When did hacks become such a popular term? As a former computer programmer, hacks were not people you wanted on your team. Hacks got the job done, but it was never pretty. 90% of the time, someone would end up re-writing their stupid code.
I ask many colleagues for such and such a code snippet that did such and such a function. But not the hacks. I steered clear of them.
In life, I try to stay away from hacks too. Because honestly, if it's worth doing, it's worth doing well. And if it takes too much time, you can probably build a good system and not be such a hack all the time.
However, the young people like hacks, so I'm here to proffer them to you. Please note, these aren't hacks. They're just frugality systematized.
Wash your hair with dish soap
Not every day of course. That would lead to damage.
However, a clarifying shampoo is not worth $20-$50 per bottle. It's a strong degreasing agent like, I don't know, the soap under your kitchen sink.
Seriously, it works.
If you want to save even more money you can wash your hair with baking soda (1 Tablespoon) and Clarify with Apple Cider Vinegar (2 Tablespoons).
You could also consider not showering every day, but I only recommend that in the winter.
Eat crap at home
If you're "out of food" at home, so you choose to swing by a fast food joint for dinner, you're probably wrong.
Unless you have an unusual affinity for fast food, you probably won't enjoy your meal, and you'll pay enough for a steak dinner at home.
If you're going to eat crap, just do it at home. Peanut Butter and Jelly- not a healthy choice, but you aren't going for healthy. Ramen with leftover chicken, not a healthy choice, but it's cheap. Eggs and homemade waffles. Healthy? No. Easy? Yes.
Listen, I love a meal out. I even crave fast food sometimes, but if you're eating fast food for convenience just eat whatever crap you have at home and admit that you feel no worse than you would if you ate something from the Golden Arches.
You can even get bonus morality points if you manage to eat fruit and vegetables, but don't stretch yourself here.
On this same note, if you learn to cook, you can consistently "hack" restaurant meals by cooking for yourself at home. At that point, it's not so much a hack as a good habit, and one that you may enjoy.
Substitute Baby Wash
Baby wash is awesome. Since discovering baby wash, I haven't bought face wash and my acne has cleared up. Now this also corresponds to giving birth, so take the advice with a grain of salt.
However, baby wash has many other superior benefits such as being cheap (I buy a 24 oz bottle for $2.79 at Aldi), easy on eyes and skin, and leaving less soap scum in the tub.
Also, you don't have to worry about the butt/face concern associated with bar soap.
Do you love media, but hate clutter? Do you get sick of reading your kid the same 60 books? The library is your friend.
Most libraries have an extensive collection of e-books, and if you're lucky you can get audio books via OverDrive.
If you're particularly dedicated, you might even check out physical books, DVDs, and magazines. Or if you're particularly lucky, you might get free museum passes.
If you have kids, they can almost always get a free sticker at the library.
Ammonia + Water
The natural cleaning people may freak, but I don't use anything organic in my house (unless you include borax, baking soda, lemon, and vinegar). However, I don't spend much on cleaning chemicals. If I'm wiping down a surface that isn't the inside of a toilet, I simply spray with ammonia and water mixed together (one part ammonia to eight parts water).
It kills germs, cleans, and my kids have already survived spraying themselves in the face with it (well, Shirley survived a spray gone wild from Kenny).
I recommend being a better parent than I am and having close supervision while your three your old helps you clean, but I accidentally forgot that it would not be okay to turn my back for 12 seconds. Still, everyone survived.
I'm a wife, a mom, an employee, and a personal finance nerd who is devoted to spreadsheeting my way through life.