I've been wondering - what are some of everyone's favorite apps or extensions for saving money? I've heard of Ebates, Honey, and Ibotta. Is there a need that's currently going unmet?
Would love to get potential user feedback. Thanks!!
It takes time to get used to, but after 6 years on and off, I am using it for the last 8 months regularly, and I already saved enough money for the next 4 months in advance.
This, and in addition, read https://www.amazon.com/Early-Retirement-Extreme-philosophica...
You don't need more, trust me.
But, of course, what these two have in common, is simply:
1. Spend much less than you earn
2. Try to just spend 30-40% of your income, but an emergency fund which stores 6 month worth of money, and then invest the saved money.
What I recommend, is a little game:
1. Don't eat out for a whole month
2. Don't do any big purchases for a whole month
You will see how much many you usually spend, and how your mind is triggering you to buy things. It will be really hard, so instead of thinking about "oh no, I shouldn't buy this", just write a note on a piece of paper everytime you want to buy something.
At the end of the month, you will see how "stupid" you were to want a certain things. If a certain things come up on this list over and over, then maybe it could be useful.
Unfortunately, they're going the web route for obvious reasons; but for me, I'm holding on to the desktop version as long as it can run on a Mac, which I hope will be a long time. I've backed up the installation file and my license.
All of this is easily possible in nearly any bank in Switzerland, I am not shure about the US or other parts of the world. Hope I could create some inspiration.
As I've finally gotten to a better cash flow (making a bit more, cutting/reducing some regular expenses, paying off some high-interest short-time debt), I'm experimenting with some new saving strategies (although the amount is still very small).
I have one tiny transfer that goes out of my account every day to another bank that has a small positive interest (a whooping 1.8% - which I guess is +/- zero wrt. inflation) - a "savings" account. As far as I can figure out, this only goes out on business days, and sometimes it gets canceled due to my regular account being empty. My general plan is to from time to time, when/if I have some excess cash, calculate what "should" be there (amount * current-day-of-year) and transfer the difference (The interest is a rounding error).
It's kind of interesting to turn savings on its head like this, and fun to see how "much" one can save, if you multiply that amount by 365 days. You could call it "a latte a day consumer saving", because you can quickly save enough to avoid buying one electronic gizmo on credit a year (ie: last generation phone, medium range laptop etc).
Well, ok a good regular size latte in Norway will likely set you back ~5 USD. But I suppose in the US people would go and get a latte that's three times the size for a similar price.
The other experiment I'm doing, is transferring a similarly sized sum, but scaled up to weekly deposits, that go into a somewhat high-risk fund (more or less the closest I could find to a technology index fund - low fees, but probably overall worse than an actual index fund). It comes to a little more over the course of a year, and hopefully over time will see ~5% interest - although that is certainly uncertain.
It looks like I'll be moving to a new job/location - with higher pay and less expenses, so I'll have to try to do an evaluation and see what I do with my "excess" cash. I'll probably save as much as I can for a year, and then see how close I am to being able to simply pay the rest of my debt (low interest government-backed student loans).
They're a little different from other debt, in that they are personal, and come with some insurance in case of unemployment or disability.
It's probably not the best system but It's nice to have it all separated. It's a process if I'm going to take money out of savings and transfer it to my checking account so It makes me think twice on large purchases.
So I always try to save money by thinking how can I make more. These days money = time is a strong equation, so just don't loose your time and use it in a way to make money.
Stop thinking about saving money and spend your thoughts on revenue stream. That's why I rarely use services like that and don't count the pennies ( I'm neither rich nor bragging )
E.g. I want to buy a Tesla and I don't have the money. I say to myself : "Now it's not the time." instead of "Let's save some money!".
If you have millions and you want to buy 10 cars, then I think you have a problem with your ego.
You have your basic expenses you need to live (food, shelter, water), which cost most people at least tens of thousands per year.
If you live miserably only allowing money out to expense those needs, you're still only saving tens of thousands.
You have a lot more ability to increase money coming in than money going out.
I think this is the point OP's father was trying to make. Don't get stuck in a loop of allowing your employer to pay you $xx,xxx (or $1xx,xxx) for decades and restrict yourself for your whole life just to retire old and live an average lifestyle. Take control of your life and control your success.
Example: earn $100k, $35k goes to taxes, spend $50k a year = $15k discretionary. Increase income 50% to $150k, taxes become $52.5k, spend the same $50k = $47.5k discretionary. So total income only increased by 1.5, but discretionary increased by a factor of 3. Of course, this is a simplistic example -- tax rates aren't constant for one thing. But the principle is very powerful, and the effect strength grows as the income increases. Using the above numbers, 2x the initial salary results in a 5x increase in discretionary income.
Lastly, this strategy also provides great protection against a decrease in income.
Secondly, though there is no upper limit to how much you can earn it rarely works that way in the real world. People who are not saving money are doing it for many psychological reasons, like being unable to resist the temptation to spend on things. And most of the times they don't like it after they do it.
For most people on HN I'm not so sure, most roles have a ceiling that is very difficult to get above without moving into upper management or starting your own business. The odds don't look so good then.
On the other hand having some FU money will improve your quality of life significantly. Just being able to say no to that morally questionable feature your boss is asking you to implement or turning down a weekends work when you want to go to a friends wedding has a strong impact on your well being.
Having savings and investments means having choices, having debts imprisons people.
I know someone who carefully plans and then spreads the weekly shopping trip between up to five different grocery stores -- and also complains that they have too little time. I and several others have tried connecting the dots for them, but it's clearly become an obsession (and needless to say, it's not like they track their spending and saving on this -- just assumes that they are saving loads).
Obviously, there are things that make sense. Of course you should shop around and negotiate for big-ticket items. It might well make sense to alternate weekly shopping trips between two different stores with different strengths (one might be good for fresh produce, but expensive for staples and household goods etc).
> For most people on HN I'm not so sure, most roles have a ceiling that is very difficult to get above without [...] starting your own business
Hacking on a side project is one of the things you could do once you stop spending hours saving dollars.
But, the point is, time is a strictly limited resource. Money has steeply diminishing returns around those ceilings. Stop wasting time saving small amounts of money and spend it getting the most out of your time (whether that's working on your revenue streams, or doing any of a number of activities that makes you happy).
Hacking on ever recurring side project can also be a huge time sink, especially since projects tend to have a disproportionate reward at the end.
Considering we're on a Site Formerly Known as Startup News, starting your own business should definitely be a real option.
I cannot relate to the extreme savings world that isn't necessary. For example, I had a friend who made much more than me but quite enjoyed the 'optimization' or 'life hacks' mentality including reducing his electrical expenses throughout his house, living in a studio, being vegan and finding tricks to spending no money on stuff. He had a system where the farm would deliver (in NYC) organic produce based on what was available seasonally, for a subscription fee, making his food experience cheap. He would sign up to those free loans the banks would give, the ones where they'd send a check and you had no interest for 8 months, and he'd put it in a CD for exactly 8 months to pocket the interest and pay it back. etc. And he made a lot more money than me (and still does).
I can't live like that. On the other hand, I'm not the impulsive/blind spender that needs a wife/husband/'life hacks'/software to keep his spending under control. I'm also a privileged tech worker with a comfortable (but not braggable) income.
That said, a lot of people are completely stupid with money. Some people will try to save money by cutting expenses everywhere and then, for example, proceed to overpay €10-20-50k on a house. Or not negotiate high random fees, ever.
Either you go with low fee index funds (i.e. Vanguard S&P500, which tracks the market and will require the least amount of effort) or you learn about investing by putting in the time to understand things properly (which might lead to higher returns but can take a lifetime).
i like macro-economics and treat it as a hobby.
others that may have little interest in the subject could take a simple route.
25% blue chip dividend or index fund
25% property or rental
25% in your business or hobby, if you spend/invest in what you know and like will usually do well
same with work do what you have passion and ability=success
if #3 and 4 dont apply just put 20% gold/silver and 80% in 10 different good dividend paying blue chip.
why gold and silver?? because inflation protection against fiat currency. another note now not the time to by stocks, now is time to sell. buy after next correction.
It's almost impossible to fill a container leaking all the time.
Also make note a lot of people have gotten rich by saving and investing than have people who went into doing start ups or 'revenue stream' or such.
The best payoff is spending the money. However there is a "poverty" mentality where people would be scared of spending that money. You need to avoid that.
On the other hand you could buy a gimmicky fancy tv or keep your decent old one. Obviously just keep your old one.
Just optimise for the best expected payoff. For that you require a mix of saving, and spending.
People just take it to far...you can only cut thing so far before it screws up your lifestyle so yeah after cutting the obvious its about more revenue as you say.
Rather than worrying about optimizing spending I find it much easier to maximize my earning potential. Negotiating a better salary will often net one more money over time than chasing coupons.
I was not going into explicit detail, but pontificating on the idea of saving as opposed to spending.
With that said, one of my banks offered me a 3.00% APY on a CD the other day. Still not really enough for me. I would prefer to throw the money in index funds and wait longer.
There was a time I bought a Mac book pro. I felt it would save me developer time and focus compared to my old HP laptop. So I set out to earn that money back in 6 months (did it in 4). I feel like this complete approach helps.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
Starbucks. Every morning. Latte and a danish/cookie/muffin. $7.00 * 30 days = $210.00
Eat lunch out. Every day. And not with a coupon or fast food, but a sit-down restaurant. Sandwich, fries, soda, tip - $12.00. Every weekday, that's $240.00
Vending machine snacks, my job doesn't offer free snacks. $2.50 for a Mt. Dew/chips when I get that craving at 3:30. Every weekday, that's $50.00
Spend more at the grocery store than you would eating out a restaurant. Throw food away, don't eat your leftovers, buy expensive meats, cheeses and fancy ingredients. $150/trip or $600/month
Now that we're past the daily items, let's go into the monthly expenses.
SUV instead of a small car. $600/month and another $250/month in insurance, $60/week in gas. $1100/month
Buy a new MacBook. Every year. You sell the old one but you're still spending another $700 on the new one and sales tax. Don't forget to buy a new case/decal for the new one.
Upgrade your phone. Every year. Buy new accessories for it, and get the mammoth dataplan. This can be $150/month.
Frivously spend $100/month on iTunes purchases. Songs you don't really like, movies you don't even end up watching, games you'll play once and never open again.
Drink heavily! What else are you going to do with $70/night? Inebriate yourself a few times a week.
Piss away $25/week on lottery tickets. Might as well try, right?
Impulse purchases under $500? Don't even worry about it. GoPro, new tablet, latest game console, high-end pots and pans for your house - just buy it!
Clothes won't fit after all those vending machine snacks? Throw them all away and upgrade to bigger ones!
My monthly spend has been steadily dropping since I started doing this about six months ago.
EDIT: I seem to have misunderstood the topic of this thread, but, as another commenter puts it, the best way to save money is to not spend money in the first place.
And I don't mean create an account for Mint or Level or any of the other bountiful budgeting services out there and merely export to a Spreadsheet. I (personally) literally only want something that can connect to my accounts, see a transaction, and update a row. Nothing in the middle.
Does it exist already?
"BOOKS: 23.75 / 0.31% of total monthly expenses"
Being .csv it can be manually updated, ported wherever I can run Perl, imported in Excel or in any DB I may care for etc.
If I want to run analysis I can paste together all the files and run R on these etc. etc. etc.
I have maybe 20 categories, so it's easy to assign to them and I don't have to agonize for hours about how to tag any non-recurring expenses.
This has proven to be enough for me. YMMV, of course.
It's a bit of a hassle to switch since you need to set up direct deposit and wire your money over from your existing bank. Once you've done this though if you use the debit card for purchases everything is tracked with nice graphs and decent software.
- No branches, it's a bit of a pain to get a cashier's check on short notice.
- Can't use rewards credit card if you want to actually take advantage of it.
I find the automated data collection and graphs is worth the 2% 'cost' of not using a rewards credit card.
The desktop version of YNAB was pretty much like this.
my simple way is take the misc. expenses $ money right off the top when cash check. i put the cash in my pocket.
$800 every two weeks. and i use cash for all misc. stuff.
use the credit card for fixed monthly expenses and pay maintenance stuff like insur, etc elec. check.
so if run out of cash then done till next check.
and usually have left over dont usually spend full $800 i just throw it in the drawer until it piles up and then spend it on something or divert to invest. acct.
Until it was acquired a few months ago I was a longtime user of FatWallet to make a few percentage points back on the dollar at many stores.
2. Jet Anywhere
Jet.com has an incredible cash back program called Jet Anywhere. While the number of stores is small, the percentages are very strong. For example, 20% back at Nike or Saks Fifth.
What I'm getting the most out of though is plane tickets. Flight purchases through them get 5.6% back via Orbitz or 4.8% back via Expedia. After verifying you completed the travel, they dispatch cash back in the form of Jet Cash in 30 days. Many items on Jet are equal or cheaper than Amazon, so this is effectively cash. 5% back on plane tickets becomes a significant amount of money very quickly.
By the way — they do not have a Chrome extension and I have interest in working on one.
3. Cash back credit card
I also purchase everything on a card that gives 2% cash back on every purchase without exception. This is literal cash off your bill, not a rewards program.
I've received $100+ back from the first two methods, and even more from the third.
I'm really passionate about the topic of "money hacking" and happy to discuss more via email if you're interested. I'm currently writing a few blog posts on personal financial habits myself.
That said, NY Times ran an article on "the holy grail" 2% cash back credit cards last year  which includes four:
- Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard
- Capital One Venture Visa Signature
- Citi Double Cash MasterCard
- Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express
: Credit Cards With 2% Rebates, While (or if) They Last http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/09/your-money/credit-and-debi...
Perhaps it's different in Canada but Visa and MasterCard are the most popular credit card brands in the US.
The only time I've seen something related in the US is at discount grocery store chain Aldi's (it has some commonalities with Walmart) which has a 0.5% surcharge to pay with a debit or credit card in the US and Australia. They had been doing this internationally for a while, in countries where they accept credit cards at least, and Europeans seem to be more accepting of it than Americans, but it only became consistent in the US over the past year or so.
Setting aside the obvious health benefits, this can make a pretty impressive saving by itself. From memory, I was spending something like £100-150/mo on cigarettes, and in the UK at least, I think the "sin tax" on them has only increased in recent years.
On the backend it can solicit better offers from other merchants on the same and similar merchandise.
Also, as you note, the customer's data could be sold and (partially) turned into a rebate. Perhaps the site could also tell you which extra data (your gender, age, other purchases, etc) would be the most valuable and you could choose to release these facts.
I doubt it'd work for everyone, and it would be tricky to turn in to a Chrome extension, but something that put a Stoic quote in to Amazon's checkout page might help people.
2. Learn to do the 'beginning with the end in mind': A lot of us here in India go and buy a plot on a reasonable loan, and then try to clear it off within 2-3 years. This way you get to acquire a resource, make a investment, and are forced to save up every month to clear the loan. This is more like forced savings. Repeat this for a long time, and you will get really really rich.
3. Keep a diary: Keep a habit tracker, try to get a continuous streak of $0 expense days.
4. Pick up a hobby like music: Gets you entertainment without bills for TV/Cable and things like that.
5. Buy for need and durability: Don't buy everything that you see people buying. Buy only if you need something and buy durable stuff.
There are a range of other things I do. But it might get a little too long for a HN post.
On the cooking side of things, I found I was spending a lot of money buying lunches. Sydney is a VERY expensive city: a 'cheap' lunch in the CBD costs at least $7. So, we're talking about saving at least $35-50 per week. Over a year, that's approx $1500-2000 per year. And often, it's not as good as things I like to make for myself.
So I cook double-or-triple the quantities of recipes on the weekends... I take pride in making complex curries, slow-cooked casseroles and the like. Usually, doubling or tripling the quantities does not change the cooking time significantly and there are economies of scale with the costs as well.
Then, I package up the extra into lunch and dinner-sized portions for myself, wife and family for the week in the freezer.
This way, we all get cheap lunches (cost approx $1-2) and gain extra time at dinner during the weekdays (no cooking! just re-heat and add rice/salad/veges).
I'd say that as well as saving $1500-2000 per year, it's also saved us an hour or 3 every single week. Frankly, it's worth it if just for the time saved.
My wife and I did a "month of slow cooking" to try recipes. Most were good and many are part of our regular cooking rotation now.
Seriously, not buying stuff / eating out is the best way for me to save money, especially if I spent the time that I would have been shopping / going out, working.
Something that might be an idea is linking to a savings account and adding a button beside the purchase link on amazon, etc, like "Save money instead, if you saved $56.32, you'd have $2345.54 in total savings" it would be epic if it went into a GIC or something not very liquid.
It wasn't until recently that started to cook my own meals every day. I felt time was always time limited when I worked for a company so I would get takeout a lot. Especially in my time in Toronto due to the large amount of good places to eat at. Switching to eating predominantly stuff I make has saved a lot; next to rent food was my biggest monthly expense.
In Canada carriers have different plans for each province, with the prairies getting the best deals. It's gotten so ridiculous that there's a "black market" where resellers sell SIM cards from other provinces and carriers trying to lock that down.
Anyway I lived in Manitoba and got a phone plan there where I'm paying half the cost for 3x the amount of data and features I would get in Ontario. The only downside is that most people calling me would get dinged long-distance since I'm using a Manibota number in Ontario, but Canada-wide calling plans are so common for mobiles now that I don't feel guilty about it.
Is that something you'd be interested in?
We have a current account for day to day expenses (groceries, toll road pass top up, a couple of meals out) and the same amount gets out in that at the start of the month. Then with a separate bank we have an account for all direct debits and standing orders (mortgage, electricity, internet, phone etc) including a standing order to an investment account which we view as a monthly expense (we are essentially paying ourselves but it's taken monthly so no excuses to miss paying it), so we put the same amount in to that every month.
We then have a number of savings accounts that cover the various expenses that crop up on an irregular/long terms basis. Holiday fund, clothes fund, Oh Crap! fund, TV License, insurances, christmas/gifts etc. We know how much needs to be in these by the time a payment is due (say annual payments) so each month one 12th of the amount gets added so when the payment is due the money is there. For gifts and christmas we adjust as we go on a six monthly basis, basically by Christmas we know we need a certain amount and it's great come November and all of christmas is paid for.
Any money left over gets put into a either investments or a big pot for a large purchase we may want to make in the future (eg, property).
Historically we have tracked expenses with a web app that I wrote however recently have switched to Pennies on iOS.
For cash back we use Quidco, to reduce monthly costs we look at moeysavingexpert (Martin Lewis's old site).
Beyond that we often check if something counts as lifestyle creep - the tendency to needlessly upgrade aspects of your life just because you have more disposable income that before. If we see a habit developing that costs extra money or we are making a big purchase we have a quick chat and ask if it's needless lifestyle creep? Sometimes we decide it is and we're ok with it, other times we'll decide that in the long run it's not worth the extra spend so stop.
Seems to work for us.
Note I haven't used it.
- keep track of every cent spent, i started using GnuCash, but there are a lot of other solutions available
- don't buy yourself a lunch every day, make a sandwich at home, or buy a thermo-box for warm food (this saves me ~30€ every week)
- if possible, drive by bike instead of the car or public transport
- i changed my petroleum gas and power provider and save about ~100€/y
- my opinion about coupons and "best deals" (on the web) is: they only mislead you to buy something you don't need. I only use coupons for grocery, and here you also need to be careful and compare the reduced price to prices of other stores.
- instead of going to the cinema/restaurant my girlfriend & I make picnics in the park or nature near, sometimes a bottle of wine + glasses is sufficent ;)
- second hand buying, ebay doesn't have the good deals anymore i think, but there are other (local) platforms (maybe there is a plugin which cross checks other platforms and puts it next to te amazon price tag?)
So my question is - are you looking to help people buy thing x more efficiently (and I'm not sure there's a lot of unment need there), or to help people not spend at all (in which case monetisation becomes contrary to the goal of the app).
The interruption could range from a simple nag screen, to an enforced cooling-off period before you can proceed with the purchase. Perhaps in the future the user could opt to move the money from their current account into a savings account instead of making the purchase.
Or maybe not even let them purchase at all so you have to use your smartphone to buy anything online. PITA; makes you think twice.
* displayed the amount of money in a personally relatable manner - "ShineyTron300 costs the same amount as your last 2 months of food expenses, are you sure? (y/N)
* make it easy to cancel/stash or defer the purchase, including as you suggest, an enforced time delay before re-prompting
* make it hard to complete (require several captchas, solve a maths puzzle, or complete a couple of levels of Duolingo or something) before letting you through.
* Enforcing a personal 'luxury sales tax' that padded the total amount of some %, and transferred that amount to savings if you complete teh purchase.
Basically, go hunting for dark patterns, and use them against yourself.
I'm not sure how far you could go without it just being too annoying and disabling/bypassing it though.
For example, I didn't buy a coffee on the way in, that is five dollars more at the end of the day than I would have had otherwise, so the question becomes "Do I want five dollars for doing nothing?"
I have some habitual spends like that which are much easier to cut down on if I think I frame it that way.
Every few days, Digit checks your spending habits and removes a few dollars from your checking account if you can afford it.
Digit sits on your money collecting the bulk of interest and giving you a paltry 0.2% annually . To be clear, I'm not dissing it... if it helps some people save more than they would otherwise, then that's great, but it's just not right for my use case. I feel similarly about Acorns.
That said, their concept is solid. I run the same strategy but a few times per month by hand and into an account with a good interest rate.
: See "Does Digit cost anything?" and "What are Savings Bonuses?" on https://digit.co/about/faq
If it flies, floats or fks it's cheaper to rent than to buy.
If you can't stay single at least avoid kids...
I know that won't be a popular opinion but the numbers don't lie.
like always, there's an XKCD for that:
..and like someone mentioned their 200$ food budget, try spending twice that amount on kindergarden a month that your kid is not attending for now because he's home sick and you're spending extra on treatment.
When you've exhausted your saving options, making more is still the best option for saving money:) Simple math, if you spend 3000/month of your favourite currency, then you'll have twice more money by earning 4000 vs 3500.
I brew my own beer (fortunately I enjoy this activity, and I live in a place with very high alcohol taxes).
I eat little meat.
Beyond that, review your regular expenses. Anything daily or monthly. Is that subscription still good value? Mortgage interest rate and payment schedule optimal?
About once a year or two I'll pile my downloaded bank transactions into a spreadsheet and look at the biggest categories.
I'll also reccomend moneysavingexpert.com to anyone; UK-focused but great general advice. I'm not a big fan of coupons as they're mostly a way of getting me to buy things I wouldn't otherwise, which isn't actually a saving.
Separate bank accounts for everyday spending and long term saving.
I make a point to never look at my paychecks and never check the balance of the account, and instead simply deal with my post tax, post saving total.
It doesn't lend its self to an app, but it has served me well over the years.
Invest on health - buy an exercise bike, bench/squat rack instead of gym. Saves a lot of time and money.
Property investment - dont know need to learn.
its a shame banking services are still pretty archaic in their infrastructure - with secure access to user data through a good, secure, api, i'd love an app that would give me alarming notifications if i was spending money out of my account. :)
Reading http://earlyretirementextreme.com/manifesto.html helped me to get the "saving money mindset" into my bones more than any other resource.
$ ledger reg Expenses:Personal:Food -b 2016.06.01 -e 2016.06.30
16-Jun-03 Pita Gyros Expenses:Personal:Food € 10.00 € 10.00
16-Jun-04 Pizza Expenses:Personal:Food € 35.00 € 45.00
16-Jun-09 Pita Gyros Expenses:Personal:Food € 10.00 € 55.00
16-Jun-10 Greek Tavern Expenses:Personal:Food € 25.00 € 80.00
The amazon prices seem to fluctuate enough to make this worthwhile.
Keen to hear anyone's thoughts...
MyMoneyZen is an online course, with built in software, which teaches people how to set up an automatic system to manage their money for them. So they can be good with money… fast.
Daily spending, risky investments, safe investments, lifestyle savings (e.g. holidays or other luxury spends) and bills/fixed expenses.
Often I will dip into lifestyle savings if I overrun my daily spending.
The best simple extension would be to have something that tracked my current spend for a month against time left in a month for my 'daily spending' account. But not sure I'd want to give just anyone access to my bank details.
Now I've done it again and will spend 2 years driving around Africa.
By far the number one question I get asked is how do I save money to do all of this - it's become a huge topic of discussion.
I wrote an eBook on the topic - called "Work Less to Live Your Dreams" which describes exactly how I'm able to do it.
If person is going to put something on a cc, display the price after 6 months of interest has been applied.
By not using credit cards, you're giving away 1–5% free reward money from cash back programs. Not to mention the additional purchase protection you receive from shoddy vendors, like bars padding tips.
I've never felt like it's taken much discipline for me personally, and I've never carried a balance on any credit card. I try to live far under my means and mostly just spend money on food, coffee, travel, and a laptop. Most of the rest of my "things" are hand-me-downs.
One "hack" that works for me is reviewing each transaction and paying the card in full every week. If I see it especially high one week then I spend more conservatively the next. I don't do any explicit budgeting, but being conscious of the big picture helps me.
This is even before mileage, hotel stay, etc. rewards come in.
* Walk a bit more so I save money on my drive to work
* Work from home most of the week
* I've stopped eating/ordering outside food dramatically
* Stopped smoking cigarettes almost 15 months now
* Reduce alcohol consumption
* Turn off fans, AC, TV at home/office
I'd like to do it myself, but am unsure how to get going.
YNAB is a paid SaaS whereas Gnucash is free, libre and has a nice mobile client to accompany it. Mobile also uploads to cloud storage, from where you can auto-import on desktop client startup.
Something that disables access to HN would probably be enough.
It build up over time, and it is dead simple to implement.
Live.. but don't waste.
Before 2000, maybe. Not so much since, especially if you took the two rides all the way down.