Here are some of the most interesting, challenging, and useful life hacks to save money that will be valuable in saving your money and ultimately in improving your quality of life.
#1 Big spender
Whenever possible, keep larger denominations of currency in your wallet or purse. There is just something mentally challenging about breaking that $50 bill for a Big Mac and fries. It may even help you avoid fast food.
#2 Slow food
Eating out is a beast on budgets, but interestingly enough, many of your favorite foods available at fast food establishments can be made at home and at a fraction of the cost. And it may even be healthier for you. Many of your upscale restaurants serve food that is perhaps a little more challenging to prepare at home, but it can be done and it can be done much more affordably. And yes, you can make a beef wellington that will rival that of Chef Gordon Ramsay.
#3 Save that charger cord
iPhone and iPad charger cables aren’t exactly cheap and they have a major design flaw – the end of the cable itself where it goes into the charging piece is fragile, yet it is designed to bend, and eventually, it will fray. One way to save it is to use a spring from an ink pen and wrap it around the cable itself on both ends and it will preserve the weakest part of that cable.
#4 Heat up, cool down
During the summer months, turn up the thermostat 3-5 degrees and get the same kind of savings during the summer as you did in the winter. Energy costs are not going down by any stretch of the imagination, so whenever you can save energy costs, do it. And it’s good for the environment.
#5 Fly by night or day
By clearing your cache in your Internet browser, you can save as much as $50 on your flight reservations. It’s true! Your browser search is often predicated on the information stored in your browser cache and that’s the kind of thing the airlines see and figure that you are very serious about that trip and the prices will be higher.
#6 If the shoe fits
Are your shoes a bit too small? If that’s the case, put on three pairs of socks, then the shoes, and break out that hairdryer. Use the hairdryer on your shoes for 8-10 minutes and like magic, your footwear investment is saved – as are your toes. No need to waste fuel and head back to the store and then, waste time at the return desk.
#7 Cooldown, heat up
Did you know that if you turn down your thermostat, you could save up to 3% per degree? It’s true. Lowering your thermostat 5 degrees during the winter months will save you 15% on your bill.
#8 Automobile alley
When purchasing a vehicle, it’s important to get the Blue Book value of the vehicle and even a CarFax. But there is one more little life hack that can save you money and it has everything to do with timing.
If you purchase your vehicle at the end of the month, it’s much more likely that you’ll get a better deal as the sales department is attempting to close out their month. In this case, desperation sales work to your advantage.
The next hack in our list of life hacks to save money is monkeywrench. If you have a relationship with your mechanic, bring the mechanic along when you’re purchasing a vehicle. Even if you have to pay your mechanic $50, he/she could save you hundreds of dollars in repair costs by purchasing a lemon. With the mechanic there, your salesperson is less likely to gloss over any potentially hidden mechanical problems.
#10 Post-it cards
During the holidays, the urge to purchase those pretty greeting cards that sing Merry Christmas, bake cookies and do laundry is almost overwhelming. However, there is an alternative – postcards. Postcards are smaller and cost less to mail and you can purchase five or six postcards for every one greeting card.
#11 Pack it in
The average lunch meal runs a whopping $7 per meal – and that’s if you stick to the “affordable” side of the menu. If you’re one for convenience, you’re probably spending that easily. However, if you’re ready to change the menu of your financial life, pack a lunch and bring it to work with you. To say that you’ll save money by not eating out falls under the “profound grasp of the obvious” category, but
you would be surprised at how difficult it is for some people to avoid the trip out for lunch.
#12 Cafe’ money
Purchasing caffeinated beverages at trendy coffee bars can be very expensive. But let’s say that you have an image to uphold, what do you do about this conflict? You know that it’s the right thing to do to purchase coffee at the store and brew it in the comfort of your own home and even in your pajamas if you so choose.
While it may seem like a cheap alternative to purchasing a gift, writing a “year in review” about you and your family and sending it to relatives not only saves money, but it will be a gift that loved ones truly cherish. You’re giving them a look into the soul of your family and that is much more valuable than a Best Buy gift card.
#14 Off-season playoffs
The next hack in our list of life hacks to save money is off-season playoffs. Items that are out of season are significantly less expensive, saving you substantial money on that behemoth barbecue grill in the middle of December when there are three feet of snow on the ground. Summer fun items are also much less expensive during the winter months – and fan apparel is less expensive during the offseason as well.
#15 Restaurant supplies
Restaurant supply stores are well known for upscale cookware, but other items such as utensils, serving trays, and even tongs are often substantially less expensive. One mustn’t be Chef Ramsay to shop at these locations. Actually, most of them would prefer it if you’re not.
#16 Online shopping
While this cost-saving life hack may be listed in the “profound grasp of the obvious file,” shopping online for a wide array of items can save you money and yes, it can save you time equally. If you’re diligent, even with shipping costs, you’ll save on apparel, electronics, and other household and office items that you would otherwise purchase at higher prices.
#17 Air up
The next hack in our list of life hacks to save money is air up. If you have a vehicle, you’re certain to be impacted by fluctuating fuel costs. By simply maintaining factory-recommended air pressure in your tires, you will improve fuel economy and thereby save money. This will also serve to preserve your tire investment as even tire wear increases the life span of your tires. Tires can be extremely expensive, up to $500 per unit.
#18 Oil change
Scheduled maintenance on your vehicle is always a good thing, but far too often overlooked is the simple oil change. Follow factory recommended oil change schedules and the lifeblood of your power train will remain healthy and will even improve fuel economy.
#19 Leftover lunch-able
Taking your leftovers from the night before to the office for a mid-day snack is an excellent way to save money and reduce waste. Try it. You’ll like it – after all, you enjoyed it the night before.
#20 Hungry shopping
The axiom is true – never shop while you’re hungry. Take some crackers or a favorite snack along with you to the grocery store and your cravings for those fresh-baked pies and sausage links that are “on-sale” will go away. Better yet, eat before you go to the grocery store. Shopping while hungry will substantially increase your food costs.