I’ve always been a fan of killing two birds with one stone. You know, like riding a bike to run an errand thereby getting a task done and getting fit.
So when I first heard the term lifehack, I was already a fan.
Let’s start by defining what a lifehack it.
a strategy or technique adopted in order to manage one’s time and daily activities in a more efficient way.
I’ll argue, and share some ways, that lifehacks can also save you money. So without further ado, let’s get started…
10 of My Favorite Lifehacks
These are mostly in no particular order except for the first one. At the top of my list is something I love & have actually been doing for years. Most recently learned a hip new phrase for it – meal prepping!
#1 Meal Prepping
I’m a single woman who likes to stay fit and eat healthily.
Although, I do have a weakness for good ice cream. 😉
Additionally, I grew up with a Mom who cooked healthy and delicious meals from scratch so my taste buds are geared that way. I’m so grateful she gave me this foundation.
Anyway, while I like to eat healthy home-cooked food I always knew I didn’t want to spend a lot of time cooking every day. Additionally, as a career woman who has time for that??
Two things I’ve been doing for years is:
- Making big batches of soup and freezing it in individual containers
- Weekly bowls of salad for my lunches
Lately, I’ve started adding more to my repertoire and here are some additional ways to meal prep:
- A big batch of smoothies frozen individually in mason jars
- A week’s worth of overnight oatmeal in mason jars
- Rice in my instant pot (thanks, Jessica!)
- Meals in my instant pot – here’s a great YouTube channel for instant pot recipes.
Whatever it is, my tip is to make enough for multiple meals, pack them in individual containers and freeze some.
I guarantee you’ll save money partly because you won’t be stopping for fast food on a day where you have no time to cook. Additionally, you’ll be eating healthier. Lastly, you’ll save time because it takes no extra time to cook a bigger batch of something which reduces your cooking time on another day.
There is a great new website out there geared and assisting you in your meal prepping endeavors. It’s called Meal Prepify and I highly recommend it. Two great articles to start with are:
- 75 Dirt-Cheap Crockpot Recipes (all less than $3 per person)
- How to Meal Prep for Beginners: The Epic Step-By-Step Meal Prepping Guide
Benefits of meal prepping: save money and time, and eat healthier
# 2 Picking out Clothing Ahead of Time
This is something else I’ve been doing for years. Actually, for many years of my working life, I’ve worn uniforms as I served at fine dining and other restaurants. That was always simple.
I started the habit of picking out my outfit the night beforehand as I transitioned into education and then the business world.
Additionally, I pack my workout clothes in my gym bag the night before so I have no excuse to not go to the gym after work.
Benefits picking out clothing the night before: less decision fatigue in the morning.
# 3 Maintain a Simple Wardrobe
This is a work in progress for me but my goal is to keep simplifying my wardrobe so that my outfit decisions are easier and easier.
My favorite clothing color is gray because it goes with every other color. I separate my clothing by color and no other color is represented as much as gray is in my closet.
If I find a pair of pants I like, I’ll buy multiple ones in different colors. The same shoe can be worn with each pair lessening the need for lots of shoes.
The overall goal is to be able to mix and match all of my pieces effortlessly. One way to make that easier is to transition to only brown shoes. This will reduce the colors in my wardrobe but I haven’t quite made that switch yet! #LifeGoals
Benefits of a simple wardrobe: save money, less decision fatigue, easier to pack for travel, more closet space
# 4 Automate Savings
Firstly, all of my tax-advantaged accounts are maxed out and taken out of paycheck pre-tax so I never miss this money. Secondly, I identify any other savings goals that I have and set up for automatic monthly transfers from my checking to my online Ally Savings account.
Then I budget off the rest.
Benefits of automation: maintain savings goals, efficiency,
#5 Short Commutes
I realize this may not be possible for everyone but if it can be it’s another game-changer. Currently, my apartment is within three blocks from my office so I can walk to work. However, that will be changing soon.
My boss bought a building and we’ll be relocating. Although, since I’m currently a renter, I’m moving apartments too. I found a new apartment with the following benefits:
- Closer to our new office (might be bikeable rather than walkable)
- Near the Metroparks
- On two-acres of land
- Closer to my folks
- And closer to church
There are even more benefits about it but that’s a post for a different day!
Benefits of a short commute: save money, have more time, potentially increase fitness if walking or biking is used as a mode of transport.
#6 Travel Hacking
After I got out of debt and re-learned how to utilize credit cards in a healthy way, I discovered travel reward miles.
Using credit cards healthy means only charging what I can afford to pay off in full each and every month. As a matter of fact, I’ve set up each of my credit cards to automatically pay the full balance every month.
The benefit of travel rewards only works if the above can be followed. Once it can, the world of free travel can be opened up!
Here’s a great free beginner’s course if you are looking to learn a thing or two here:
Another great source if you are looking to hire someone to help you in planning a trip with travel rewards is my friend Anna Zaks at Life Travel Freedom. You’ll spend a little money to save a lot of money.
If you are ready to begin this journey, a great credit card to start with is the Chase Freedom Unlimited which has no annual fee and allows you to earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
Another good one is the Chase Freedom. It also has no annual fee. Additionally, you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter that you activate.
Both cards have a current bonus offer of $200 cash back after you spend $500 in your first three months from opening the account.
Furthermore, if you save the points, which don’t expire, you can eventually transfer them to a chase premium card when you are ready. The chase premium cards allow for ultimate reward travel points but they do come with annual fees. However, if you optimize the travel reward points, you’ll gain more benefits than the cost of the fees.
Benefits of travel hacking: save money, travel the world for free.
#7 Discounts for Paying in Full
One of my life goals for many years was to be able to pay my car insurance in full every 6 months because there is a discount for doing that. I’m happy to say that once, I started to focus on gaining control of my finances in 2014, I found the capacity to make this happen by budgeting & saving in advance.
Additionally, there are all kinds of other things which can be paid for in full for a discount. For example, I paid for 6 months for my upcoming apartment for a discount.
Benefits of paying in full: save money, learn discipline.
#8 Time Blocking
I use time blocking at work to go through my emails. Three times a day my calendar reminds me to check my email inbox. This way I can focus on other projects throughout the day without being distracted by constantly checking my emails. When the alert goes off, I go through all new emails in my inbox and respond quickly. Some can be resolved right away and others must be put into a follow-up folder for projects which require more steps. Either way, everyone gets a response so I can set expectations.
Time blocking can be used for many different tasks that can be knocked out in chunks of time.
Benefits of time blocking: more efficiency and focus.
#9 Intermittent Fasting
I’ve only started to experiment with this one recently but I’m liking it. It can be done in multiple ways but the most common one is having a window of time in which you eat daily. For example, I’m trying to only eat between noon at 8:00 pm. It’s an 8-hour window and it helps me avoid snacking at night. Additionally, it helps me to practice self-control.
Benefits of intermittent fasting: strengthens self-control muscles, save money, consume fewer calories.
#10 Work Out with Others
I am a competitive person so if I work out with others, I generally push myself harder. I do this one of two ways. 1.) I often take fitness classes and go upfront. This way, I try to keep up with the teacher, who is in stellar shape.
2.) I’ll sometimes workout with a friend. I love this for the camaraderie and for spotting during weight lifting. If someone is spotting me, I’ll lift more without fear of getting hurt. #PushingLimits
Benefits of working out with others: pushing limits, accountability.
We all have a finite amount of time on this earth so if we can stretch it by efficiencies, then woohoo!! I’m always looking for more life hacks so please share your hacks with me…