Life Hacks to Save Money

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For this post, I’ll be giving you a list of money-saving life hacks. I’ve come across and tested these money hacks after years of trial and error. But before we go further, I’d like to point out that these are real money hacks. And by that, I mean they’re doable by regular people.

The internet is full of money hacks for all sorts of people. But to be honest with you, some of these money-saving hacks may not be appropriate for regular people. Have you ever encountered financial advice that requires an MBA to understand? Yeah, we won’t be giving you that type of advice here. I’m not saying they’re not useful. But I think regular people also need money-related life hacks that they can employ quickly and without any hassle.

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How to Cut Down on Travel Expenses

Here’s a pretty nifty money hack, if you travel a lot, and book flights online: dump your browser cookies first before you visit the booking site of your preferred airline. (Cookies aren’t actually edible; they are files a website puts in your computer so it’ll know what your site preferences are when you return to that site) And there’s a simple reason for that: if a website knows that you’ve visited their site several times (which it knows via cookies), there’s a chance it’ll jack up the prices of their tickets.

It’s kind of sneaky, but it also makes business sense: if you’ve visited a site multiple times, there’s a strong chance you’re actually planning on making a purchase. Since there’s a big chance that you’ll be a paying customer, the site will increase their prices slightly for you. As I said, it’s really sneaky.

To get around this, dump your browser cookies (your browser’s help function should be able to tell you how to do that) before you visit the site or sites. When the site doesn’t know you’re a returning visitor, it’ll put its best foot forward and give you better (read: lower) rates.

Some internet guru types even recommend you take it one step further: if you use Google Chrome, you can try the incognito feature. Other users even go so far as to use different browsers, different user accounts, and even different computers and devices, just to increase the odds of getting better prices.

A friend of mine who works in sales has to pay for his own business trips (it’s a hard way to make a living, I’ll tell you that), even uses a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to trick the website of his airline that he’s a new visitor. I don’t know if going so far as to use a VPN is needed, but my buddy swears that he was getting lower rates through a VPN.

But I do need to warn you that using a VPN might invalidate your booking, so proceed with caution. As for the other methods, I don’t think they’re deceptive. Since regularly deleting cookies is a completely legit thing to do (you should do it as part of your regular maintenance), there’s nothing wrong with doing it before you visit the airline’s website.

Also, take note that your final price might change when you factor in all the “add-on” expenses like seat area, size of luggage (both the check-in and the carry-on variety), and in-flight meals. Airlines have discovered that they can earn more by itemizing each and every aspect of their flight. So shop smartly, and be aware of all those add-on costs before clicking Book Ticket Now.

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Switch the Due Dates of Your Bills

A lot of Americans pay their bills late. It’s true for Americans, and I’m sure it’s also true for citizens all across the world. The interesting thing about these late payments is that not all of these people are hard-up, or don’t have the funds to pay their bills. It all comes down to a simple scheduling conflict.

Take me, for example. A few years before, I would (sadly) pay my credit card a few days past the due date. Not enough to incur a penalty, since my credit card had a three day grace period. But it still sucked not paying on the prescribed date, and I’m sure some banking overlord was aware of my payment schedules.

The reason was simple: my credit card bill was on the third of each month. I was a freelance writer and got paid via PayPal on the second of each month. By the time my PayPal funds had cleared, it was two or three days past my credit card’s due date.

So scheduling, not lack of funds per se, is often attributed to late payments. Now, there are a few ways to get around this. The first is to have ample savings, so you don’t have to bite your nails hoping your funds arrive before the due date of your bills. This blog is full of money-saving ideas (and money-making, too!).

The next method is to ask your credit card company (or cell phone carrier, or internet provider) for a schedule switch. Most companies are willing to accommodate requests to change their subscribers’ due dates. I guess these companies figured it’s better to change the dates rather than deal with repeated delayed payments.

In my case, I moved my credit card due date to the middle of the month. That way, I have sufficient buffer for my PayPal funds to clear. In your case, you can look at the schedules of your payables, and compare it to your paydays. If your due dates don’t work for you, don’t hesitate to ask your bank for a due date change.

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Make the Most of Your Retirement Fund

A lot of people know that the money they put into their retirement funds is tax-deductible. Meaning you don’t pay income tax on the money that goes into your 401(k)s and 403(b)s. But not a lot of people know that you could even get a tax credit on those contributions!

Managing your retirement fund is a serious affair, which is why to know more about this method, you should check with a licensed accountant.

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