29 Quick Money Tricks

“Simply making decisions, one after another, can be a form of art.” – John Gruber

So the other day I was feeling bored and pretty unproductive, and rather than waste even more of my time I decided to shoot a note to my online friends and see if I could learn something new. What they came back with was pretty juicy, so I thought I’d turn it into a blog post today instead of hoarding all the gems for myself :)

Here’s what I asked them:

What’s a quick trick you do with money? To save, invest, or pay down debt, etc?

And here were my favorite responses below – hope you find something to try!

Quick Tips on Saving Money

  • I’ve started paying myself a $10 penalty every time we eat out. :) – WhatMommyDoes.com
  • We do No-Spend Weekends where we take what we normally would spend (an average of $50) and put it towards our travel savings. – FitnPoor.com
  • All our “found” money goes in a piggy bank. We then set monthly purposes for side hustle money (mortgage, travel fund, etc.) – ShePicksUpPennies.com
  • Every time we do a load of wash we put $2 in a jar. (Insert “laundering money” punchline here.) Although technically earmarked for a replacement washing machine at some point, the cash recently went toward the purchase of a new fridge… You could also do it with other things, such as “put a dollar in the kitty every time you make a pot of coffee at home and pour some into your travel mug to take to work” or “put $20 in the jar every time you decide to eat leftovers instead of ordering that takeout or pizza.” (Editor’s note: Donna’s daughter, Abby, currently has $560 saved up doing this $2 laundry trick already!) – Donna Freedman
  • I play around with compound interest calculators a lot, haha. It makes me super motivated to invest/save as must as possible. – TheFreedomFromMoney.com
  • Digit of course! – Valerie Rind
  • We live off one income and have the other income directly deposited into our savings account. This way we don’t even see my income. – ReluctantLandlord.net
  • I treat my savings like a monthly expense and then pay the account interest if I don’t make the payment on time. It gives great accountability. – DebtRoundup.com
  • When I get a discount on a bill (insurance, internet, cell phone), I set up and automate savings transfers. – CoupleMoney.com
  • I don’t store credit card information online and I keep my wallet downstairs. :) – WalletHacks.com

And one of my all-time favorite pieces of advice, “When you “save” money, be sure it actually goes in the bank account and doesn’t just disappear into general spending.” Amen, IPickUpPennies.net!

Quick Tips on Paying Off Debt

  • I leave all income from side hustles in my Paypal account until the end of the month when I use it solely for paying down my mortgage. – Aaron Crowe
  • For paying off our mortgage I obsessed ALL THE TIME using my Pay Off Debt app. So basically my “tricks” are automation + obsession. – TheDebtMyth.com (Editor’s note: I followed up with Jackie to see why she used “obsessed” in the past tense, and it’s because she’s completely paid off her house :) Guess that app (linked above) works!)
  • Any money I receive outside my normal salary (all reimbursements, gifts, etc.) goes to debt. – Kacy Wickenhauser
  • I split my monthly payments over 4 weeks for student loan payments = less interest (as accrued daily) and smaller chunks of money going to payments (easier to budget around $147/week than $1,000 full hit) – SmartWomanBlog.com
  • I tricked myself into paying off our mortgage by refinancing from a 30-year to 15-year loan (and basically paying the same monthly payment). Since we had/have savings and investments, and interest rates were higher when we borrowed, this made sense for us (the home’s been paid off for a few years now). – InvestingToThrive.com
  • Every month after our mortgage payment comes out, I see what its new balance is and pay down the odd numbers to make it a nice even number via online account transfer. This encourages me to pay it down faster so if I have extra cash at end of month I make what I owe a nice round number. – James G
  • If you have credit card debt that you’re trying to pay down, pay something as soon as the bill arrives vs waiting until the due date. This simple trick will shave down the interest you pay and help you pay it off quicker. – BaldThoughts.com
  • I use all of my cashback bonuses to pay down the balance. With some of my cards, the rewards are available immediately, and you don’t have to bank $25 or $50. I’ve been known to make a $50.90 payment on a card with $50 being my money and the $.90 being reward. It really does make a difference. – Linsey Knerl

For other debt awesomeness, check out this tracker Jon put together tracking all the (significant!) amounts of debt that bloggers have killed so far. Pretty motivating! –> Debt Payoff All Stars

Quick Tips on Investing

  • I have set up automatic contributions to my Roth IRA to max it out. – MoneyManifesto.com
  • I set a 1-month freeze on any money I deposit in my investing accounts. It keeps me from throwing the money at the first idea that comes to mind and cuts down on investment fees. – Joseph Hogue
  • I dump into the market chunks of $1,000. When my “Honey Pot” account has $1,000 more than I need in an e-fund, it just gets put in index funds. – BrokeMillennial.com
  • Any time CapitalOne Investing has a bonus deal on custodial accounts, I take it. I’ve set up 5 accounts for my kids for college with a min. of $25 invested and a bonus of $50. I don’t know of any other way to make that kind of money that fast. They let you do it multiple times. – Linsey Knerl
  • For our Roth IRA’s, we fully fund them as quickly as possible every year and then start saving for the next one… that means they were fully funded for 2016 in January and we’re saving for 2017 now. – BudgetingInTheFunStuff.com
  • I use Acorns, max out my Solo 401(k), HSA, IRA, and then leave the rest in my business account creating a tax barrier so I don’t touch it. – Paul Burckhardt… Who then left this gif to show how well it’s been going ;)van damme dancing gif

Other Great Money Tips

  • I send the wife an almost daily net worth update. It keeps her motivation up and frivolous spending down. – Andrews Dad
  • My son has a new piggy bank, and I put my loose change in there because he likes the sound of money. Teaching ’em young to heart their dollars lol – Sarah Li Cain
  • For annual bills (i.e. life insurance, property taxes), I pay monthly into a savings account to have the money easily available when the bill comes due. I find it’s easier to make a bunch of small payments, rather than coming up with one large amount. – BaldThoughts.com
  • I use Simple Bank for budgeting. – Will Parker
  • All of my bills are on auto pay and the rest of the categories come out as cash from the ATM. – EverySingleDollar.com

Whatcha think? Any resonate with you? Gonna try any? Rocking some of your own?

If you’re looking for even more tips (because, let’s be honest, y’all are bad a$$es and probably do at least 90% of these already, right? :)) here are handfuls of other great ones for your perusal:

Happy $$$$, y’all!

PS: Not following me on Twitter (@BudgetsAreSexy) or Facebook (Facebook.com/BudgetsAreSexy) yet? Come on over and extend the festivities!

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  1. Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes March 7, 2016 at 5:27 AM

    Those are all really good tips, but I think IPickUpPennies was closest to true brilliance.

    For many people, saving is just ‘delayed spending’. They ‘save’ money, but at some point it gets spent again. The saving game goes great until a person need a new car, or a new house. A vacation to peel back the stress of life…etc.

    When done like that, *it isn’t savings*.

    For me, savings was like a black-hole. An account I could never touch. Money never comes out…only in! I kept my claws off of that account, and now (as I freely talk about in my blog) it’s worth millions…

    1. J. Money March 7, 2016 at 7:30 AM

      Hell yeah!! Gotta keep those bills stashed and claws off – only way for it to grow.

  2. Slackerjo March 7, 2016 at 5:47 AM

    Keep my weight under control to prevent having to buy new clothes.

    1. J. Money March 7, 2016 at 6:59 AM

      Good of a reason as any! :)

  3. Chris @ Flipping A Dollar March 7, 2016 at 6:15 AM

    We also break big future purchases (friends wedding, insurance, etc.) into monthly increments. Totally manageable and forces us to think further ahead and plan a bit more.

  4. Brian @DebtDiscipline March 7, 2016 at 6:29 AM

    This are all great. I like rounding the mortgage payment to an even number and investing in chucks of $1k. All about having a plan for you cash.

    1. J. Money March 7, 2016 at 6:58 AM

      The mortgage one is great because all those extra little payments add up like crazy over time. We used to round up ours by the 2nd nearest $100th to make them even (So our $1,850 payment would go to $2,000 and our $60 payment would be $200) and because it was budgeted in from day 1 we barely even noticed the difference over time. Helped knock off over $3,000 in principal each year + interest!

      1. paul March 16, 2016 at 10:46 AM

        That us a brilliant idea. The interest saving alone is huge. This is definitely doable especially if you have the mentality of your paycheck not being your budget.

        Great article by the way. It’s those little nuggets that get you thinking.

  5. Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor March 7, 2016 at 7:27 AM

    Great tips, and they are all manageable. I like the idea of a separate account to hide your “extra” income. I automate a lot of my routine shopping by using discounted subscriptions from places like Amazon. Then I don’t end up making impulse purchases, I save time, I can do something fun instead of shopping with the kids, and I get a discount & free shipping. I spend way less on random stuff by simply not going into stores. (I still grocery shop.)

  6. Lady FruFru March 7, 2016 at 7:34 AM

    So many lists are like, “Yeah, thanks for the helpful info….not.” Not this one. This was a bona-fide AWESOME list. So many great tips. Thank you!

    For fun extra savings, I also do the Mason Jar Savings (http://frugalbeautiful.com/blog/mason-jar-money-method-start-1-save-1300-year/) and everytime I end up with a $5 bill, I also throw that in the jar.

    Just signed up for Acorns last month and am loving the automatic round ups. Don’t even miss them.

    1. J. Money March 7, 2016 at 9:40 AM

      Glad you approve! I’m pretty tired of hearing the same ol’ tips too, so I’m glad my people kept it fresh!

  7. Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies March 7, 2016 at 8:00 AM

    I’ve bookmarked this so I can go home tonight and make sure we’re implementing many (if not all) of these tips! I, too, keep my credit card in my handbag and never store the info. One-click shopping would make it far too easy to sabotage my decluttering!

  8. Lindsay @ the Notorious D.E.B.T. March 7, 2016 at 8:22 AM

    I have a monthly deposit set up to go into Betterment for saving up for a house, and for an emergency fund.

    If I need the money, I can withdraw it whenever I want, but I have no idea how to do that yet so it’s keeping me from tapping the keg too soon!

    1. J. Money March 7, 2016 at 9:37 AM

      haha, yes – always best to trick yourself into not pulling from it :) make sure you’re aware of the tax implications too when cashing out stocks/funds.

  9. MrFireStation March 7, 2016 at 8:32 AM

    My wife and I have “sunshine funds” – discretionary $$$ to spend on things we want individually, without having to check with each other first. It doesn’t save us money – but it saves a lot of arguments! (early retiring on 4/1/16!)

    1. J. Money March 7, 2016 at 9:36 AM

      Yes – Beautiful on all accounts!

      We used to have “do whatever the hell you want” funds that work similar to your sunshine ones, but seems like over the years we rarely touched it so now we just buy whatever we want – within reason – so long as it’s $50 and less. Fortunately I married a super frugal woman too :)

      We need to throw you a blog party for your ER day. Or at least all drink a beer on it in your honor! :)

  10. Andrew March 7, 2016 at 9:58 AM

    There are some great gems on here. I’ve started a 30 day challenge to “save the savings” on all my purchases. So if I buy something that has a savings of $10 (coupon, in-store rebate, markdown etc…), then that $10 goes into a separate account. I’m just going to track it and watch the account grow. One week in and I’m already up a couple hundred dollars bucks. It should be a good month for saving money!

    1. J. Money March 7, 2016 at 2:20 PM

      nice! or does that mean you’re *spending* a lot? haha…

      1. Andrew March 7, 2016 at 5:24 PM

        Lol no but I’m definitely thinking twice before I buy something that’s hugely markdown. I start thinking “I can’t afford to save this.” Really weird thought to have.

  11. Future Beach Bum March 7, 2016 at 9:59 AM

    Morning J$…. Great list. Love the creative ways that folks are saving the moolah. Thanks for some additional inspiration. I have been moving $5 every morning when I brew the Joe at home….94 days…$470 so far and going strong (like my Java). There is no way that I’d stop at Starbucks now and give them my coffee money…I’d rather keep it.

    1. J. Money March 7, 2016 at 2:20 PM

      No shame in that :) Though I still splurge for coffee when out and about… I consider it part of my “entertainment” budget and just love chillin’ in them and the ambiance. Fortunately for my wallet I rarely just “go out and about” though, haha…

  12. Joe March 7, 2016 at 10:18 AM

    Good tips. I like front loading the IRA. I used to do that when we have more income. It’s tougher when you don’t have as much income.
    Latest saving tip is to use digit. It’s a great way to save.

  13. Hannah March 7, 2016 at 10:27 AM

    We have about a dozen targeted savings accounts with CapitalOne360. At the end of the month, we allow ourselves to put unspent money into any of the accounts or into investments. This used to be super motivating, until we got lazy and kept adding it to the “future taxes” account.

    I think after the next round of quarterly taxes, we will redistribute some of the funds, so we can be motivated by something positive again.

  14. John C @ Action Economics March 7, 2016 at 11:00 AM

    I love the idea of maintaining a daily net worth tracker and sending it to the spouse everyday. We’ve had net worth discussions quarterly, I think I need to start working towards daily!

  15. Anabisdally March 7, 2016 at 11:03 AM

    My timeless favorite is “saving” your money before you even see it. For me it’s proven to be the only way to keep it from disappearing into the ether!

    I also have a “savings jar” and any and all lose change that I find around the house automatically goes in there -everyone in the house knows to put their money away before mom “sees” it.

    These are all great tips, thanks for sharing!

    1. J. Money March 7, 2016 at 2:17 PM

      “everyone in the house knows to put their money away before mom “sees” it.” – classic :)

  16. Broke Millennial March 7, 2016 at 11:44 AM

    Thanks for including me! Loving all the awesome tips.

  17. Donna Freedman March 7, 2016 at 12:44 PM

    Appreciate the shout-out, sir. So glad to see how many other people make saving a priority.

    1. J. Money March 7, 2016 at 2:17 PM

      Your tip was one of my favorites from the group :) And especially since you got your daughter into it too!

  18. Tawcan March 7, 2016 at 1:23 PM

    Great tips, love the idea of loading up on Roth IRA as quickly as possible. Also maximize your tax-deferred & tax-sheltered accounts are always a great idea. It’s amazing that so many people don’t utilize these powerful saving vehicles.

  19. Pengepugeren March 7, 2016 at 2:02 PM

    I write our debt (mortgage) on a blackboard in the kitchen. It keeps us motivated :-)

    1. J. Money March 7, 2016 at 2:15 PM


  20. Lena March 7, 2016 at 2:41 PM

    This is an AWESOME list!! Thanks so much for including me!

  21. Melanie @ Dear Debt March 7, 2016 at 3:01 PM

    Love these tips! It’s always fun to find new hacks to keep you motivated :)

  22. EL March 7, 2016 at 3:35 PM

    It’s amazing how much great info can be had by just asking. Simple yet effective money advice, can do wonders for anyone’s net worth year after year if they stay consistent with good behaviors.

  23. Brad B. March 7, 2016 at 6:15 PM

    Automation is the key. I automate every aspect of my financial life that I can.

    Also, selling on craigslist. As I try to minimize the wasteful possessions around our house, I find it easy to sell items that we no longer have use for.

  24. Crystal March 7, 2016 at 6:28 PM

    Thanks for the inclusion! And wowza, our friends are pretty money-tastic!

  25. Stockbeard March 8, 2016 at 6:55 AM

    I look at my wealth evolution graphs until my eyes bleed. Keeps me focused :)

    1. J. Money March 8, 2016 at 4:27 PM

      Haha… You’re in good company here :)

  26. Ruby March 8, 2016 at 7:12 AM

    We use the saving for a new appliance/car method before your current one breaks. We use half of our side hustle money (in this case our airbnb earnings) for that purpose. The other quarter, we put in as additional mortgage principal payments, and the last quarter we keep as ‘fun’ money: be it travel or whatnot. Always remember that even while side hustling, you have to pay yourself off too ;) makes you more motivated to do things.

    1. J. Money March 8, 2016 at 4:26 PM

      Yes! Great idea! I used to spend at least 50% of my “extra” money back in the day pre-financial obsession, but now I rarely go that extreme haha… I can get down with 25%’ish for sure.

  27. Joe March 8, 2016 at 9:24 AM

    For annual bills, we break them out throughout the year and accrue them monthly. Then they’re in the checking account when the expense comes up. It’s not always fun to see how much your “true” expenses are when you have the monthly accruals in there, but it’s accurate!


  28. Amy @ DebtGal March 8, 2016 at 12:07 PM

    Lots of good ideas here – thanks!

    I WISH I could get away with sending my husband a daily net worth update! In a recent conversation, he told me he thinks I’m obsessed with personal finance, and need to stop badgering him about it. (Full blog post about that “fun” conversation coming soon…)

    1. J. Money March 8, 2016 at 4:22 PM

      Haha… that’s going to be a fun one to read, too :)

  29. Clever girl finance March 8, 2016 at 4:01 PM

    these tips are superb – this tip is now me!

    “I play around with compound interest calculators a lot, haha. It makes me super motivated to invest/save as must as possible. – TheFreedomFromMoney.com”

    i also love the one on paying yourself a penalty everything you eat out.

    p.s. I’m obsessed with your podcast!! LOVE IT!

    1. J. Money March 8, 2016 at 4:18 PM

      Thank you so much! We should collaborate on something down the line :)

  30. kk March 8, 2016 at 4:29 PM

    These are great ideas and I don’t even know what some of them are talking about :/
    I suck at money and need to dig out of debt. I have been reading a lot and it helps me to realize that I really need to do it. I need constant reminders because it is not in my nature to save at all. Last week I called USAA based on a blog I read that said that is what you use. I did not qualify, but they referred me to Liberty Mutual, as their partner, and I got cheaper insurance with some great perks for educators! So I am learning and trying. I just have to keep going and improving. I am very interested in possible side hustles.

    1. J. Money March 8, 2016 at 4:42 PM

      Yes – that’s all you can do! Keep reading and staying motivated, and then of course making sure to *take action* and start implementing the things that make the most sense while avoiding all the nonsense in the world… Which you’ll soon come to realize there’s a lot of it ;)

      Good job being on $$$ blogs!

  31. Brittney @ Britt & the Benjamins March 8, 2016 at 9:49 PM

    Little trick for all the shopping addicts out there:

    On the infrequent occasions I do go shopping, I wait a week before taking tags off of anything. This way I ensure that I really love whatever I bought and didn’t just “impulse” buy. It’s actually worked like a charm – I’ve taken many things back I wanted at the time but didn’t seem worth the money a week later.

    1. J. Money March 12, 2016 at 3:44 PM

      Love that! Excellent idea!

  32. NDQ March 10, 2016 at 7:52 AM

    “Delayed spending” is so true of most “savers.” I am obsessed about getting as much money as I can into investments that will help me retire early. I still live a great life with many luxuries, but I am on track to be retired while all of my friends and family will be working well into later life.

    This is a great list!

  33. Randy March 11, 2016 at 5:49 AM

    I really like the concept of no spend weekend. We are going to give this a try. Really nice post! Thanks

    1. J. Money March 12, 2016 at 3:45 PM

      Let us know how it goes!

  34. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank March 12, 2016 at 5:26 PM

    I like the concept of penalty whenever I eat out. This would really stop me from eating out more often and would surely help me build savings as I spend so much on eating out (I don’t bring lunch to work).

  35. Tonya March 12, 2016 at 8:10 PM

    Love these and wanting to try some of them. I just did a great one today. My son is my mom’s only grandchild so he gets spoiled: clothes, toys, books, everything! When he grows out of it I go to an annual “mom to mom” sale. It’s like a garage sale just for moms with baby and kid stuff. I registered for a space for $25 and today I made over $350 in 3 hours, deposited it immediately into my bank account, and paid off a credit card.

    1. J. Money March 15, 2016 at 6:38 AM

      BOOM! Beautiful!

  36. Stefan Sharpe March 14, 2016 at 10:53 PM

    Hey J. Money,

    Great article today! I have been reading your blog and this is my first comment. I particularly enjoy your budgeting section with the templates. I am launching my own financial blog and was hoping you could take a look at my budgeting post as I have some great tips that I have not seen. http://www.themillennialbudget.com/simple-budget-savings-hundreds/ thanks and keep up the great blog!

    1. J. Money March 15, 2016 at 6:40 AM

      Hey Stefan, congrats on the new blog! I hope you really enjoy doing it :)

      Just checked out your article – digging that Cash Challenge! A weekend is too easy though, gotta try for a week or even a month! (*gasp*) That’s actually on my list of things to try some day… going cash free for 1 month+. Just haven’t brought myself to do it yet :)

      1. Stefan March 15, 2016 at 9:27 AM

        I totally agree. My thinking behind just one weekend is that it is doable for many people and the weekend is when most people spend money. People are amazed at how much saving $5 every weekend can do!

        1. J. Money March 16, 2016 at 5:15 PM

          Yup! For sure.

  37. Colin March 15, 2016 at 9:02 AM

    I love most of these tips, and use some of them myself. One I did was when I paid off my truck, I set up an automatic transfer to put that same amount into savings every month. I’m driving a 10 year old truck, and paying myself for it every month!

    I’m surprised to see so many people paying off mortgages early. Most mortgages are pretty low interest (my highest is 5.25%) while long-term market returns are 6-8%. Here’s a trick I just thought of: Every time I think about paying off my mortgages early, I’m going to take whatever amount I was going to give away at the bank, and use it to buy more VTI shares, and watch it grow (instead of disappear).

    1. J. Money March 16, 2016 at 5:18 PM

      Haha… yeah, the old mortgage vs investing debate. Two sets of pros and cons, so gotta go with the one that excites you most – at least in my opinion. Or the one that actually gets you to *take action* for that matter! :)

  38. Mike @ TipYourself.com March 16, 2016 at 11:11 AM

    Love all the small savings Tips. It’s amazing how fast they add up, but more importantly it’s a positive boost of motivation. Great tips from WhatMommyDoes about putting $10 aside for savings each time she wants to eat out. Love it.

  39. Kurt March 16, 2016 at 12:34 PM

    I like the tip of getting a 30-year mortgage but making payments as if it were a 15-year mortgage. Yeah, the interest rate will be slightly higher, but I like to consider that a premium for insurance against some kind of setback–I could always revert to the 30-year payment if, for example, my household income were slashed due to a layoff. The HUGE upside of course is the mortgage will be paid off far sooner!

    1. J. Money March 16, 2016 at 5:20 PM

      YUP! Exactly! Lots of built in flexibility there – I like that idea a lot. Provided you’re diligent enough to in fact pay more down when you’re able to and don’t end up spending it elsewhere :) That’s the only nice thing about the 15 year loans besides the rate – forces you to get it paid off in time, haha…

  40. jen March 22, 2016 at 4:59 PM

    Great website. First time visitor. How would you save money up for home improvements? I need an account that I can access and will earn money! Thanks

    1. J. Money March 23, 2016 at 2:29 PM

      Glad you like!

      Nothing too exciting out there I’m afraid in terms of interest/earning outside of accounts you wouldn’t want to touch for a while (ie investing), however if you’re looking to just stash as much away as possible, try out Digit.co – they analyze your spending and will save a few dollars for you every few days into a separate account that it knows you won’t miss…

      You can see my review of them here if you’re interested:


  41. Tyler @ Oddball Wealth June 13, 2016 at 1:16 AM

    Great money tips! I always enjoy reading about tips and hacks based on the world of finance.

  42. Annie October 16, 2017 at 8:47 AM

    Hi there J. Money,
    Could you email me and let me know where I could get your podcasts from to listen to?