Your Take 

Your Take: Favorite Money Hack?

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Battery TesterThe last time we did a Your Take on Money Hacks, over a year ago, we had sixty-four comments and I learned a tremendous amount. Back then, my favorite money hack was buying coins from the US Mint, something that you can still do today (I still have a ton of coins).

The latest offering I have is something I shared yesterday in the money leaks post on batteries – buy yourself a battery tester (this is the one I have). While I won’t go fishing for batteries at battery recycling places (battery acid is not fun stuff), I will make sure every battery leaving our house has eeked out his last bit of juice. It’s also fun to know that I’m not wasting any stored energy, especially since batteries are so corrosive.

What your best and latest hack? Any money or life hack will do, so anything really clever, even if it doesn’t save you much money, is fair game!

{ 28 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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28 Responses to “Your Take: Favorite Money Hack?”

  1. Andy says:

    As of July 22nd, you can’t use credit or debit cards to purchase the coins, only wire transfer, check or money order. I read that too many people were taking advantage of the program and not introducing the coins into circulation, which was the intention.

    • Andy says:

      I never stated my “hack”.

      Once or twice a month at work, we have department meetings and we always order lunch. I always volunteer to pay because I’ll get reimbursed and since I use my credit card, I’ll get cash back. That alone nets me $25-30 a year. Plus whenever I travel for work I have to pay for hotels, car rentals and meals only to be reimbursed later, so I net some money there as well. I only wish they let me pay for flights, I guess they want those miles.

  2. tom says:

    My favorite money hack is credit card rewards, especially cash back rewards. Just pay off your balance and the rest is cash in your pocket.

    Regarding batteries, I always buy rechargeable. They are much more expensive, but worth it. Plus, my recycling company doesn’t accept batteries, so it’s a huge pain in the… to drop them off at a designated location.

    • govenar says:

      I use credit card rewards in general too, but I wouldn’t call that a hack…

      • tom says:

        Au contraire…

        When a majority of people don’t pay off their balance, I’d say rewards become a hack.

        • David M says:

          I agree that credit card rewards are a hack.

          I flew first class to asia – tickets priced up at over $15,000 and how did a get the miles? Chase United Credit Card – get the card purchase a small amount and get 30,000 bonus miles. Wait a year cancel and get the card and 30,000 bonus miles again! Unfortunately, Chase has stopped giving bonus miles if you had the card before.

          How about getting 50,000 bonus points which are worth $500 from Citibank and only having to spend $1,000. Did I already have another Citibank card that gave me Thank You Network points – you bet you!!!!

    • skylog says:

      i also do this when the opportunity presents itself. it is not large money hack, but every little bit counts.

  3. mint discontinued says:

    being able to purchase mint coins on credit card is discontinued with this posted on their site:

    Circulating $1 Coin Direct Ship Program

    Website Announcement

    The United States Mint has eliminated the credit and debit card purchase of $1 Coins through its Direct Ship Program effective July 22, 2011. Customers who wish to purchase $1 coins through the Direct Ship Program can still do so by wire transfer, check, or money order. Customers who wish to purchase the coins by wire transfer may fax their order to: (202) 756-6585. Customers interested in purchasing by check or money order may do so by writing to:

    United States Mint
    PO Box 71192
    Philadelphia, PA 19176-6192
    Please download the order form and follow the instructions provided on the form. (Order Form).

    The Mint has determined that this policy change is prudent due to ongoing activity by individuals purchasing $1 coins with credit cards, accumulating frequent flyer miles, and then returning coins to local banks. Local banks, in turn, returned coins to the Federal Reserve. While not illegal, this activity was a clear abuse and misuse of the program.

    The Mint has undertaken several aggressive internal and external actions to mitigate this issue, including restricting chronic and repeated use of credit cards, contacting customers who frequently placed large numbers of orders to ensure they were using the coins for legitimate business purchases, and other measures. While these measures eliminated a significant amount of misuse in the program, we believe some abuse still exists. Eliminating the credit and debit card purchase of the $1 coin is the next step in our efforts to root out abuse in this program and ensure it is better targeted toward fulfilling its intended purpose—which is to get the $1 Coin into greater circulation.

    Thank you for your understanding and your continued support of the $1 coin program.

    The United States Mint

    • skylog says:

      i am a little shocked it took this long. that said, i am sure quite a few people did ok with this technique.

      • Strebkr says:

        It took a few years for them to make this change. I tried it once or twice. I think I did maybe 1k-2k. I felt like an idiot taking them into the bank so I stopped.

  4. Dan says:

    My favorite money hack is filling a few water pitchers at work every day and bringing them home. At about $0.02 per gallon, I end up saving around $10 in water costs ever year. It’s not a lot but it adds up!

    • poscogrubb says:

      Water is heavy. What are your transportation costs for moving that water (gasoline, car maintenance)? Seems like a small cost, but it adds up…

      • Dan says:

        I wouldn’t consider the added weight of 2 gallons of water in my car as increased milage. There are so many different factors that affect that (traffic, speed, air pressure) that the 16lbs of water makes a negligable impact on an engine that can move a 4000lb vehicle from a stop to 60mph in a relatively short time. As for car maintenance, the extra weight of the water won’t change my maintenance schedule if I’m doing the drive to and back from work anyway. Good comments though. Keeps me thinking.

    • wolf says:

      the water from the tap is perfectly safe to drink. Really. Growing up we didn’t have Coca-Cola trying to sell us the “luxury of water.” Seriously – drink from the tap. You won’t die.

      • Dan says:

        My cost savings were tap water from work versus tap water from home. Sorry for the misunderstanding. I don’t pay for bottled water because I agree with you that it’s perfectly safe to drink. Another good cost savings is to stop paying for Britta water filters. Tap water is incredibly regulated and these filters are a waste of time and money.

    • Strebkr says:

      While I admire your desire to want to save, this is crazy. Are you “that guy” in your office?

  5. Anthony says:

    My favority money hack is NOT buying a battery tester.

    A digital multimeter works better, has more functionality, and is not a unitasker.

    • Shane says:

      multimeters are not battery testers as they place no load on the battery so the reading you get back is misleading. To repurpose your multimeter as a batter tester and get an accurate reading of how much “juice” is left, you need to place a resistor in line when you test it with your multimeter.

      • Anthony says:

        My apologies. My DMM is multi-functional, as I’ve mentioned…

        Go ahead and splurge! You can find resistors for less than $0.10 a piece!

  6. tbone says:

    driving a bit slower… getting a scan guage II (i have an older obdII car) and knowing what my mileage is. its like a game 🙂

  7. Shirley says:

    The water in our town is extremely hard and ruins a coffeepot about every eight months, even with monthly vinegar cleanings.

    We were buying gallon jugs of water (bigger than that is just too hard to pour) on sale for .88 each and using about 6 each week. We saved 8 emptys and now refill them at the kiosk outside the grocery store for .25 each. That comes close to $200 each year.
    Plus the $40 or so that we were spending on replacing the coffeepots.

  8. adam carolla fan says:

    i have a part-time job that i’ve been at for almost ten years now, but for the last 6 years it’s turned into a moonlighting job. recently i started riding my bike to this side job (<3 miles roundtrip), so that saves a lot on gas. also, i love riding my bike!

  9. Anonymous says:

    More money please…

  10. Laura says:

    Mine is living on a monthly budget and then throwing the “extra” checks at the debt. Painless!

  11. Strebkr says:

    Artificial Scarcity – It is a great term to describe how you limit yourself to a smaller total income. This can effectively be done by paying yourself first. Ie if you don’t have any money left over you won’t spend it. (Hopefully) While the whole time you have money working for you in the background and it limits your discretionary spending.

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