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Looking for clever money hacks that can help you save money?
Here are 8 money hacks that I have personally used to save thousands of dollars a year.
Money hack #1: Earn Cashback On Things You’re Already Going To Buy
Every month, there will be stuff that you need to buy, be it essential purchases or non-essential purchases.
When you make a purchase, it’s best that you do it with a cashback card or sign up with a cashback site such as Rakuten.
What’s good about signing up with a cashback site is that it can give you a lot of value up to 40% cashback with Rakuten for example.
Now, how do you use cashback site like Rakuten?
First, you sign up with them for FREE.
Next, to get cashback from over 2500 stores such as Amazon, Walmart, and Macy’s.
In fact, when you sign up with Rakuten now, you receive an instant $10 welcome bonus for FREE.
But, to claim the FREE $10 cash, you need to make a first time purchase worth at least $25.
It’s actually quite a good deal because it’s equivalent to getting a cashback of 40% for things you are already planning to buy anyway.
Furthermore, you can earn a $25 referral bonus for every friend that signs up through your invitation link.
So, if you get 10 of your family and friends to sign up to receive the $10 free cash, you will get $250 in referral bonus.
Money hack #2: Shop Online
On top of getting cashback on as many of your purchases as possible, one other way to save a lot of money is to shop online on big e-commerce platform.
First of all , it’s easier for you to compare prices and reviews across different e-commerce platforms to find the best deals before buying.
Second, many of these big e-commerce platforms regularly have promotions, especially during holidays.
Also, from time to time, they give out coupons or discount codes that you can use to get even more savings.
Lastly, you can save many trips to the supermarkets and shopping malls.
As a result, you can spend less on gas and also have more time to do things that really matter to you.
Money hack #3: Always Google For Promotion or Discount Code
Before you buy anything, you should always search online and see if there is any coupon or discount code.
Just go to Google and use the following keywords:
- Things you want to buy + ” promotion”
- Things you want to buy + ” promo code”
- Things you want to buy + ” discount code”
- Things you want to buy + ” special offer”
- Things you want to buy + ” coupon code”
This applies to almost everything like car rides, restaurant dining, flight tickets, hotel bookings, grocery shopping, movie tickets, theme park tickets, Netflix subscription, event tickets, and food delivery.
Here’s an example.
For restaurant dining, what I usually do is to search for the current dining promotions before I make a booking.
Every month, banks will some up with new credit card dining promotions.
So, why should you pay full price when you can get a nice discount with your credit cards?
Besides credit card dining deals, you can also find a lot of good deals on restaurant booking websites, food delivery apps and general online shopping deals websites.
For example, Uber Eats is one of the most popular food delivery apps.
A simple Google search returned me a list of promo codes for the current month.
Some offer free delivery while others offer discounts on your total bill.
Money hack #4: Buy Used Whenever Possible
There are things that I will NEVER buy second hand such as:
- Breast pumps
- Milk bottles
But, there are other things that I will buy used whenever possible on selling apps such as Letgo and Decluttr.
Here are some examples:
- Furnitures (chairs, tables, tv console, etc)
- Kids’ toys ( train sets, scooter, bikes, etc)
- Baby gear (stroller, baby chair, children’s car seats, etc)
- Musical instruments (guitar, piano, etc )
- Sports Equipment (golf clubs, treadmill, stationary bikes, etc)
- Tickets/Gift cards
For my son’s toys, I try to buy used toys as much as possible.
This is the train track sets I bought on one of the selling apps.
If I were to buy brand new train sets like this, it would have cost me hundred of dollars.
But, I got a great deal because the lady was in a hurry to sell it away and move back to her home country with her family.
Money hack #5: Buy In Bulk Or Large Quality During Sales Promotion
Everyone knows that it’s cheaper to buy in bulk.
For example, the price will be much lower if you buy a large bottle of shampoo than a smaller one.
Here are other things that you should try to buy in bulk:
- Paper towel
- Tooth brushes
- Coffee supplies
- Hand soap
- Vitamins & Supplements
- Cleaning supplies
- Pet food
On top of buying in bulk, here is something else that I will do.
When there is a great sale for non-perishable essentials such as toilet paper, hand soap, toothpaste, shampoo, shower gel and laundry detergent, what I do is that I will buy months’ worth of supplies at one go.
It not only helps me save more money by not having to pay full price for it, but it also helps me save time from having to keep buying it from time to time.
Money hack #6: Buy House Brands
If you go grocery shopping at Walmart, you might have seen a lot of items sold under the brand “Great Value”.
Great Value is a house brand owned by Walmart.
How it works is that Walmart gets manufacturers such as ConAgra to make and package products for it to sell under its own brand.
So, the quality of the products is generally as good as that of branded ones but at a lower price because of lower marketing and advertising expenses.
Amazon is doing exactly the same thing.
Next time, when you shop on Amazon, you might see more listings for its house brands. ( yes, that’s how it makes money)
So, at the end of the day, unless you are very loyal to a brand, it will definitely save you some money by switching to house brands.
Money hack #7: Sell Used Items
If you have a lot of things that you no longer need or use, you should list it on selling apps such as Letgo and sell it for some extra cash.
It not only declutters your home, but it also puts some money in your pocket.
To get started, all you need to do is to download the selling app on your phone and then start listing the items that you want to sell.
Here are some tips to help you sell your stuff faster:
- Clean it before photo-taking
- Take nice photos
- Price it reasonably and fairly
- Write the item’s description in greater details
Money hack #8: Use TRIM To Reduce Your Bills
There are a lot of money hacks apps.
Trim is one app that I highly recommend you to use.
Here are some of the things it can help you do:
- It negotiates cable, internet, phone, & medical bills
- It analyzes your transactions to find all your recurring subscriptions and cancel unwanted subscriptions for you
- It lets you grow your money with a high-yield savings account. Get a 4% annualized bonus on your first $2,000 and 1.1% after that. All funds are FDIC insured up to $250,000.
- It negotiates with your bank or credit card provider to lower interest rates (APRs), waive interest charges, and get refunds on unfair bank fees.
So far, Trim has saved its users more than $20 million by automatically taking care of their day-to-day finances.
Now, is Trim free?
Signing up for a Trim account is completely free.
With your free account, you can enjoy most of the benefits without paying anything at all.
Money hack #9: Max Out 401K Contribution & Invest It Wisely
If you are working for an employer that provides 401k plans and also 401k contribution match up to a certain percentage of your salary, then you should take advantage of it by contributing enough to your 401k to get the maximum of the employer’s 401k contribution match.
That’s free money that you would have missed out if you didn’t contribute at all or didn’t contribute enough.
On top of that, you should try as much as possible to max out your 401k contribution to get the maximum saving on your income tax.
So, what do you do with all the money in your 401k?
Generally, your 401k plan providers will offer you a wide range of investment options such as ETFs, mutual funds, target date funds and bonds.
Avoid mutual funds because the fees are just too outrageous, given the poorer performance of most mutual funds compared with ETFs.
So, invest the money wisely and choose funds with the least amount of fees because even a small amount of fees can reduce your investment returns significantly over time.
Money hack #10: Make A Shopping List Before You Buy
One of the reasons that people end up in credit card debts is they cannot put their spending under control.
In other words, they are very prone to impulse purchases.
So, making a shopping list before you buy can help you reduce impulsive spending.
Another good way is to make a spending rule – give it some days to think about it before you actually make a purchase.
Why is this going to help?
Because most of our purchase decisions are made based on emotions and then we justify them with logic.
So far, this rule has worked very well for me.
Often, I find myself putting a lot of items in my online shopping cart because the marketing was done so brilliantly that it convinced me that I should get it at that moment.
But, when I go back and look through the things that I wanted to buy a few days later, I realize that most of them are not really essential or necessary.
So, what I do next is to delete them from my cart.