I recently signed on to my Wells Fargo account to pay my mortgage and the statement said:
“Next Payment Due Date – July 1, 2020.”
I went ahead and paid my monthly payment when it hit me…
I am one month ahead on my mortgage.
Believe it or not, this actually happens every month. I log on, I forget I am paid ahead, I get excited, and then I just make the payment anyways to stay ahead and save a little money in the long run!
I call it my mortgage cushion.
Over the years I have realized that having a mortgage cushion isn't really a bad idea in the grand scheme of things. Paired with a 6-month emergency fund, having your mortgage paid in advance helps when life knocks, but it also one of the best tips on saving money that I recommend!
17 Unusual & Weird Tips on Saving Money
Here is a list of 17 tips on saving money, some which are a little weird – but all are pretty practical!
Keep in mind, when it comes to considering new tips on saving money, most of it boils down to these factors:
- What are your spending habits?
- Where can you cut back on your living expenses?
- What are some of your financial goals?
- How can you make more money to inturn, save?
Let's dig into these money saving ideas:
1. Create a mortgage cushion
Step 1: Divide your monthly mortgage payment by four.
Step 2: Take that number and save it for the next four months.
Step 3: Once you have the amount equivalent to one month's mortgage payment, go ahead and make your normal payment, then use the savings to make another once your normal payment processes.
Make sure you don't pay extra! Simply wait until the payment processes and make the next month's payment. Just like that, you're 30 days ahead on your mortgage.
If something happens in you're in a tight spot you won't have to tap into your emergency fund and you will also save over the long haul in interest (especially if you can do this 1x per year).
2. Round monthly payments up to 25
It is a weird thing I do, but I can't stand making payments that are unusual amounts like $637.45. Instead, round up to the nearest number divisible by $25.
For example, instead of paying $637.45, you would make a $650 payment.
This obviously tacks on a few extra dollars that are used to attack the principal each month, which really adds up over the course of a year.
While it might not seem like a lot, just rounding up $10-$20 extra per month can equal an entire extra payment each year. Keep in mind that the best tips on saving money are not huge changes, they're small steps that can quickly add up.
Note: If you're someone who has everything automated and don't feel like manually rounding up bill payments, this can be done really simply by using apps like Qoins or Acorns (Read my full review of each here).
3. Hack the state car inspection
Ok… so you want to know how to get your car's inspection to last 13 months?
Just get your inspection done on the first day of the month after your inspection expires. For example, if your state inspection for your vehicle is due in July, wait until the first of August.
By doing this, your new inspection will be valid from August to August instead of July to July, grabbing an extra month and saving $15 in the process!
4. Take advantage of Apps like Shopkick
One reader sent me this tip when I was creating this article for tips on saving money – download cashback and reward apps.
Most people know this, but few actually leverage cash back apps, which is why they are so heavily promoted by stores (That and they entice you to spend more, so don't do that since it's the opposite of saving).
Similar to how most people don't fill in the rebates when they get new tires, cashback apps can quickly add up over time and $25 extra a month is $300 saved per year.
Not to mention, you can use multiple cashback apps. Here is a list of some apps to help you start saving:
Here is why this is a weird tip for saving money:
Between my wife and I, we have landed $25 worth of gift cards in one month with Shopkick. We simply just scan things in the store when we shop. It is definitely a weird way to
save money, I mean make money, but it works.
We then use the gift cards to supplement our grocery budget, thus saving money! However, scanning products and having the employees look at you… WEIRD!
5. Check for health bonuses at work
Check and see if your place of employment offers compensation for going to the gym or getting your annual health screening.
While the process of going to the gym is not weird, filling out some of the surveys in order to get a $150-$200 at the end of the year can be a little weird (They ask some strange questions).
But it is free money to reward you for being healthy.
6. Shuffle your debt.
Something that works really well for my wife and I is we shuffle around our debt. This might seem risky but if we get a free balance transfer on a credit card that is interest-free for 18 months – you bet we are taking up that offer.
It is not something we do regularly, and you need to have financial discipline in order to do so. But we have put credit card payments on the back burner to make an extra student loan payment while the credit debt sits interest-free.
Keep in mind: If you don't plan on paying it back in time, you can get slammed with interest charges, hence why I say you need financial discipline.
Our typical go-to which is well documented is we leverage our Home Equity to shuffle debt. With a 4% HELOC rate and student loans above 6%, we shuffle the debt and make huge payments, it has saved us tons in interest over the last three years.
7. Adjust the Thermostat!
When I first bought my home in 2010, it was mid-July in Virginia and the average temperature was in the 90s.
Needless to say, it was hot and as a new homeowner, I had no clue how much my electricity would cost keeping my thermostat on 67. That summer I learned the hard way when I got my first electricity bill!
However, you can save 10% per year simply adjusting your thermostat a few degrees! Simply put:
- In the winter keep your heat at 70
- In the summer keep your AC at 74
Adjusting the thermostat is a great way to save money, but what is even better is installing a programmable thermostat which start at $44.
Installing programmable thermostats is a great way to save and also see if you're air ducts have diverting options to distribute air flow! For example, we direct the AC to our upstairs instead of the basement where it is already cool!
8. Jump internet users.
Most people are realizing that cable is a complete waste of money, so telling you that cutting cable is a weird way to save money isn't that weird. But we all need 24/7 access to the internet to see our cat photos…
So to guarantee the lowest price, jump internet users (Not providers). Here is what I mean:
- When your sign-up promotional package is expired, have your spouse (Or roommate) swap the internet to their name to keep the discounts.
- This will keep you at the promotional rate at all times
- Don't jump providers (equipment exchanges, setup, etc costs money)
9. Set some financial goals.
Setting financial goals to save more money might seem pretty standard, but one the the best tips on saving money is to just that.
Most people simply don't know what they're aiming at when it comes to saving money.
Similar to how people say, “I want to lose some weight” but never set a goal so it never gets done, the same can be said for saving more money. In that case, write down some simple financial goals such as:
- By the end of next month I want to save $200
- By the end of the year I want to save $2,000
Just write down something simple, make sure to have a target date and amount, and divide it by the number of weeks in between to know how much to save each week!
>> Use this graphic and savings by age chart to help you!
10. Never eat out – without a coupon.
This might be somewhat socially taboo, but never eat out unless you have a coupon.
Most restaurants are craving your business, especially during the week, so be sure to plan ahead by using coupons or “Kids eat free” nights. At checkout, it might be a little weird handing over the tethered coupon, but you will save money.
Tip: Don't eat out because of the coupon, when you decide to eat out go – make sure to use a coupon.
11. Cut back on groceries
Wait, cutting back on groceries means I have to eat less though right?
Yes and no.
We all know cutting back on eating out is one of the best tips on saving money, but refraining from buying expensive name brand groceries and processed foods is another way to save too!
With affordable grocery stores popping up everywhere such as Aldie and Lidl, you can save some money just adjusting your grocery shopping habits. And yes, not eating meat as often and meal planning will help you save too!
12. Use Trim and Cancel Subscriptions, Renegotiate Bills
Along the same line of cutting back on your expenses, canceling unused and unneeded subscriptions is an effective tip for saving money!
Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Quibi, Pandora, YouTube, and Amazon Prime among many more add up. But the question remains, do you really need all those subscriptions in addition to your regular bills?
Do your best to pick just two subscriptions for entertainment and download an app such as Trim to do it for you.
Trim can help save several hundred dollars by helping cut unused subscriptions, helping renegotiate bills like your cell phone plan, and getting better quotes on car insurance.
Consider using Trim to help you find less expensive options for all of your bills!
13. Automate Everything.
Want to know the trick to becoming wealthy and saving tons of money in the process?
Automate your finances.
Perhaps the best of the tips on saving money
David Bach's Automatic Millionaire is hands down the best money book I have read when it comes to simplicity and wealth.
While it might not seem like a weird way to save money, considering most people don't automate their savings you would be in the minority if you did, thus you're now weird :).
- Start by making sure you're figuring out how much you make per hour after taxes
- Make it a goal to save one our of your wages per day (If you work 40 you can save 5 hours for yourself)
- Automate it by using your pre-tax dollars to contribute to your 401K or IRA.
- $14 pretax is like $10 post-tax, so make sure you have a goal to save at least 10%
14. Do fun things with your friends, only if it's FREE.
Right now make a stand in your social life.
“I will not do anything fun with my friends unless its free.”
This will be easier then you think, but the will think you're weird. It's OK, you can help them save money while you do to. You can:
- Go to FREE summer concerts
- Take a road trip to a public beach
- Watch sports at local high schools
- Have a movie night
- Visit the city late night and walk around
- For a list of 40 Free things, check here.
15. Shop at yard sales.
Sure, some of those yard sale people are strange, but hopping on the weird yard sale wagon can save you money.
Lost in the world today is the art and skill of bartering. Learning to barter is a skill you can learn when shopping at yard sales, but you can also save money in the process.
Instead of paying full price at Home Goods for your new home decorations, hit up yard sales during the spring. You will save money!
Need a Side Hustle? You can learn about how this couple makes $100,000 a year flipping things they find at flea markets and yard sales with their webinar here
16. Bum WiFi to Save Money:
This is not just one of the best tips on saving money and it isn't even that weird – its somewhat sleazy. But man it's effective.
Best case scenario for bumming WifFi:
- A neighbor leaves their WiFi unprotected and you simply connect (I did this for 3 years in college)
- Or, talk to your neighbor and go 50/50 on the internet bill. In other words – bum their WiFi.
You can save an extra $300+ a year simply bumming WiFi from the neighbor, just be sure to always stay on good terms.
17. Create a burner e-mail account.
Raise your hand if this is you at checkout:
Clerk: “And is there an email you would like to give us today?”
However, realizing people hate giving them their emails, companies are now offering 10-15% off on average, just for your email. Restaurants will give you free apps – it shows how valuable your email is their marketing team.
So the weird way to save money, yet not get blown up with promotions…?
Create a burner email account.
Make a fake email account specifically for promos, just be sure to make it something you remember. For fun, check it once a month to see how many emails you are avoiding!
Final Word on Saving More Money:
The point of saving money and setting aside your savings is so that you can do something you truly enjoy quicker and hopefully more often.
A lot of saving money is more psychology then knowing, and the best tip on saving money might just be learning the simple word no!
Learning to tell yourself no will help you:
- Save more money
- Cut back your expenses
- Get out of debt
- Stop spending such money
- Save the right amount by age
You name it! The list could go on forever, but here is the final piece of advice to help you save:
Open up a separate savings account from your checking and use this savings tip list and write 4-5 ideas down you can start implementing today!
Question: Do you tips on saving money you can share below?
P.S. That is all I have for today. I am sure there are some other money-saving tips out there… if you have a life hack or weird money tip that can help others save, just comment below so I can add it to the list!
Some readers have mentioned doing things such as rolling their socks to increase the life of the elastic… or always filling out the surveys on Wendy's receipts… those are for sure weird ways to save money.
None the less, we all have strange things we do to save money, but it makes saving fun!
Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $300,000 in student loans with his wife in less than five years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, being outside, traveling, and helping others with their finances! I got serious with money when I used Personal Capital to track my finances.