6 Money Hacks to Make Life Easier
By Karen Cordaway
Every now and then we might discover a great tip that makes life so much easier. Whether you're perusing Pinterest, Reddit, Instagram or magazines, there are shortcuts you can take when it comes to spending and saving. Here are 6 shortcuts to make dealing with money a little easier.
1. Buy in bulk.
Sasha Mitchell-Fuller, a current producer at "The Dr. Oz Show," formerly of "The Tyra Banks Show," loves to stay current on fashion while putting together segments for TV, and believes you can have an up-to-date wardrobe with designer brands without depleting your bank account. She thinks getting a much-needed wardrobe reboot can happen all in one shot during the times of year where stores are known to have big sales.
This approach encourages shopping efficiency for those who have busy schedules and might find it hard to shop every season. Instead of having to stay up on every random sale throughout the year, Mitchell-Fuller uses this bulk shopping method for clothing and can insure that she can look polished for every season. She snags deals at stores like Zara and Nine West only during their 70 percent off sales. She adds, "These are also items that you can wear forever."
2. Be a super saver.
If you want to save money on a regular basis, think about how much you want to put away per month. Set savings goals to keep track of how much actually hits your bank account. You can automate this process on bank accounts like Capital One 360. There is a goal-setting feature that is easy to set up and keeps you aware of how close you are to reaching your goal whenever you login to your account, displayed as a bar graph next to the dollar amount inside the account. You can check in on multiple goals this way without ever having to touch a spreadsheet or calculator.
3. Create an out of sight, out of mind savings account.
If you're a spender and you tend to dip into your emergency fund any time you come up a little short, setting up a different savings account might be how you approach putting away money and keeping it there. If you make it a little less convenient to get the money, you may be less likely to touch it. Consider this to put money away for long-term goals or even an emergency fund for saving 3 to 6 months' worth of living expenses. This way, you won't see it on a regular basis and won't be tempted to think of it.
4. Take stock of the food you buy.
You might already get some savings at the grocery store by picking up sale items listed in the circular or by clipping a coupon or two, but another way to save money is to actually eat the food that you buy. Write a list of needed items. When you purchase the items at the store from that list, keep the list after shopping. You can keep it on the fridge or close by to remind you of what's inside the fridge. It's easy for something like broccoli or carrots to get thrown in a drawer and forgotten about, only to have them spoil. With a reminder of what you have, you can cook meat before it goes bad. You can also make sure you consume produce and other items that may perish quickly.
5. Make multiple accounts to put yourself first.
You may have heard of the phrase "pay yourself first" when it comes to investing. Think about applying this concept to other categories in your budget. You can make multiple bank accounts in many online banks. As long as you leave enough money to pay your bills and other expenses, ship the rest of the money to different accounts that you need to save for.
For example: if you own a car you'll need oil changes and other types of vehicle maintenance throughout the year. Figure out how much you spend annually for this. Then divide that number by 12 to figure out what that would cost you per month. You can sock away that amount of money so when the time comes to repair you vehicle, the money will be waiting there to pay for it.
Also, make accounts for things you want to do like taking a vacation, working on your house, having a party or any other activity that may require you to put money away little by little to be able to afford it. This way saving can also be rewarding instead of just putting out a fire when an emergency strikes. It can change your mindset and make the process more enjoyable.
6. Don't just coupon for food.
Take the same approach when couponing or getting discounts on more self-indulgent purchases. Many people use coupons for food and other necessities. While useful, it might not be as rewarding. Think about using the same money-saving method when it comes to splurging. Many spas have promotions, for instance. You can get a cheaper price for a massage or facial at certain times of year. You can also "bulk shop" or bundle services and spend less than you normally would. You can indulge a bit without going without clobbering your wallet.