9 Money Hacks That Took Us From The Poorhouse To The Penthouse

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You might not believe it, but not too long ago (think: a few years) we weren’t prioritizing our finances at all. In fact, not only were we not prioritizing our finances, we were spending money like we had an unlimited supply. Going out to eat a few times a week, spending whenever we felt like it, and dropping $150/month on cable was the norm.

That all changed when we nearly committed financial suicide by buying a house we couldn’t comfortably afford. After pulling our heads out of our butts, we decided we needed a financial reboot. So that’s exactly what we did. Here are 9 money hacks we adopted that are changing the course of our financial future!

1. Tracking Our Net Worth

Mad Money Pup - poorhouse to the penthouse

Mad Money Pup loves watching his net worth skyrocket. #personalcapitalforthewin

Tracking our net worth was something we never did before committing to frugality and financial independence. Much to our surprise, tracking our net worth has been our single biggest motivator on this journey.

Whether you’re paying down debt or investing, your net worth will go up. This is especially motivating if your efforts are concentrated on debt repayment and you feel like you’re not making any progress.

In case you’re interested, we use Personal Capital to track our net worth. Not only is it easy to use, it’s also free. We like free. 🙂

2. Ditching The Gym

I ditched the gym for outdoor running and YouTube videos. And I must say, I have not been disappointed. It’s amazing how many free options there are on YouTube to stay fit.

I’ve been using high-intensity videos to cover cardio and strength training since we’ve been experiencing subzero temperatures in the northeast lately. Whatever you’re interested, YouTube has it.

3. Having Our Groceries Delivered

A fabulous money hack we absolutely love is having our groceries delivered. We use Peapod for our groceries, but there are other services available if you’re not in a Peapod hotspot.

Now I know you must be perplexed as to how this saves us money, so let me explain. You can also read this post all about it!

First, it keeps us out of the store and prevents us from throwing random items (that aren’t on the list) into the cart. It also allows us to easily search the specials and use our store card and any coupons we might have.

In addition, Peapod often emails coupons for up to $20 off our next purchase of $100 or more. So even though there’s a small delivery fee, it’s still way cheaper than using our car to go to the store and buying items that aren’t on our list.

Oh, and our time! I almost forgot to mention how much time we save by not having to physically go shopping. We save at least a few hours each month. That alone is worth it!

4. Cutting The Cord For The NVIDIA Shield

We cut our cable cord a couple of years ago and have never looked back. The best part about it was that our little girl never even noticed. Granted, she was very young when we did it, so that helped.

Our back up plan was that we could always give a simple call to reinstate it if we felt our lives were falling apart without having 100+ channels of nothing at our fingertips. Not surprisingly, our lives didn’t fall apart and we have never felt a desire to reinstate it.

With a simple 5-minute phone call, we saved ourselves $150/month!

These days, we hack cheap TV by paying less than $10/month for Netflix and we use our NVIDIA shield that we received as a wedding gift. The BEST wedding gift we got, I might add.

5. Picking Up A Side Hustle 

Tired of not having any money leftover at the end of each month? Take a look at some of the things we're doing to build our wealth! Saving money | budgeting | Building wealth | Stop living paycheck to paycheck | FIRE | FIOR | Investing | Tiny living | Cutting cable | Grocery delivery via @MadMoneyMonsterI picked up a side hustle at the end of 2015. When I started my side hustle, I really had no idea that it would turn into a money-making venture. But, it did. And I’m certainly not complaining. What was it? You’re reading it!

That’s right, in 2015 I started Mad Money Monster to chronicle my family’s journey from the poorhouse to the penthouse. Okay, maybe we weren’t exactly in the poorhouse, but it kinda felt that way at times.

Not only have I enjoyed building a wonderful community of readers (I’m lookin’ at you!), I’ve also met quite a few interested folks along the way.

It’s been an amazing journey and I highly recommend blogging as a work-from-home side hustle. Word of warning though, I haven’t experienced overnight success. It took many hours to build my site to where it is today. So, if you have the time to devote and you’re interested in creating your own community, give it go! And if you do, feel free to ask me questions if you get stuck or need an opinion.

6. Taking Our Data Package Down To Bare Bones

Yeah, we bit the bullet and reduced our Verizon mobile data package down to 2GB. The absolute lowest package they have. We also activated the feature that switches our service from LTE to 3G when we hit our limit, as opposed to being automatically charged for more data.

Now, I’m not exactly sure what’s going on, but we run out of data EVERY month and we have never noticed our phones running on 3G. Ever. We’re even still able to stream Netflix when we’re out of data. No buffering.

If we ever do run into problems, we have the option to increase our data at any point. Or, we can switch carriers altogether. But for now, this is working for us.

7. Opting For Slow Internet

Not only did we opt for the smallest mobile data package, but we also opted for the slowest internet connection. Just like our data package, we haven’t noticed any difference between the ultra-expensive connection we used to pay for and our current slow-as-a-turtle package.

True, we’re not gamers or streaming movies on 5 different TVs at the same time. So for now, this suits us just fine.

Other articles you might enjoy:

8. Super Glue For The Win!

Super glue is easily one of my favorites money hacks. I have extended the life of most of my boots for years beyond their normal lifespan with this awesome little invention.

I have also used it to repair our house! Yes, you read that right. I use super glue to repair things around our house. It’s also great for fixing Mini’s toys when something snaps or cracks. In my opinion, keeping super glue readily available in your home should be a frugal requirement.

9. Adopting A Selectively Frugal Lifestyle

Mad Money Cat - poorhouse to the penthouse

Mad Money Cat moved on up. #finallygotapieceofthepie

One of the absolute best things we ever did for our wealth was adopting a frugal lifestyle. By devoting thought to each and every purchase, we were able to prioritize what we should and shouldn’t spend our money on.

For instance, eating out used to be one of our biggest financial downfalls. But, not anymore. We decided that eating out is something that we can splurge on for special occasions, not whenever we feel like it.

Although we are definitely frugal, we don’t deprive ourselves of all pleasures. We like to say that we adopted a selectively frugal lifestyle because we are 100% okay with spending money, and sometimes a lot of money, on things we value.

So, just what do we value? Mostly our health, our home, and family experiences. Spending dedicated cash on these things is paramount to us and we will never feel bad about it.


Probably our single best money hack was our decision to stay in our small home. Instead of selling it and buying a bigger, better house, we renovated the one we already lived in. We’re currently enjoying every square inch of our small home and pocketing the difference. #winning

We might not be living in a penthouse yet, but these 9 money hacks are certainly propelling us in that general direction. 🙂

What is your single best money hack?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ms ZiYou Feb 6, 2018, 2:40 am

    Just to say good post, and more importantly, cute cat.

    • Mad Money Monster Feb 6, 2018, 6:34 am

      Haha…thank you. We so love him. 🙂

  • Wendy Jan 28, 2018, 11:11 am

    I am really going to have to try the food ordering/delivery one of the days as an experiment and see if it save me. I do find that I am picking up extras that I “forgot” every store I go in to.

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 29, 2018, 7:27 am

      I can’t tell you how much we love ordering our groceries online. You can sign up for unlimited delivered, too. That would save you from having to pick up stuff here and there. If you try it, stop back and let me know what you think!

    • Trenda Jan 29, 2018, 10:57 pm

      If you don’t want to pay the delivery fee, you can shop online at Walmart. They do the shopping, saving you time and from making extra purchases, and you set up a pick up time. You do have to drive to get it, but they bring it out to your car. Sweet!

      • Mad Money Monster Jan 30, 2018, 7:04 am

        I have heard about their service. Unfortunately, our closest Walmart is about a 20-minute drive. 🙁

  • Doc G Jan 20, 2018, 8:23 am

    Super glue. The best I’ve heard so far!

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 20, 2018, 11:42 am

      Ha! Thanks 🙂

    • Kim Feb 10, 2018, 2:15 pm

      Super. Glue. Or. Gorilla. Glue. Either. Works! Good. Idea

      • Mad Money Monster Feb 12, 2018, 7:29 am

        I never met a “super” glue I didn’t like. We’re not brand loyal. 🙂

  • Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early Jan 19, 2018, 1:55 pm

    Selectively frugal and the small home are some of my favorite money saving hacks. However, like you, we were spending way more than necessary until recently. We thought we were pretty frugal until I started tracking every penny and realized how much we actually had been spending.

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 19, 2018, 4:02 pm

      Yeah, unless you know where all the cash is going, you can’t truly know how well you’re doing.

  • CashflowKat Jan 19, 2018, 12:01 pm

    Super glue and hot glue guns!! Love them. Great tips all around for saving money, and these things really do add up!

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 19, 2018, 12:03 pm

      It really is amazing at how little tweaks here and there can add up to really BIG savings over time!

  • Jason Jan 19, 2018, 11:59 am

    Nicely done. One of the things I have started lately is to go give plasma again and the like. It isn’t much but it can put another $300 to $400 a month in your pocket and you can use it for a number of things.

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 19, 2018, 12:04 pm

      Wow! $300 – 400/mo is a nice little chunk of change. I’ve never done it myself, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Wendy Jan 28, 2018, 11:10 am

      Donating plasma got my husband and I through some pretty lean times in college as a young married couple with a little baby. They pay very well.

      • Mad Money Monster Jan 29, 2018, 7:25 am

        Oh, wow! I never would’ve thought of that, although I know people do it. 🙂

  • Javier Jan 19, 2018, 7:50 am

    We are pizzaholics and every game day that is what we ordered. Easily $25 or more every time.
    Now we make our own. Pita bread, jar of sauce, mozzarella cheese and some ham. 20 personals for about $20.

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 19, 2018, 8:02 am

      Very nice! We usually do Frozen Pizza Fridays to prevent us from ordering in or going out. It’s just enough to satisfy our junk food urges. 🙂

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