9 Ways to Hack Your Finances That You Haven’t Thought Of
At month’s end, do you wonder where your money went? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people battle with their bottom line every day. Managing your finances can feel like performing a recurring magic trick. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Savings accounts and investments might come to mind when you think about your budget. However, there are easier ways to keep money in your account. Try these nine finance hacks to hold on to more of your money.
1. Get a Credit Builder Card
A credit card can be a nice financial safety net. It can also be a financial liability if you spend too much. If pulling plastic out of your wallet for a bunch of purchases sounds too easy, consider a credit builder card.
These cards are great for anyone looking to build their credit. By setting up a funds transfer or initial deposit, you establish a credit limit. From there, the card works just like a traditional credit card when it comes to spending.
Make regular monthly payments or, better yet, pay off your balance each month to keep your account in good standing. The best part? Your great payment history gets reported to the credit bureaus, boosting your credit score.
2. Use the Rating System
How often have you received a business survey asking you to rate your experience from 0-10? You can do the same thing with your purchases to see which ones are worth repeating.
Keep track of what you spend money on. At the end of the week or month, rate each purchase from 1-3. If it didn’t make you happy, give it a “1,” or if you’re indifferent, a “2.” Give a “3” to expenditures that make you feel great. Focus on those highly rated purchases as much as you can.
3. Buy Groceries Online
This can be super convenient if getting to the store is difficult. Wandering through the cyber-grocery aisles offers other benefits, too.
When you’re in the physical store, it’s easy to throw that cool new item you see into your cart. That’s probably happened more times than you can remember, and those purchases add up.
Online grocery shopping takes away unnecessary temptations. Plus, you’ll know your total before you check out. That way, you can put items back if you need or want to.
4. Click ‘Unsubscribe’
A big part of spending is the suggestion you should part with your money. Limit those enticements, and you can potentially control the cash leaving your wallet.
You don’t see many newspaper or magazine ads these days. Instead, sale offers and discount codes reach you directly via email. Promo codes are great, but if you click the “Buy” button often, it’s time to exit the email list. Either click “Unsubscribe” or create a specific folder for those emails and check it infrequently.
5. Try the Envelope Method
This strategy is an effective way to monitor your cash. Dedicate an envelope to your frequent but expendable purchases. For example, if you enjoy seeing movies with friends or grabbing coffee on the go, set a spending limit. Put cash for those purchases in an envelope and pull from it weekly or monthly.
When the envelope is empty, you’re done until the next cycle. It’s a great way to stay on budget. Plus you’ll see how much you’re spending and can choose to pull back if you want to.
6. Use Top-Down Debt Reduction
If you owe a lot, it’s tempting to focus on paying small things off first. Little amounts feel much easier to manage, but it won’t help in the long run. Instead, try the debt avalanche method.
Concentrate on paying down accounts with the largest interest rates first. You’ll end up paying less interest over time. It will also feel great to chip away at the mental and monetary weight of large debts. Ultimately, it will free up more of your money because you are paying less interest.
7. Limit Your Credit Cards
It might sound good to have a bunch of credit cards in your name. Getting them is easy—you receive new credit card offers in the mail all the time. It’s true having credit available helps you build a good credit score. Having too many cards, however, is enticing and can create a financial trap.
If you have multiple options, it’s easy to overspend and lose track of perks that come with the cards. You could end up forgetting cash-back offers or other rewards. Rather than having a handful of cards, choose one or two and learn how to use them to your benefit.
8. Skip the Bottled Water
Water is the best drink for you, but it doesn’t need to come in a bottle. Plastic is bad for the environment, and it’s bad for your wallet.
You might think buying bottled water only costs you a few bucks here and there. Over time, though, it costs you much more. Consider two alternatives. If you can afford it, think about a full-house water filtration system for your tap water. The long-term savings are big, but systems are pricey. A water filter pitcher that sits in your fridge is a more affordable option.
9. Make Money Jars
Remember your childhood piggy bank? You probably watched it fill up or shook it to hear your coins rattle. You can do the same thing now with goals in mind.
Money jars dedicated to saving for something specific can be effective. Choose a Mason jar or a Tupperware container—what you use doesn’t matter. Label it and add money regularly. You can even challenge yourself to save every $5 that comes into your hands. However you do it, watching your money grow is motivating. Plus, it’s easier to stick to saving if you can see your progress.
Keeping tabs on your money can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Give these everyday finance hacks a shot, and you’ll see a healthier bank account over time.