The quest to save money is a lifelong one. We know the basics—we’ve talked extensively about important financial habits like building an emergency reserve and saving for retirement. And honestly, the hardest part about saving money is not spending it. But are there other ways we can save beyond the oft-mentioned? Of course there are. I recently discovered a Quora question that spoke to this very subject matter: What are the best money hacks? After combing the responses to find some little-known gems, along with some wise reminders, I’ve handpicked and summarized some favorites below—read on.
Perform regular maintenance on your car. One of the most surefire ways to go broke is to be surprised by an unexpected auto expense. Regular maintenance will optimize your car’s performance and longevity. Some things to keep in mind: Check your tire pressure with each fill-up; change your oil as recommended; do an annual check of brake linings, belts, and hoses; and have your car service with major mileage milestones.
Get smart about your utilities. Wrap your water heater with insulation to prevent heat from escaping, and set it on a timer overnight or while you are away, to prevent unnecessary heating use. Clean your refrigerator coils—as they build up with debris, dust, and the like, it requires more electricity to keep things cool. Also make sure your refrigerator is set to the optimal temperature.
Avoid ATM fees. If you can’t be trusted to go to your local bank’s ATM to take out cash, sign up for a free savings account through Charles Scwhab, Alliant, or Fidelity: They reimburse consumers for any and all ATM or foreign exchange fees they encounter.
Have great credit. This is easier said than done, but one of the biggest ways to save money in the long term is to improve your credit score. “The difference between a good and bad credit score,” one user notes, “is like 1%-3% difference in a home loan interest rate. With 30 years of compounded interest, that’s several thousand dollars.” Big numbers there. With a good credit score, you’ll also have better access to credit cards with great rewards.
Educate yourself about taxes. Hiring a tax accountant is wise if you have complicated expenses or a high income, but if you’re not making much and only have one employer, it’s not always a worthwhile expense. That said, if you don’t hire an accountant, at the very least educate yourself about taxes so you can optimize your tax return each year.
Record every transaction you make. Very few of us balance our checkbooks these days, but if you’re committed to saving, you should! Or at the very least, write down your transactions somewhere. The simple act of marking them is a bit of a hassle and will very likely discourage you from spending.
Don’t save your credit cards in your computer keychain. By not saving your credit card and billing information in your computer’s keychain, you’ll create a little bit of friction every time you want to buy something online. Every time you’re tempted to spend, you’ll have one more hassle to deal with before you can hand over that string of numbers.
Comparison shop. The simple act of googling a product you’re looking to buy will in many cases find you a better deal in just moments. If you’re applying for a home or auto loan, shop around at different banks for the best interest rate.
Visit Quora to see more of these money-saving hacks.
Keep your change handy with a couple of stylish picks below.
What else would you add to this list? Tell us below.