What’s going on my friends?
It is currently 0400, while I write this, as I have rotated back to night shifts.
Today was a tricky scenario, were I found my usable bicycle 8 miles away, and had no back up means to get over there. So that means walking. Eight miles, two and a half hours of walking.
Plenty of time to Walk and Think.
I listened to a good bit of a lecture on re-framing ideas to think bigger and bolder. Don’t waste the down time, use it. Audio books and Podcasts are a godsend for commuting.
Today’s podcast said: no matter what your workload or schedule, you should always do the work. You should always work on your side-hustle. Work on your side project. My work is to build Walk and Think. To write, record, and film, so that’s what I do.
Let’s get to tonight’s article: Request for Financial Hacks
As you know, I recently sent out a mass email, with a survey. One of the responses, in the comment box was a request for “Financial hacks”. I appreciated the suggestion, and got to drafting this article up.
Now, this is a topic that is both easy to write about and impossible to write about.
Why? Because it’s simple to save money on small expenses, and monitor a budget. What is not so simple is: not writing old, stale advice, that has been written a hundred times. You know the type.
Mr. Money Mustache and hundreds of other sites, all have life hacks and coupon-clipping frugality hints. There is simply too much stuff out there, and most of it is too vague and difficult to apply.
Another thing, that is not so simple, is taking into account effects on happiness and sanity. Living as a robot, monitoring every dollar and calorie takes a toll on your mental health after a while.
I learned this the hard way myself, after trying to maintain an extremely bare bones lifestyle and strict training regiment. Life was too rigid, and calculated. Honestly, it was miserable.
There is a difference between the robot 100% logical choice, the optimum investment/return choice, the appealing/pleasurable choice.
With this in mind, I will write about financial hacks that I use personally, frequently, and that do not take away from my enjoyment of life.
So, without further ado, I bring to you, some financial hacks:
#1. Hard-boiled Egg whites as a snack/meal replacement.
This is a trick I have picked up from a bodybuilding podcast a few months ago. This is for people who are looking to save money on food, eat lean and spend less time cooking.
It’s super simple. You take a dozen eggs, and hard-boil them in one go. I let the water reach a boils, and then let them sit for 10mins. After that I put them into a bowl, with some ice, and let them cool. After they are cooled, you can eat then or put the bowl into the fridge. I peel mine all at the same time too, and place the egg whites into a clean bowl.
I do not eat the yolks, and that has nothing to do with cholesterol or calories or nutrition. I don’t eat them, because they taste kind of like chalk.
Cold egg white taste great, and you can easily eat 6-8 egg whites. Each egg white is around 3-4g of protein. 6 egg white x 4g protein = 24g of protein, in a snack that feels very light.
The absorption of eggs is much better than a protein powder and they are not too filling. Don’t be duped by powders.
This has been a great way for me to supplement protein into my diet, as I am not a big eater. I put the eggs into the pot, set it on high, go do some other task. When I hear it boiling, I come over turn it off, and look at the clock, noting around 10mins to let them sit. After going and doing something else, I place the eggs from the pot, into the bowl of ice.
Very hassle free cooking, and cold hard boiled egg whites taste great. A dozen eggs costs around $2 – $6, so this is a frugal way to supplement protein and calories into your diet.
Instead of shelling out money on questionable protein powders, made who knows where, by who knows who, buy four dozen eggs, and hard boil them.
I’m not saying there are not high quality protein powders out there, there are, and they are usually on the more expensive side. Save your money, buy some eggs, and use them to supplement protein.
Another thing to consider with food: Calories per Dollar. Check out this site.
#2. Save money on Shaving Razors
This is mainly a tip for men, who go clean shaven everyday. If you are buying those expensive, battery powered, 3 color LED, 12 blade, ultra 360 swivel razors – definitely stop!
Prices on shaving supplies are absurd my friends. This is why the dollar shave club was so successful. I do not use the dollar shave club, I buy a very cheap brand of simple, plastic handle, two blade disposable razors. These cost around $2 for over two months if daily shaving.
If you are using something expensive or fancy, give some of the cheaper brands a try. Some of them actually give a better shave, it’s ironic. Give them a shot.
Another way to go is with an old school safety razor and double-edge razor blades. This method is a little bit more tricky to learn, however works great. Invest in a metal safety razor that will last a lifetime, and buy blades. Something like the Merkur Long Handled Safety Razor is ideal.
Check out this article here about saving while shaving.
#3. Tethering: Using cellphone internet instead of having a separate internet service provider.
This is a great way to save some money, if, and only if, you are NOT a heavy internet user. I got away for this for a while. Most smartphone come with the ability to set up a WiFi hotspot, and connect to your computer. You can do this via Bluetooth, or USB.
The only problem with this financial hack is cell companies like to limit hotspot data, and even if you have unlimited cell data. It’s usually 6-8 GB of data, after that the hotspot shuts down or slows down to a crawl.
One way around this is to use an app like foxfi, which connects to your desktop, and allows you to use all your data. This has worked perfectly for me, with many months of 20gb+ a month.
I did not stream video until I figured out how to use foxfi to connect my phone directly to the PC, and not be limited by the hotspot. After this it’s worked great, and I have gone around 3 months, enjoying all the comforts of having internet, without paying for a modem or a service. Only the phone plan.
Instead of me paying monthly for a phone service and internet service, I pay for and unlimited data plan, and use tethering, to have internet on the PC.
It’s not amazingly fast, however I am able to stream 720p videos without much issue. Sometimes the cache gets full on the phone and/or computer, and emptying that will get everything running quickly again.
It’s been great not having to set up an internet service provider here, as I move around frequently.
Please Note: Again, if you are a home with multiple people, or a heavy internet user, or plan to live in a location for a long time, a modem is a better solution. Sometimes I miss my old high speed service. I don’t miss paying the bill though. The mobility and simplicity of tethering has been great, wish I’d done it sooner.
Use phone tethering as an internet provider. Do some research on FoxFi.
#4. Preemptive strike: Limit your exposure to advertisements and be aware of product placement.
This is a preemptive strike at wasteful spending, used as a financial hack. Every time I browse a site like amazon or back-country, I always see some item I would like, or a great price.
Suddenly, as if by magic, I want an item, that a few minutes ago, wasn’t even on my mind. This is clever marketing and strategic advertising based on past search history.
Installing ad blockers and script blockers on your browsers will help reduce the amount of ads you see. Streaming services such as Netflix will decrease the amount of ads you see.
Last week I was staying at a motel, and the motel had a TV. This is the first time I’ve been around a TV in a while, so I turned it on for background noise. Every few minutes there was an advertisement about some garbage that I could care less about. The interruptions were constant.
I ended up turning the TV off quickly. I can’t believe this used to be the norm! Interruptions every few minutes to advertise products!
No wonder streaming services are growing, and cable companies are struggling to keep up with new packages. People want more control; they want to choose what to watch. And it’s not cheesy advertisements about “must have” products.
This is a very mild approach on my very extreme views on TV and entertainment media. If you want to watch a movie or a TV show once in a while, eliminate the ads, to get the most out of your time.
So, with this financial hack, look to eliminate viewing advertising.
Also, try to recognize product placement in shows. It’s always there, and not a big deal, if you are aware of it. Who knows, maybe Dominic Toretto in fast and furious does only drink corona. Or maybe it’s marketing. It’s harmless, as long as you recognize it, and shrug it off.
Don’t subscribe to shopping newsletters, emails, or catalogs. The organic way to shop, is to have a need arise first, research solution to the need, and make a very specific, thought out purchase, not scroll through shopping sites.
I know that if I log on to amazon right now, and browse the recommended items, I will see some gadget to piece of gear that I want. Guaranteed. However, since the need for this item did not arise on its own, and I did not type into the search bar, it’s just marketing. There will always be something I want to buy. I just don’t need it.
#5. Do Your Research: Buy Everything Online
The internet is an amazing tool. The internet has completely erased limitation on sharing information. Anyone can post anything. Anyone can write a review. Before buying something, do your research. Makes sure you are not getting duped out of cash for a second rate product.
Buy it online. This is my tip, buy it online.
This how a store works: the owner of the store makes a deal with a company, to sell their products on the shelves. The company contacts the store and pitches their product to them. They make a deal to market the product together. If your selection is limited to only what you see in the store, you are letting this business deal decide your options.
The products you see on the shelves have been chosen for you. Not based on reviews, not based on anything other than the expected profit and quality of the sales pitch.
Most products on store shelves are good products, otherwise they wouldn’t sell, and the store owner wouldn’t re-order them. However, the choices are limited. They truly are. You get maybe 3-4 options to choose from. Online, you have many more. Sites with reviews, like amazon, are the best choice.
Yes, there was a time, when buying something online was a sketchy deal. Those times have long since passed. Out of every order I have placed, only one did not show up($4 calendar). And that was refunded after I contacted the seller.
It’s never been safer to order things online, especially on the big name sites. I highly recommend searching online for whatever it is you need. Do the research. Make the best decision. If anything goes wrong, contact the seller and return the product. Seller feedback exists for this very reason.
Final thoughts: The best way to save money is to understand that there is an exchange between a producer and a consumer.
The producer has an agenda to sell you a product. For example: People in the housing market will tell you it is a good idea to buy a home. People in the shoe business will tell you it’s a good idea to get nice shoes.
The consumer has an agenda to screen and select the most appealing product. Companies know this and spend time and money creating appealing logos, designs, ad campaigns, and even cultural trends.
Whatever you are looking to buy or sell, research the industry, understand the agenda of the buyer and seller, and optimize it the best you can, for your needs.
There are other financial hacks such as bicycle commuting or minimalist living, but I’ve hammered those to death. And so have many others. If you have any tricks you use to save a little coin, write them in the comments below.
Thank you for reading my friends.
Until Next Time, and
All the Best.