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Personal Finance Hacks

Money cannot buy happiness, but the truth is, if you’re already happy, money can help alleviate the stress and problems of everyday life.

Most people tend to spend whatever they earn, regardless if it’s a lot or a little. This is why most people “feel” as if they’re poor or “not rich”. Regardless of how much or how little money you have, you can make your money go a lot further and work for you better.

Personal finance hacks can greatly enhance your financial health and stability. They include budgeting your expenses to better track and control your spending, establishing an emergency fund for unexpected expenses, and minimizing debt to reduce financial stress. Additionally, taking advantage of automatic contributions can make saving and investing easier.

1. Spending Less

  • Shop Less: Only shop for groceries one time a week, instead of any time you run out. If you can stretch it out, only go every two weeks. The fewer times you go into a store, the less money you’ll spend overall on last-minute purchases.
  • Use a List: No matter what you’re buying, whether groceries, clothing, or supplies, always shop with a list. Don’t buy anything that is not on the list.
  • Research: To take the list a step further, only buy things within the price ranges you’ve determined are good deals. If you want a new blazer and you’ve set the bar at $50, don’t go over it; shop until you find exactly what you want.

2. Saving More

  • Save the Difference: If you budgeted X amount of dollars for something, and you found it cheaper, save the difference. Since it was already budgeted at a certain amount, this is almost like found money.
  • Save Your Change: When you buy something, only pay with bills. Collect all the changes at the end of each day. At the end of the year, take whatever change you have saved to the bank and add it to your savings account.
  • Automatic Withdrawals: Most banks and employers now offer automatic withdrawals for savings accounts or investments. If you get this setup, you’ll never see it. Shoot for 10 percent of your earnings or whatever your company will match as the minimum amount.

3. Get Good Deals

  • Have Plenty of Cash: The more cash you have to offer someone on something they’re selling, the more power you have. It doesn’t matter if it’s a washer and dryer, a bed, or a car: if you have the cash to give, you’ll get a better deal.
  • Deal Directly: Don’t use a travel agent to go places; instead deal directly with the resort, airline, or rental car company for everything you want. You’ll get better deals or at the very least the same deal as the others.
  • Rental Car: Don’t rent from the airport; instead rent from a nearby location that will bring the car to you. You’ll save money this way. Bonus: always fill up the car yourself before returning it; it will save you money.
  • Be Ready: If you’ve saved money all year long, and keep performing needed maintenance on your stuff, you’ll avoid last-minute disasters as you’ll be ready for issues that pop up.
  • Do a Check-Up: Periodically, do a financial check-up by calling the phone company, cable company, insurance company, and anyone else you pay monthly to ensure that better deals have not come up recently.

Final Thoughts

Most people have limited resources, but they can make their money go a lot further. This involves some planning, research, and understanding of what you can and cannot live without. It's also beneficial to diversify your income streams, potentially through a side job or passive income. Prioritizing retirement savings, understanding your taxes, and maintaining a good credit score are also crucial elements. Lastly, continual learning about financial management can significantly improve your financial decisions and success.

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