8 money hacks that busy people swear byA little old-fashioned meal planning can help you save hundreds on groceries per month. (Dreamstime/TNS) Pen & Paper
Just because you don’t have time to clip coupons or hit every sale in the tri-state area doesn’t mean you can’t still save money. In fact, even the busiest personal finance pros take advantage of easy ways to cut costs.
Some of the best money hacks take just minutes to achieve — and have the potential to save you a bundle. From scoring free shipping to doing quick money checkups, use these money-saving tips.
GET FREE SHIPPING AND EARN CASH BACK
Shopping at cash-back and rewards websites can help you earn money and points on your everyday purchases. But savings expert Lauren Greutman uses a hack to save even more money, as well as time that you might otherwise spend wandering the aisles.
“Order online at stores like Walmart and Target through Swagbucks, and earn points that you can cash in for free gift cards to stores like Amazon and PayPal,” she said. “During your order, select ‘ship to store,’ pick it up for free and you have just earned cash back on your purchase without having to pay for shipping.”
USE APPS TO TRACK YOUR FINANCES
Angie Nelson from The Work at Home Wife, a site that offers tips for finding remote work opportunities, is a huge fan of using technology to save time and money.
“Sign up for a money-monitoring service like Mint or Personal Capital,” she said. “Unnecessary expenses and avoidance of saving can add up quickly when your busy mind is on other things. A quick glance or notification will let you know if you are on track or falling behind.”
MEAL PLAN LIKE A BOSS
A little old-fashioned meal planning can help you save hundreds on groceries per month, said Greutman. It can also save you a lot of time by having your meals prepped ahead of time.
“I like to make a month’s worth of meals in one afternoon,” she said. “For only $150, I can make 20 dinners in just under three hours. I use ingredients from Aldi, and this helps me keep my grocery bill low and my stress level down.”
SET CALENDAR REMINDERS
Reviewing your accounts is not only one of the best ways to save money, but also a crucial task for your financial well being. It can help you keep tabs on your spending and make sure you’re on track to meet your goals. Furthermore, keeping a steady date with your finances can help you spot potential problems early on, before they become more challenging — and time-consuming — to resolve down the road.
“Set a recurring event in your calendar to review your financial accounts at the same time and day each week, month, quarter or year,” said Taylor Schulte, a certified financial planner and founder of Define Financial, which offers fee-only financial planning and investment help. “Just like everything else in your busy life, if it’s not on the calendar, you probably won’t get to it. This hack will also help (you) develop a healthy habit, and eventually you might not even need to rely on your calendar.”
SELL YOUR OLD STUFF ONLINE
You can also save time and money by selling your old items or items you find at thrift stores or on eBay for profit, Greutman said.
“One way that I make extra cash is to buy name-brand clothing at thrift stores and sell them for profit on eBay,” she said. “I find a dress for $4 and sell it for $50. This is a great way to make extra cash from home.”
MONETIZE YOUR DOWN TIME
Another way you can make money during your free time is by watching videos and taking surveys online on a site like Swagbucks, said Greutman.
“I love taking surveys and watching videos in my down time,” she said. “I might as well be making money while relaxing.”
USE YOUR CREDIT CARD FOR EVERYTHING
Teresa Mears is CEO of Living on the Cheap, which offers users access to daily deals along with tips for cutting costs on everything from travel to groceries. She saves time and money by paying for everything with her credit card. Keeping most expenditures on one account can help streamline your budget-tracking and bill-paying process.
“I charge everything I can to one credit card, and then pay it off manually once a month,” she said. “I get email alerts for the accounts, like electric and water, that I can’t charge to the card automatically.”
DO A 5-MINUTE MONEY CHECKUP
If you can spare just five minutes each day, Greutman has a money hack that can help make managing your finances a breeze.
“Every morning, my husband and I sit down and do a five-minute money checkup,” she said. “That way, we talk about what we have to spend money on that day, review the budget, and we both know what the day’s money movement is.”
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