Top 10 Pro ed tips

Consider a Spending Fast

Sometimes the best way to accomplish a goal is to go all-in. This is where a spending fast comes in. A spending fast is exactly what is sounds like. There are 5 levels to the spending fast. Each level teaches new financial skills and supercharges your frugality muscle. You can read more about conducting a spending fast the right way here.

Use waiting rooms

Zoom has A LOT of privacy settings. When not used correctly, people can get into your common meeting room even if it’s not their time yet. They can get information that’s supposed to be confidential or disturb your current meeting altogether. The first thing on our list of Zoom tips is the safest privacy measure: to set up a waiting room from which the host needs to approve every participant before they can join. To enable Zoom meeting rooms at a user-level, go to your profile’s Settings, click on the Meeting tab, go to Security, and toggle the Waiting Room option. You can also set these for every specific call when scheduling a meeting. Besides this quick hack, there’s loads of other Zoom privacy tips to use…

Get your privacy settings right

Have you ever joined a meeting five minutes early only to find your host was still in another meeting? Yup, happened to me. Here’s everything you can do to prevent such blunders:

  • Enable end-to-end encryption (E2EE): This automatically disables entry before the host, live streaming, cloud recording, and more actions that could leak information.
  • Don’t share your meeting link on social media or publicly: Unless you’re hosting a big industry event or webinar via Zoom, share links within other secured communication channels.
  • Keep private Zoom meeting rooms separate from public ones: When hosting a public event, make sure you’re not using your Personal Meeting ID.
  • Remove unwanted or spammy participants: This is especially helpful if you’re hosting a live event where anyone can join. Remove them from the call or block their video/audio entirely. Limit their screen sharing capabilities or disable the chat, file sharing, and annotations options to avoid them sharing spam or dangerous content.
  • Never allow people to join before a host: Head to your profile’s Settings and the Meeting tab to disable the Join before host option. You can also do this for every meeting from the advanced settings when scheduling a call from the desktop app. Note that Zoom has taken extra caution measures and now makes it mandatory for a meeting to have one of the following: a passcode, a Waiting Room, or the Only authenticated users can join meetings feature turned on. You can add these manually but note that passwords are a must and you can’t completely remove them. Don’t forget to stick to our full list of privacy tips to prevent hacking, information theft, and “Zoombombing”.

Manage Your Taxes

Taxes will cost you more than any other thing in your life, including your home. It may not feel like spending, but taxes are a massive expense everyone can do better at reducing. I see people in my office all the time that had prepared their own tax return. In nearly all cases they overpaid the government. Since income, sales, excise, property and other taxes consume over half of the national income, you will need a two-pronged approach in applying frugality to your tax spending. First, most people need a tax professional to assure they are utilizing as many tax benefits as possible. The tax code is complex and getting more so every day. Even the pros struggle to keep up with the changes. What chance do you have? And the over-the-counter DIY software can’t do everything for you either. Second, even with a tax pro in your corner you need to keep yourself informed on tax issues. Read about tax breaks that apply to you. Question your tax professional. Don’t be afraid of paying for some consulting with your tax pro. When I consult with clients I have in excess of a 10x return for the client. That means for every dollar they spend they benefit over $10. We call that hyper-frugal!

Remove background noises completely

Struggling to hear your colleagues or can’t get your point across because your surroundings are bustling? Use Krisp to automatically mute all background sounds, chattering, construction work, barking, and everything else for both you and your listeners. See Krisp in action: Here’s how to set it up in less than one minute for any Zoom account.

Stay Healthy

Easier said than done. Illness is expensive and the cost goes beyond the medical. Lost wages and a lower quality of life are two huge costs of poor health. Staying healthy is easier for some and harder for others. Regardless, you need to eat quality food in proper proportions. Exercise is vital. Because everyone reading this will be in a different place with their health, I encourage you to consult with your doctor in building a plan to improve your health. Get on the right diet for you. Find the best exercise program for you. Don’t forget your social life. Family and friends play a large roll in your health. If you sit in taverns with friends that drink too much and smoke, you might have a problem. Consideration for your lifestyle is an important part of your frugal lifestyle. Choose who you associate with well.

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergent in the box stores have so many fillers just to make it look like you are getting a lot for your money when you are not. You can cut your laundry costs up to 98% by making your own laundry detergent. It is easy to do and it cleans better than store-bought detergent. Consider the detergent-making process a family project. It is fun and teaching your children the low-cost way of living is priceless; a gift that never stops giving.

Start a meeting on mute every time

Stop the initial buzzing or people tuning in late and distracting the others by having everyone on mute at the start. When scheduling a new video call, simply go to your Advanced Options and check the Mute participants upon entry feature. Fun fact: Press and hold the spacebar to temporarily unmute yourself during meetings.

Stay Put

As discussed above with vehicles, transaction costs add up fast. The same applies to where you live. It is expensive to move. It takes time and requires helping hands and/or a moving truck, etc. If you are renting there might be some damages that get deducted from the security deposit; the new place will also require a security deposit. Owning your own home can be a very frugal move! But take a page from Warren Buffett’s book. Buffett is one of the financially wealthiest people on the planet. He bought the home he lives in back in 1958 for $31, 500. His home is worth over $650,000 now. Buffett mentioned many times he would not be happier living in a bigger or newer home. He is happy right where he is. And good thing. The money he saved in Realtor fees and other selling costs would have come from the seed money he used to build his fortune. Fees generally are things you pay that give you next to nothing in return. Cutting fees is the surest frugal step you can take. Stay put. Move only if you have to (i.e.. job change).

Use a Clothes Drying Rack

Everyone loves the smell of clothes dried outdoors. We saw in Tip #19 how to save money on laundry detergent. How about cutting the cost of drying your clothes to zero? If you are able to hang clothes outdoors, do so. If not, you can use a clothes drying rack. They are inexpensive and pay for themselves many times over. As a bonus, you add moisture to the air during the dry winter months. That means your frugal clothes drying habit will also make your home more comfortable. You can read more about the clothes drying racks I use here. There are some links to Amazon to help in your search for the best clothes drying rack also.