Money Hacks to Spend Less and Keep More of What You Earn

This is a section out of the forthcoming Money Hacks eBook – I think it’s too useful to withhold any longer. Cute infographic below! Minimalist to anti-capitalist, frugal to broke, I bring you…

Money Hacks to Spend Less

One of the biggest hacks I know is: spending less money. It is also one of the most basic – and that’s why it works. Out of the working-class tenacity of single moms, the minimalist ethos of financial independence, the ecologically-grounded frugality of hippies, and the anti-capitalist schemes of punks I bring you the hack: Spend Less of Your Money – on Purpose.

Many of these I picked up from growing up poor and spending many years as a weirdo artist with super limited resources, and the rest I got from good folks like you telling me what you do. Feel free to comment with your spending hacks – I’d love more to add to this list!

Here’s an incomplete list of ways you can hack spending money, and accomplish spending less of your money:

Lower costs on purchases

  • Don’t buy crap you don’t actually want or need – save 100%!
  • Wait for a sale or haggle on the price of something you want
  • Buy a generic brand instead of a name brand
  • Buy used, thrift store, secondhand


Get things for free

  • Get things out of a free box, giveaway, or off the street out of others’ trash
  • Try using the free exchange boards online, like Craigslist Free
  • Tell other people when you’re looking for a thing and see if they can loan or give it to you


Collect card points

  • Collecting grocery store points and using them to buy food
  • Collecting credit card points and redeeming them for cash or other values
  • Collecting airfare points on a card


Get others to generate the resources or pay for things for you

  • Open an account to get bonuses
  • Win the lottery
  • Enter and win an affordable housing lottery
  • Plan for expected gifts or inheritances
  • Couchsurf, travel, stay with people


Using the extras at work

  • Use your work’s professional development to get classes and courses paid for
  • Does your job offer lunch? Great, that’s one less (pricey over the year) cost
  • Use a FSA account to lower taxes and buy health care or pay for medical expenses


Using loopholes

  • Clip coupons
  • Use a 0% APR credit transfer – the thing you bought is still on you, but you delay the interest, which means someone else is paying the inflation loss on the money
  • Travel using airfare glitch prices – we’re often ‘hacking’ without realizing it by maximizing mistakes or system blips. It’s only a good deal if you were going to spend the money anyway…
  • Take your taxes into an accountant or tax preparer so they can maximize your tax return; paying someone to do this for you often means getting more than you paid them back!
  • Make a pre-tax IRA, 401k, 403b retirement account contribution to lower taxes
  • Manage your cash deposits so as to stay within a certain tax bracket


Leverage your small business to reduce taxes owed

  • Use your small business income to pay for classes and courses and write them off
  • Buy things you need for your business and write them off on your taxes
  • Open an LLC or Corp to avoid taxes


Share things!

  • Share your car / bike and split the cost
  • Share your apartment / house
  • Share your Netflix / Hulu login
  • Share food in your kitchen
  • Share large electronics, tools, garden supplies, books….(this list could get very long.)


Do it with others

  • Have an accountabilibuddy, or someone you’re accountable to
  • Volunteer to save on cover/entry
  • Have a potluck instead of going out to dinner
  • Barter or trade without money


… and of course – don’t forget another activity that can relieve your wallet: Bring More Money To You

  • Get a roommate, rent a room, or otherwise receive money towards your housing costs
  • Kick ass (according to your boss) and get given a bonus or raise
  • Straight up ask for a raise at your job or switch jobs to get a raise
  • Start a side hustle and bring in extra money
  • Raise your rates, or find an additional market you can serve or sell to that can pay higher rates for other services you can offer
  • If you have a partner and they have the means to support you or contribute more due to job or class, discuss it! E.g. “Marry up” but less icky.