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In life, it can sometimes feel as though it is impossible to get ahead. Week in and week out we work, but often find ourselves at the end of the month with the same amount in our bank account as we started with. It’s demoralizing and makes it hard to feel like we can ever break out of the cycle. But there are some simple things you can to stop living paycheck to paycheck. The key is to work smarter, not harder.
While there are no simple answers, there are some smart financial life hacks that can dramatically increase how much you put into your savings each week. After all, there are life hacks for everything else under the sun: cooking, exercising, crocheting, and reading. Why not finances? Here we’ve gathered 5 of the most effective financial life hacks to put more cash in your pocket each payday.
The interest rate on credit cards can be a truly brutal drain on your finances, and the longer you leave a balance on it the worse it will get. This is why, though not everyone is eligible for one, getting a zero percent credit card can be a powerful tool to hack your finances.
These cards offer an introductory rate of 0%, meaning that it won’t accrue interest for a pre-determined period of time. While all new purchases should go on this card, another use for it is to transfer any debt you have from existing cards to the new card. This will stop the accrual of interest and give you the breathing room you need to pay off your balances.
Some employers offer retirement plans where they’ll match your contributions to your retirement account up to a certain amount. This is the single most effective form of kicking your retirement savings into high gear, as you’ll essentially be given free money with each contribution to a fund that will already be generating income for you.
This hack may not offer the same instant gratification and satisfaction as the first two, but it can be just as useful. Tracking your expenses, either manually or automatically through software, will give you a clear picture of where your money is going each month. To find your way out of a maze you need a map, and tracking your expenses will give you one for your finances so that you can decide where to cut back and where you can save.
Virtually all bank accounts these days offer an auto deposit feature that will automatically take a portion of your paycheck and allocate it to an assigned savings, retirement or money market account. The easiest ways to save are the ones that you don’t have to think about, and after setting up auto deposit initially, it won’t take any more effort on your part.
Another upside to auto deposit is that it will force you to save more than you normally would. Out of sight, out of mind is the name of the game here. It’s hard to spend money you don’t have easy access to, and the key with auto depositing is that it will force you to pay yourself first.
Payday Loans are a special type of financial hack that are like a safety net for times when a sudden financial emergency takes you by surprise. These short-term loans allow you to tap into part or even all of your next paycheck in as little as 30 minutes, and your credit score is not taken into account during the approval process.