Finding a way to beat the system is hacking life, saving money

By Patti Diamond FROM
“Divas on a Dime”

“Life hack” has become a very popular term in the last few years. It comes from the computer term “hack” meaning finding a way around the system or rules. Life hacks are simple ideas that save time and money by using shortcuts and loopholes to change the way things are commonly done. Here are some life hacks for you.

Do you have a Swiffer floor cleaner but don’t like the cost of refills? You can use any cloth with your sweeper, simply wash and reuse. To refill the “wet jet” kind just remove the cap from the brand name bottle and refill it with your own cleaning solution.

Laundry sheets still work if you cut them in half. You’re also probably using too much laundry detergent. Try running a load of towels without adding detergent and see if the water gets sudsy. If it does, you can use less detergent. Adding vinegar to your laundry is great for removing odors.

Pay with cash instead of credit cards. If you worry about carrying cash, use a refillable gift card. Many studies have shown people are reluctant to part with their cash whereas swiping a credit card feels like painless “magic money.”

Don’t buy ice — you’re paying for water. Get an ice-cube tray, for goodness sakes. For your picnic cooler, freeze plastic bottles of water. You need to pour a little out before you freeze them or they’ll crack. The added bonus, you have drinking water when they defrost. You can refreeze and reuse them.

Cook meals at home. I write a lot about cooking but it really is the most effective way to lower monthly expenses. Many expenses are fixed like mortgage or car payments but your food budget can ebb and flow.

Use coupons when you shop. Only 3 percent of coupons issued by manufacturers get redeemed. If you don’t have time to clip your way through the Sunday paper, go to a coupon website like You search for specific products and see if they have coupons for what you plan to buy. Most stores have coupons available you can load directly from their websites to your shopper’s loyalty card.

Make coffee at home. Let’s do some math. If you pick up coffee on the way to work spending only $2 five days a week, 50 weeks a year, that’s $500 a year. The cost of a home-brewed cup is about 25 cents bringing the yearly cost to $62 per year for savings of $438. Boom.

So if you’re looking to save money, get out of debt or improve your budget strategy, I hope you’ll use these easy life hacks. Please visit our website at for more ideas that can make a big difference to your bottom line.

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