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I make it a habit to learn as little as possible by rote, and just derive what I need when I need it.

Do realize that you're trading efficiency (as in speed of access in normal use) for that space saving in your brain. Memorizing stuff allows you to move on and save your mental deducing cycles for really new stuff.

Back when I was memorizing the multiplication tables, I noticed that

9 x N = 10 x (N-1) + (9 - (N-1))

That is, 9 x 8 = 70 + 2

So, I never memorized the 9's the same way I did all the other single digit multiplications. To this day I'm slightly slower doing math with the digit 9. The space/effort saving was worth it when I was 8 years old, but definitely not today.