ChooseFI Logo

All The Hacks | Chris Hutchins | EP 317



Chris Hutchins

What You’ll Get Out Of Today’s Show

  • Life gets busy when you have a new baby, so Chris Hutchins is on a quest to learn all the hacks, optimize his life, and share what he’s learned with you in his new podcast, All the Hacks.
  • The goal of the podcast is to help listeners upgrade their lives by living more exciting, fulfilling lives without spending a lot more money and optimizing it all along the way.
  • Life hacks tend to fall into one of three camps. It clicks with and becomes second nature, you find a way to automate it so you don’t even have to think about it, or it’s too much work and you never do it again.
  • If you can find where optimization and excitement intersect, it’s a huge win for you and your family.
  • When Chris thinks about life hacks, he thinks about different aspects of his life and what the important parts are, such as family, work, finances, shopping, travel, and self. Categories may also be broken down into multiple subcategories.
  • Jonathan says the idea of life hacks and living his life in a slightly more optimized way is what led him to financial independence which he says is the ultimate life hack as it helps us reclaim our most precious non-renewable resource, our time.
  • Coming out of a year of lockdown, it seems like everyone is planning to travel somewhere. Chris recommends using Google Flights to get quick insight into flight prices with flexibility on airports and dates.
  • For hotel planning, Chris says it’s often a choice between a better price or a better experience. Trip Advisor recently launched Trip Advisor Plus, a paid membership service that allows them to offer hotel rates around 7-8% off because the rates are not available to the general public. However, booking directly with the hotel will likely get you a better experience.
  • In addition to booking directly, reaching out to someone on the sales team or the general manager will often get you an upgrade or some sort of amenity. You may be able to find the names of individuals by seeing who is responding to reviews on Trip Advisor. Having status with the hotel can help as well.
  • A family life hack Jonathan and his wife began doing is creating a shared family photo library and build a slideshow of their favorites from the year.
  • Brad believes another life hack is just being a good person and making personal connections because it makes others want to go to bat for you. A lot of customer service reps have the discretion to do things for you that they wouldn’t if you get angry with them.
  • Website account hacks are becoming more commonplace and passwords are frequently stolen so using the same password for everything can be trouble. Check to see if your account has been part of a data breach at Haveibeenpwned.
  • A password manager makes it easier to use unique passwords for all your accounts. Increasing security with two-factor authentication helps make your accounts even more secure.
  • Chris has a fireproof box in his home where he keeps important documents and the one password he uses with his password manager 1Password.
  • In the event of death or incapacitation, a legacy binder has all the information loved ones need to manage your affairs.
  • As mentioned on the show previously, Brad uses ToDoist to track all his tasks. Chris says that you can’t use any software system like ToDoist for an hour and see the magic. Commit to it.
  • When it comes to renting cars, Chris rents with Avis using a Costco discount. He says to make sure if you’re a member of something, you find out if they have deals for you. Autoslash and Turo are additional ways to possibly save money on rental cars.
  • Listener Jessica asked about life hacks for type A career women and mothers on the path to FI. Chris thinks there is power in being incredibly passionate about a company you want to work for. He also says you can negotiate your salary all of the time especially if you present data that you are being underpaid.
  • Before having their baby. Chris was able to find almost half of the items on their baby register in the second-hand marketplace, which allowed them to have everything they wanted and not skimp out on their savings rate. Similarly, Brad’s wife Laura is able to plan ahead for the future and buy seasonal clothing for their daughters at tremendous discounts.
  • Another life hack, meal planning, is something that Chris and his wife just purchased for introducing their baby to solid foods. He says there is a bare minimum of what your time is worth. While they could have done it for free, buying the meal plan freed up a lot of their time making the cost worth it.
  • Jonathan says for baby clothes, his wife was able to make out like a bandit using local buy nothing groups. Plus, she has been able to arrange a neighbor exchange to keep kids in clothing as they grow. And within their home, they rotate toys to keep them interesting.
  • Another resource Jonathan has for Jessica is Dour and Carol’s book, Raising Your Money-Savvy Family, while Chris recommends moms’ groups, who share information and recommendations with each other
  • Chris says meal planning is his biggest hack when it comes to cooking. He uses Paprika to save recipes, meal plan, and grocery shop.
  • Steven Boyer from CampFI recommends if you cook something often, keep all of the items you use physically together. Brad used a little hack like that to remove the pain points he was experiencing make his morning smoothie prep go more smoothly.
  • Holly says if you have a separate freezer, you can buy meat in bulk when they are on sale and then have them whenever you need them.
  • Although Jonathan and his wife tried once a month meal prep, they have moved to cooking two to three meals a week and eating leftovers. Chris says he intentionally scales his meal sin Paprika up so that they have leftovers.
  • Brad likes to reduce the paradox of choice by eating the exact same meal every day for breakfast and needs a system for lunch.
  • To reduce her paradox of choice and frustration, Leslie created a capsule wardrobe for her closet by pretending she was packing for a three-week trip.
  • Chris has been culling his wardrobe by separating the clothing he has worn and washed from what stays in his drawers. The things that have remained in the drawers he can get rid of.
  • Karen’s daughter hates the idea of college and has an entrepreneurial mindset. Chris says there are so many opportunities to learn these days but the hardest thing is to tangibly identify something you can do.
  • Get experience. Starting something doesn’t mean it has to be your full-time job. You can explore the entrepreneurial side while doing something else. Learning new skills is valuable. Try a bunch and see what lights you up.
  • You don’t need to go to college anymore to earn an above-median income which is something he discusses in the Talent Stacker podcast. Jonathan and Bradley Rice built a job placement program around Salesforce which might be something Karen’s daughter would be interested in.
  • Chris says automation is magical and one of the things that drew him to work at Wealthfront was financial automation where he works on automation that directs your money where you want it to go automatically.
  • Next Level shirts from are the ones Brad likes ( He’s purchased the 6200 and 6210 in the past, but also intends to buy the 6010 triblend. 

Resources Mentioned In Today’s Conversation

Choose FI has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Choose FI and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. American Express is a ChooseFI advertiser. Disclosures.
More To Explore
You Might Be Interested in...
Something New at ChooseFI harnessed the power of AI to provide in-depth transcripts for all ChooseFI podcast episodes. Each section of the transcript is clickable so you can listen to the podcast at exactly the point you’re looking for

Other episodes
Share This Post