I was over at MSN Money today reading some “money hacks”, and I thought several of them were quite useful. I thought I'd share some of them here with you, and maybe even add a couple of my own.
So without further ado, here are some money hacks from MSN that you can make use of in your everyday life:
- The four-penny hack. Want to reduce the number of pennies you lug around? Then always make sure to have four of them in your wallet. That way you'll always get silver coins back in change, rather than more pennies. Let's say your bill at the drive-through is $4.86. Hand the cashier a five-dollar bill and a penny, and you'll get a nickel and a dime in change. If your bill is $2.29, offer the fiver and four pennies; you'll get two bills and three quarters back
- The credit card hack. If you pay your credit cards off in full every month (which you do, right?), you can give yourself an interest-free loan of a month or more on major purchases simply by charging big-ticket items right after your card's closing date. Let's say your statement typically closes around the 20th of the month. You charge your big-ticket item the day after, the 21st.
- Prepay your big bills. This hack is an oldie but a goodie. Total up your big, non-monthly expenses for the year. Those can include holiday spending, birthday gifts, insurance premiums, vacations, property tax payments . . . anything that doesn't come in regular monthly chunks. Add in what you expect to spend on car and home repairs (inflate last year's bills by 10%). Now divide the total by the number of paychecks you receive each year, and have that amount transferred automatically to an account that pays a decent amount of interest (ING Direct and EmigrantDirect are two choices that have no minimums or account fees and that allow you to transfer money to and from your checking account). As the big bills pop up, you transfer money back into your checking account to pay them. No more sweating about paying for the holidays or that car repair bills — it's already covered.
- Program phone numbers into your cell phone. Program your credit card's hotline (in case of a stolen/lost card), your insurance carrier, and your emergency contacts (labeled ICE – Wife, ICE – Mom, etc)
Those are the hacks listed by MSN, here are a couple of my own:
- Keep a receipt tally instead of the actual receipts. If you are like me and you carry around a wallet and only enter receipts/expenses every couple of weeks, it can be a bit painful carrying around a big stack of receipts in your back pocket. Once you've got 10-20 receipts in there the wallet starts getting pretty thick. It can be enough to throw your back out from sitting on it funny all day. Do like I do and just cut a thin strip of paper (about as wide as a dollar bill) and keep it in your wallet. When you get a free moment take it out and enter the day's receipts in your wallet onto that paper. Be sure to note the store, expense amount and which form of payment you used for later use. You can then toss any receipts that you don't need later on for warranties, etc.
- Save your change. Just about every day I come home with a pocket full of change from the day. What to do with that money? Instead of keeping it with you and spending in the vending machine at work, save it all up in a change jar! You'd be surprised how quickly those quarters, nickels and dimes add up. After saving up our change for a few months we recently brought it to the bank and deposited almost $60 in change. That's a nice little sum you an add to your snowflaking out of debt program!
So do you have some useful money tricks that you'd like to share? Comment below and let us know what they are!