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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
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.
5. Picking Up A Side Hustle
I 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:
- F.I.O.R. – Financial Independence Optional Retirement
- How We’re Achieving FIRE/FIOR Through Selective Frugality
- Why Aren’t More Gen-Xers On FIRE?
- Cutting The Cable Cord To Financial Freedom
- The Long And Sometimes Windy Road To Financial Independence – Vol. 1
- Our Surprisingly Lazy (and Free) Money Management System
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
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. 🙂