months with no subscription (shucks I hope they don’t make this impossible in future because of this post). I started this August 2018, and I’ve only paid the $9 twice so I have saved myself $36 thus far. Which in South African Rands is quite a bit of money.
    Seeing as I’m currently unemployed, I eliminated most subscriptions (Apple Music, iCloud, Patreon) so this Netflix hack is my last standing luxury.

    1. J. Money February 13, 2019 at 4:22 PM

      Wow – that is frugal! Haha… Wouldn’t have ever even thought about that! :)

      I hope you find an excellent next gig in your future! Cool you’re writing from South Africa :)

  47. Michelle @ February 13, 2019 at 12:21 AM

    My current favorite hack is making a little money on the side with the Job Spotter app, by 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!

    1. J. Money February 13, 2019 at 4:25 PM

      YES!!! I remember hearing about that app a few years back – didn’t know it was still a thing? Really clever win all around :)

  48. MikeW February 13, 2019 at 3:43 AM


    I had my doubts at first but I learned to make laundry soap. It has worked out well, we are on year five of using the powder version.

    Lower costs up to ninety five percent cheaper and less recycling.

    The extra saving goes back into investing.

    1. J. Money February 13, 2019 at 4:27 PM

      Impressive! I remember Trent from The Simple dollar swearing by it but I never got hardcore enough to try it… yet.

      Do you have a favorite recipe you could pass over? Is it really that simple to do?

  49. Patti Hansen February 13, 2019 at 7:04 AM

    Read through all the comments;there are some great tips shared. Nothing new or different here – would really love/need the book. I enjoy your authenticity J! We cut cable two years ago, borrow instead of buying when we can, kids are attending the lesser desired option of a two year local tech college for free before moving on to University. Only problem is it’s a half-baked savings plan as my other half is not fully invested in following through. Money saved isn’t being put to work for us; we’ve had a large amount of money sitting in an fcu savings for over 4 years after a sale from a home. That money is not working for us and is dwindling down from withdrawals. I could present a better option to make the money work for us, but really don’t know where to start. Husband is super-cautious to the point of lost potential income by not investing and too conservative in his retirement accounts. I need help – going to get serious about this situation this year we don’t have years on our side to let investments grow, but now is better than never! Thanks J Money – I will be digging deeper into your past articles.

    1. J. Money February 13, 2019 at 4:30 PM

      Glad you’re enjoying the blog, Pattie! Us men can be handfuls at times, so def. keep working on him ;) Maybe you can do a 50/50 compromise where half stays in cash or whatever and the other gets invested more? There are plenty of “safer” avenues out there than the stock market, although of course they also don’t return as high of a return either… ORRRR maybe he’d be more comfortable investing it into something he can see and touch, like a rental property? More work to handle, but could be another great avenue vs cash….

      Good luck!

  50. Sarah February 13, 2019 at 8:53 AM

    I deleted the Starbucks app from my phone. No more impulse coffee buys is saving me at least $10 a week.

    1. J. Money February 13, 2019 at 4:30 PM

      It stopped the urge of *walking in* to the shops too?? That’s the hardest for me, the second I see one I WANT IN!! :)

  51. Paul February 13, 2019 at 9:26 AM

    The system said I was scammy, after I wrote a long few paragraphs… I dont have the energy to come up with anything good now…

    1. J. Money February 13, 2019 at 4:32 PM

      Haha sorry about that… this system def. gets a bit wonky when mentioning certain financial words/phrases, which is certainly not ideal considering what this blog is all about :) But for your troubles, I shall allow your comment to be entered – woo! Small wins, baby!

      1. Paul February 14, 2019 at 9:31 AM

        It was really about how I saved over $29,000 by playing around with loans to get rid of my mortgage insurance. Horrible for temporary cash flow, great for overall savings. The whole thing made more sense typed out and explained but I assure you based on the situation I was in this was the best outcome.

        1. J. Money February 14, 2019 at 4:50 PM

          Haha I believe you!

  52. Tiera McGuire February 13, 2019 at 9:47 AM

    I LOVE THIS! I have been living at home and driving a 14 year old paid off car. Its help me save 10k per year! I also would like to pay of one of the student loans 16K in cash this year. Then save for my wedding.

    1. J. Money February 13, 2019 at 4:33 PM

      Killing it!!

      But the real question is – will you be remaining at home *after* the wedding?? ;)

  53. Scott February 13, 2019 at 5:04 PM

    Using the library has been my biggest “hack” to date, especially since it’s so close to our house. There’s a lot of good content out there and I couldn’t afford to buy it all. Being able to find books at the library or request their purchase by the library has been very beneficial. Not to mention all of the books my kids love to find and read. I’d estimate I’ve saved over $1k at least by not having to buy the books. If I actually got through books quicker, I’d having a much bigger savings total.

  54. leeann February 13, 2019 at 10:10 PM

    The thing that has probably saved me the most over the last 8 years, was reading a blog post somewhere that laid out the (fairly obvious in retrospect) reality that when you make a mortgage payment – at the start of your mortgage, the amount of principal in that payment is very low – say your payment amount is $700 – $100 of that might be principal.

    If you came up with another $100 – paying $800 instead of $700 – that’s another entire month of principal that you’ve paid – and reduces your mortgage term by a full month. So if you are going to pay extra on your mortgage – the FIRST couple of years actually makes the most impact on your principal.

    I’m now at the tail end of my mortgage – and it’s much harder to knock off a whole month of my loan, when $100 of that $700 payment is interest, and $600 is principal!

    But, by paying my mortgage off in 10 years vs 30 years – I’m saving tens of thousands of dollars – I’ll be paying around $22k in interest on my mortgage, vs $110k!

    1. J. Money February 14, 2019 at 4:22 PM

      yeah you are!!! and you’re going to have SO MUCH EXTRA every month now too to apply to all your other goals! very exciting!

  55. Stephanie February 13, 2019 at 11:07 PM

    Even though it’s not a huge money saver compared to some of my monthly expenses, I’ve started packing lunches most days at work. It saves me money, plus it means I can get back to work sooner rather than spending time at the cafeteria. And getting back to work faster means making more money!

  56. Pearl February 14, 2019 at 6:15 AM

    We pay ourselves first! All retirement plans and other goals get the money from our paychecks before we budget for our monthly expenses. It means less eating out now but more seniors’ discounts in a couple of decades :-)

  57. Becky Brophy February 14, 2019 at 8:52 AM

    Hi, I’m actually doing several “small” things that are adding up really well. First, I paid off my car and resisted the urge to trade up. Since August, I’ve been reallocating the car payment I had towards other bills or into savings. I have set amounts coming out of every paycheck right to savings too. Another small thing is being very, very intentional with my spending. Thanks for the opportunity to win the book! I love reading your blog and reading about changing your life with money!

    1. J. Money February 14, 2019 at 4:23 PM

      So glad to hear that, Becky! Thanks for the kind words! :)

  58. Mr. Retirementality February 14, 2019 at 12:11 PM

    I’m starting a blog. So far it has made zero dollars but I’ve been reading everyone else’s blogs to see what the good ones have going on. In doing so I’ve come across a bunch of good ideas. I’m actually amazed at how many of them I was already practicing but I didn’t know they have cool names. Like… Spavings! We used to do this one and the money went into its own account which we used to travel. At some point, we quit doing it. I read the article on your blog about it and decided to re-institute it. I didn’t know it had a name until I read your article. And I looove making up names for things so now my Spavings Account is even more fun.

    1. J. Money February 14, 2019 at 4:49 PM

      Haha well good! I actually stole it from another blogger who just made it up so you’re in good company here :) And really it’s hard to lose at blogging even if it doesn’t make a dollar as it’ll still help you stay accountable w/ your own money! Plus all the ways it helps those in your community of course. So keep on going!

  59. Wilson February 14, 2019 at 12:35 PM

    Instant Pot,

    It saves time & effort in cooking so we eat at home and spend money on expensive restaurants.

  60. Scott February 14, 2019 at 4:31 PM

    Ever since I started intermittent fasting, I know I’ve saved quite a bit of money on breakfast foods (mainly cereal and milk for me).

    While not the easiest to get started with, it actually becomes much easier as you continue to do it. I drink a lot of water (added bonus!) to stave off any hunger feelings. I’m not super hardcore about it though so I occasionally cheat a bit. How could I give up on a home cooked breakfast every once in awhile?

  61. Nacho February 14, 2019 at 4:37 PM

    One thing I’ve been doing is starting to sell my baseball cards. Reducing the size of my collection and really focusing on what I actually care about, while taking in some $ and putting it towards my cc debt.

    1. J. Money February 14, 2019 at 4:53 PM

      Nice! Are you having any luck with it? It’s still on my list to do one day too, but from everything I’ve heard a lot of the old school ones from the 80s and 90s aren’t worth as much anymore :(

  62. Liz Fird February 14, 2019 at 9:26 PM

    A few child care hacks saves my family major cash on an astronomical expense that’s not often talked about in the FIRE community. Our three year old daughter spends a day each week with grandparents, which saves us $1,100 a year in day care costs. I also hack before and after care for my Kindergartener to the tune of $2,000 a year: I got a job closer to home so I can get him on the bus each morning rather than sending him to care before school for $7 each school day. After school, grandparents get him off the bus twice a week, saving $10 each time. Cumulatively, these hacks have saved us more than $5,000 so far. Meanwhile, I’m working in a good-paying job in a field I enjoy close to home to maximize my time with the kids. They’ve also formed priceless bonds with their

    1. J. Money February 15, 2019 at 5:54 AM

      YES! Day care costs are no joke! We were paying over $2,000/mo at one point on it and coulnd’t WAIT for school to start, haha… Then finally got both our kids there and BAM – here comes another little guy :)

  63. beth February 15, 2019 at 9:15 AM

    we cut the cable cord and internet is paid for through husband’s work. best savings ever!

  64. Tabitha February 15, 2019 at 10:34 AM

    I really don’t feel like I’m doing any remarkable hacks. The one thing we did get into recently was credit card rewards. We’ve seen our travel expenses decline, and our trip to South Africa this year was our most affordable vacation yet!

  65. Carrie February 15, 2019 at 2:11 PM

    Moving closer to work so I can ride my bike back and forth to work. Savings: In gas alone $130/month!! Not to mention the savings from wear & tear on my vehicle and getting the daily exercise (lower future healthcare cost).

    1. J. Money February 15, 2019 at 4:16 PM

      Oh hell yeah – good for you!

  66. JC February 15, 2019 at 3:42 PM

    Moving in with my mother (temporarily!) . . . this is me, my husband, and two kids under three, oh and a Rhodesian Ridgeback . . . to save as much money as possible before we hit the road in search of lower cost of living. This will save us at least $16,800 in rent/utilities over the 8 months we plan on being there.

    1. J. Money February 15, 2019 at 4:17 PM

      Haha… I was JUST thinking about this type of living myself today! My wife would never go for it, but I’d be all about it :) For saving money and the in-home babysitters – hah.

  67. LCM February 15, 2019 at 8:02 PM

    As a SAHM, I don’t earn a regular income but have found ways to help us reach FI sooner. I signed up for ebates and have earned nearly $1400.00 so far. Last year, I joined TopCashBack and have made about $150.00. I don’t like to shop, but when I do have to buy something, I read reviews, compare prices, use coupon codes, and go through cash back sites. Paying for everything we possibly could with a rewards credit card earned us $734.00 in 2018. All rebate and reward dollars are invested in a high-interest savings account or used to pay extra towards our mortgage.

    1. J. Money February 18, 2019 at 6:52 AM

      Beautiful! Love it!

  68. Tracy February 16, 2019 at 12:37 PM

    I finally started shopping at Aldi’s and our grocery bill continues to shrink every month! That is definitely going to help us get to FI sooner. =)

  69. Jesse February 16, 2019 at 1:56 PM

    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.

    1. J. Money February 18, 2019 at 6:54 AM

      Yup! The good ol’ 52-Week Money Challenge – always a crowd pleaser!

  70. Kate February 16, 2019 at 3:16 PM

    Mine is simultaneously big and boring – I max out my 403b and Roth IRA every year. 403b with each paycheck and the Roth IRA as soon in the year as I can. Then I know I can spend or invest or do whatever with the rest without any worries because no matter what, I’ve invested $25,000 toward my future this year.

    1. J. Money February 18, 2019 at 6:55 AM

      Totally – exactly what we do too :) And you know you’re gonna be just fine down the line if that’s literally the only thing you ever do too!

  71. J. Money February 18, 2019 at 7:00 AM


    Congrats to our two winners! Dylan R and Jessy!

    Thanks for participating, everyone!