The One Hack That Helped Me Save Thousands: 7 Stories
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monique“I reset my account each time I get paid.”

Monique Derico, 24, account coordinator in Boston, Mass.

“It’s very easy for me to get discouraged when I don’t hit my financial goals—which is why I came up with a key strategy when I graduated from college in 2014: Every time I get paid, I sit down and ‘spend’ all of my money on paper.

I budget so that all my bills and financial responsibilities are accounted for, then allocate a portion of what’s left to some (low-cost) leisure activities. Then, the night before I get paid again, I ‘reset’ my bank account by rolling outstanding funds directly into my savings account. My thinking is that if I haven’t spent it before the next pay period, I should be saving it.

This has turned out to be very effective for me because I don’t always have much wiggle room in my budget. My rent takes up half my income, and other variable expenses, like fluctuating utility bills, can eat up a good portion of what’s leftover… But I’m continuing to build a cash cushion, while still taking care of my financial obligations. This method enabled me to save $6,000 in a 19-month stretch.”

eagan“I sold my car.”

Eagan Heath, 32, founder of an online marketing company in Madison, Wisc.

“This may sound extreme, but back in July 2014, I sold my Subaru Outback for $10,500. Madison has plenty of transportation options if you’re willing to get a little creative. Since ditching my car, I’ve come to rely on the bus, my bike and Uber to get around.

I’ve saved at least $6,500 per year in car payments, gas, parking and insurance costs. As a bonus, I’ve transformed my transit time into an opportunity to read, listen to podcasts and work on my business. It was a no-brainer decision that’s given my savings account a nice bump.”

greg“I make my own coffee.”

Gregory Golinski, 37, marketing coordinator in Phoenix, Ariz.

“Every month, I save a good chunk of money using one very simple hack: making my daily coffee at home. About two years ago, I invested in a high-quality coffee machine that set me back about $700, but the big-picture savings have been well worth it.

At one point, I’d been spending roughly $4 a day on my morning cup of Joe. Now I’m my own barista, easily saving me $1,500 a year—money I’ve used for two different trips to the south of France. Another perk is that I actually really enjoy learning about the craft: the dozens of ways to make a great cup of coffee, different types of beans and so on. For me, it’s been a win-win.”

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