Yes, you’ve favourited Reddit because it feeds your love of dank memes and conspiracy theories – but the Front Page Of The Internet is also an excellent source of *actual knowledge*.
you, shocked, rn
A primo example is the personal finance subreddit. With over 12 million subscribers, it ranks among the top 40 subreddits worldwide and with good reason: some of the best financial tips you can get come from the collective trove of knowledge of millions of redditors.
Here are eight of the best tips and advice we’ve gleaned from the top posts of all time.
EATING OUT COSTS WAY MORE THAN YOU THINK
If you’re on a budget, a super-easy way to cut down on your expenses is to do the cooking yourself. Yes, sometimes the sandwich at That Certain Place just tastes better, and maybe you and the local barista are actually meant to be.
But cooking and preparing your meals yourself is still cheaper than even the cheapest fast food joints, and it’s just straight-up better for you. One redditor (who has since deleted their account) dropped their monthly eating out costs from $770 to $42, solely by focusing on cooking at home:
“…I went from $1000/mo food expense (how the ever living hell was I making ends meet with this?) to $322/mo. And the kicker is I still have tons of food leftover at the end of the week. The only two meals I bought this month were a BK chicken sandwich while I was on the road and a birthday meal for someone.
It feels awesome to have a 70% reduction in spending in this area just due to self control.”
ALWAYS KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR SCAMS
Scams come in way more forms than you think. As we’ve become more observant, scammers have kept up by using any and every method available to get around our defences. The best thing we can do is to stay vigilant – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
User fateofmorality became suspicious when a supposedly legitimate company sent his girlfriend a $4,000 cheque to “buy supplies” for a new job she got via a uni job board. Thanks to sleuthing by fellow redditors, it turned out to be scammers fraudulently using the real company’s name. Similarly, 1chemistdown noted that the suggested ads on Reddit itself were offering bad tax advice to consumers.
CHECK YOUR BANK TRANSACTIONS
On the topic of staying vigilant, it’s always good to know what is or isn’t coming out of your accounts. You never know what pre-authorised transactions might be coming out, or if someone did a sneaky one with your money.
Case in point: user MPTPWZ1026, whose dad noticed that he was still paying $30 a month for Dial-Up Internet he clearly wasn’t using, despite dial-up internet being all but dead since the early 2000’s. The kicker? The internet provider refused to refund him as well.
KNOW HOW MUCH YOU’RE WORTH
Keeping track of both what you are being paid and what you should be paid for your role is vital for your long-term career. The last thing you want is to be stuck in a job where you are being underpaid, even if you enjoy it. User Rickayy_OG discovered they were being paid less than most other entry-level employees in their field, and used data sourced from reddit to successfully negotiate for a pay rise.
THERE’S VALUE IN PAYING RENT
There’s a common misconception that paying rent is “throwing your money away”.
But as user KeepJerseyDirty points out, buying a home will more than likely be the biggest purchase of your life. In addition, the housing market, like any market, is volatile and unpredictable. Add to that the costs and taxes involved, and there are way more things to consider before taking the plunge. Jumping into it solely because you’re renting may not be the best course of action.
BE PREPARED FOR EMERGENCIES
You’ll never know when disaster will hit you or your loved ones. So it’s worth having about a fraction of your income set aside in an emergency fund, just in case. User SandyDFS found out the hard way, when their mother faced repossession due to some missed car finance payments. He sent $500 over ASAP, no questions asked, and in his own words, “It felt GOOD to be prepared to help. I don’t care about that $500 at all.”
CALCULATE HOW MUCH A PET COSTS BEFORE YOU COMMIT
Yes, they provide unconditional love, companionship, and a treasure trove of instagrammable moments. But pets are a real investments, with ongoing costs including food, grooming, vet visits, and other unexpected costs along the way. It’s worth doing the calculations before you jump in to see if you can afford it.
User weaksquare and their wife did just that when they considered buying a bearded dragon as a pet, only to discover that the ongoing costs of owning one – including the rise in electricity costs, due to needing an always-on UV bulb for the reptile aquarium – would be a staggering $10000 per annum. Needless to say, they did not get a bearded dragon.
THERE’S JOY IN TAX RETURNS
Yes, technically it’s your money that the government has been holding onto interest-free. But as zagor64 bluntly puts it, “It’s a bit like finding a forgotten $20 bill in your pants pocket. It was yours anyway but it’s still a welcome find.”
*The above article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent financial advice before making any financial decisions.