9 Things You Need To Understand To Hack Your Money

image - Flickr / 401(K) 2012
image – Flickr / 401(K) 2012

Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: What are the best money hacks? Here is one of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread. Thank you to the team at Quora for making this happen!

Review all of your recurring bills and determine if they are appropriate for your needs and usage, call the providers and know what you are paying for and ask for ways to cut your bills.

1. Insurance: auto, homeowners, life, health

  • call your agent or company and have them explain the coverages and
    determine if the coverage is appropriate.
  • shop around – ask if there are discounts for bundling your coverages

2. Utilities: telephone, cell phone including your data plan, electricity, water, cable (rethink premium channels), gas

  • wrap your water heater with insulation and add a timer to turn it off overnight, during the day, when on vacation
  • clean your refrigerator coils and turn it to a higher setting
  • do you really need a data plan for each family member’s phone
  • do you really need a LAN line?
  • change out incandescent bulbs for energy efficient ones and turn off lights when not in use

3. Auto: nothing keeps a car running well as regular maintenance

  • fill gas late at night or early am when temps are cooler
  • check you tire pressure with each fill-up
  • oil change as recommended
  • do an annual check of brake linings, belts, hoses when you do your safety
    check

4. Home: Regular maintenance can help to avert larger and more costly repairs

  • Check appliances, seals on refrigerator doors, plugs, dryer vents and filters
  • Check the seal at the base and flapper in the toilet
  • lubricate hinges, tighten screws
  • wash windows quarterly
  • clean gutters annually
  • walk around your property and look for cracks, or other problems
  • seal and polish granite and marble
  • replace worn plumbing

5. Your savings

  • look at all debt and look for ways to lower the rates
  • aggressively pay off all non-mortgage debt
  • pay off all charge cards as they are incurred
  • look to get a higher rate on your safe money (there is no free lunch here –
    there are differences between ‘money markets’ from banks, brokerages,
    and discount trading companies
  • review your 401(k) investments semi-annually and set it up for
    auto-rebalancing at least quarterly

6. Get organized

  • know what your net worth is by category
  • organize your closets, drawers, office and see what what kind of stuff
    you have and forgot that you own
  • use what you have before shopping for anything else
  • simplify your life and stuff – it’s less wasteful
  • I pay as many bills and buy as much as I can on a card with generous
    points. If you also shop thru a shopping portal like FatWallet, you will
    accumulate both ways
  • shop for staples, food, gifts with a budget and an list
  • stock-up on staples
  • shop for basics and clothing off season

7. Taxes: hire a good accountant who is willing to work with you on making you more tax efficient.

  • I donate to non-profits every other year if I don’t have sufficient deductions
    that exceed the 2% of my AGI. This way, you don’t lose the 2% every
    year
  • save as much pre-tax, tax-free, tax-preferred as possible

8. Budget: Start every week with a fixed amount of cash.

At the end of the week, save what is remaining and start each week with the same amount. It’s forced savings and you should be more mindful of your spending if you are paying cash for everything. You can also move a fixed amount to a debit card and charge everything.

9. Simplify.

Live a simple life and be more conscious of where your money goes. Cut back on things that many not be that important and enjoy it when you do spend on something you value. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

This comment originally appeared at Quora.

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