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6 Money Hacks for the New Year

Posted on January 3rd, 2017
Smart money Moves

Two characteristics commonly found in the quintessential motivated individual are:

  1. Goal Setting
  2. Persistent Drive

When it comes to personal finance, they are always looking for a strategy to take their money game to the next level.  Their drive will be given a path through the goals that they set.  Without a doubt, several good money hacks for the new year will be part of their consideration.

Hack #1: Bringing it Back to the Old School

Since we all know American’s aren’t good at budgeting, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to implement the old envelope system in the new year.  Sure, it’s a little dated but it works!

Step 1: Set up a budget for each category of your spending

Step 2: Withdraw money from the bank and insert into a labeled envelope (i.e. Groceries, Rent, Gas, etc)

This system will ensure that you don’t go over budget since it’s impossible to overdraft (if you stick to the system.)  That being said, there are some new apps created by the Fintech industry that may throw a new age spin on this old model.  Fintech is simplifying lives all over the world and it’s showing through its innovation in personal finance.

Businesses have also seen it’s effect.  Payment solutions, invoicing, and many other aspects have been greatly improved through Fintech’s start-up scene.

Hack #2: Credit Card Rewards for Everyday Purchases

This is one I’m employing as a new years resolution.  Though, I’ve cashed in on some points here and there, 2017 will prove to earn me some free trips.  I’m committed to it!

Believe or not, there IS free money if you use the right credit card in the correct way.  Set up all your bills on auto-pay to the credit card of your choosing.  Make sure you’ve chosen a card that rewards you for your everyday purchases.  Furthermore, make sure you are getting the rewards you want.

Don’t sign up for a travel rewards card if your goal is to get cash back (seems like an obvious point but my goal is to be as clear as possible with you.)  The points will add up, it’s only a matter of time.

Remember to pay off the balance each month!  Don’t pay unnecessary interest.

Make it a point to get the most out of your credit cards!

Hack #3: Learn How To Negotiate

There’s a lot to learn in the art of negotiation.  First off, it can save you A LOT of money.  Whether it’s your car or your phone bill, the price is always negotiable.  Chris Voss has a lot to say on this topic in his book, “Never Split the Difference.”  He is a former FBI negotiator with a ton of real world experience.  This book will lay out common principles we can all take into our daily lives.

As soon as I heard Chris’s interview on The School of Greatness Podcast with Lewis Howes, I was hooked.  Immediately, I picked up the phone and called my cable provider.  Talk about instant results, I came away with a month refund of service and a $100 credit!

Hack #4: Side Hustles

Having trouble finding a couple extra bucks to save in your budget?  Side hustles can fix this problem.  Most of the time, it takes little or no investment at all to begin.  Per an article from

“A side hustle is a way to make some extra cash that allows you flexibility to pursue what you’re most interested in. It can also be your true passion – a chance to delve into fashion, travel or whatever it is you care about the most without quitting your day job” 

Some examples are freelancing, starting a small business related to a passion, moon lighting as a bartender, etc.  It can literally be anything, as long as it’s bringing in some extra dollars.  It will take some of your personal time away from you but sacrificing now for the betterment of your future will pay dividends.

Hack #5: Take Years (and interest) Off of Your Mortgage!

Per, there are some strategies to save time and money on your mortgage.  One, of which, is the significant difference in making an extra mortgage payment every year.  Their calculations show the following:

“A $200,000 30-year home loan with an interest rate of 5% would cost $186,512 in interest with the traditional 12 payments a year. Make the equivalent of 13 monthly payments every year, and the loan will be retired in 26 years and you will pay only $153,813 in interest — a savings of $32,699”

If affordable, who wouldn’t take this deal?  A side hustle can definitely help in funding that extra check.

Hack #6: Keep More Per Paycheck

Anytime you take a new job, they make you fill out a W-4 form.  Those who tend to have bigger refunds normally have a -0- for number of allowances.  Here’s some advice regarding a form that seems alien to most people:

  • You’ll keep more money per paycheck the higher the number you put down.
  • If you put a -0- and purposely get a refund at the end of the year, you are effectively giving the government an interest free loan.  Remember, they wouldn’t do the same for you.
  • If you are struggling to find money in your monthly budget, filling out a new Form W-4 form may create some leeway for your finances.

Good luck!

Eric Estevez

Eric Estevez

Eric Estevez is a licensed Insurance producer. He is an expert at life insurance, whole Life or Indexed Universal Life Insurance. On his off time, he has been training in the grappling art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since 2010, currently holding the rank of Purple Belt. Eric loves to write about financial literacy, helping people understand finance.

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