One way to improve your finances is to spend less money. I’ll share with you some of the money hacks my wife and I use to cut our monthly spending.
Spending less money means you aren’t forced to work a dead end job just because it’s the only job with a large enough paycheck. Trust me, been there done that. As soon as I paid off my student loans and car loans, I said I was never going to borrow so much money again to where I was beholden to a job I didn’t like.
Sometimes, you can’t work more hours or switch careers to earn more money. When that’s the case, your only option might be cutting expenses when you get out of debt so you can live within a budget.
Switch to a Prepaid Cell Phone Plan
My wife and I used to have a contract (post-paid) wireless cell phone plan. You know, sign a contract for two years and pay a fee if you break it. We’ve been out of contract for several years now and kept upgrading our plan to get the best data rate, unlimited texting, etc.
What we didn’t realize is that be switching to a prepaid cell phone plan, we could get triple the data for a slightly lower price by using their prepaid plan.
For two lines, we were about $85 a month (after taxes) for 2 GB of shared with Verizon which we maxed out every month. By switching to Cricket Wireless (owned by AT&T), we now get 8GB of data (4 GB each) for $70 after-tax. And we no longer have to worry about overage fees or being throttled.
With this hack, we save $15 a month or $180 a year from this hack. Not a large savings, but considering we still have reliable cellular coverage and 4G LTE data everywhere we travel, this move just makes sense.
If you are out of contract with a major carrier, you will most likely get more data for the same price you pay now.
I recommend these prepaid carriers:
P.S. Buy a used phone on Craigslist to save even more money. Plus, you won’t be under contract for two years and be stuck with a monthly payment!
Shop with Rakuten (Previously Ebates)
If you’re like me and my wife, you shop online more than you do in-person. Before we make a purchase, we see if we can get cash back from a cash back portal like Ebates where you can get up to 40% cash back from nearly any online service.
We used Ebates to get cash back when we bought a new laptop and printer, booked a hotel room for vacation, signed up for home internet service, printed pictures from Shutterfly, bought Udemy courses, and even buy groceries in 2017.
How much you will save depends on where you shop. Walmart only has an everyday cashback rate of 1%, but we get 6% back on organic groceries we purchase from Vitacost.
Depending on how much we spend each month, we probably get at least $5-$10 back each month.
Buy Groceries with Ibotta
Another app I recently discovered was Ibotta (get a $10 bonus through this link).
My wife and I don’t take the time to clip coupons anymore because we don’t buy most of the products that coupons are for. I was surprised at how many savings opportunities there are with Ibotta.
To save money on your groceries, all you have to do is activate the offers before you check out and scan a copy of your receipt afterwards from any major grocery store plus discount stores including Walmart and Target. It’s easy peasy.
It’s one of the few ways that I know how to save money buying groceries in-store. Like Ebates, you can also save money shopping online at a variety of online stores for non-grocery purchases too including Amazon.
Sell Your Depreciating Assets
This is a hack that can instantly get you thousands of dollars back in cash if you have a car, boat, jetski, or any other material object that is valuable but you don’t use.
For me, it was a 2012 Ford Mustang GT. It was sold for $20,000 and now my daily driver is a vehicle worth $3,000. We used part of the money to pay down some of our home mortgage debt and invested the rest.
Because we drive less valuable vehicles, we also save money insurance. The monthly savings for us was $55 plus only having to buy regular unleaded instead of mid-grade or premium unleaded too.
Even if you don’t have a vehicle to sell, you probably have unused furniture, toys, books, clothing, etc that you can sell. If it’s collecting dust, these objects might be more valuable to somebody else. At this point in time, cash can be more valuable than the earthly items that take up space in your house and garage.
Cut the Cord
In twenty years, we might all be wondering if cable tv companies will still be in business. I say this because most Millennials and Gen Xers are ditching their cable tv for online streaming.
We like to stream because it’s significantly cheaper and there are very few commercials. Whenever I now watch live tv, I usually turn it off after the second commercial break (unless it’s the Green Bay Packers playing).
Here are the four best ways to cut the cord and still watch your favorite tv shows and movies:
If you currently pay $100 per month in cable, you can easily pay $0 if you can get all your programming through a Roku streaming device. Otherwise, a movie streaming plan costs about $10 per month and a Sling TV cable package costs $30.
Cancel Unused Subscriptions
Are you paying for unused subscriptions? If so, you can save some cash with the 100% free Trim Financial Manager.
In a matter of minutes, you get a text message (or Facebook message) with all your monthly subscriptions. If you want to cancel any, you simply respond back “Cancel _______” and Trim will work on canceling the streaming plans, insurance policies, and gym memberships you no longer use but still pay for.
Trim will also negotiate a lower rate for your cable tv and internet subscriptions when you’re overpaying!
Drink Water Instead Of Sugary Drinks
As of this writing, I haven’t drunk a soda (aka pop or “Coke”) in over two years. Not only do I save money by not paying $1.25 for a 20 oz. bottle, I’m also healthier. That means I will spend less money on health care in the future because of healthy behaviors.
I still need to cut out sugar and exercise more so I’m not a saint.
While my soda intake has decreased, my water consumption has increased. Don’t substitute bottled water for sugary drinks because you think this the only way to get good tasting water. A gallon of gas is cheaper than some bottled water.
Instead, buy a filter for your tap water (we use reverse osmosis) that makes your water taste good while eliminating nasty chemical and save you hundreds of dollars in the process.
Join a Health Sharing Ministry
One final recommendation I have is to join a health-sharing ministry. We save hundreds of dollars a month by going with this option instead of an Obamacare (Marketplace) health insurance plan where our premiums would be $700 a month before tax subsidies. We pay $135 a month instead and are exempt from the individual mandate fee.
With a simple phone call, we save $6,700 a year!
The seven money hacks can get you started to instantly start saving cash on a daily basis. I also have more money saving ideas you can read to boost your savings even more!
What other hacks have you taken to save a bundle!