4 Ways to Save Money by Improving Time Management
Improving time management starts with understanding where your time is going. Take a week or two to track where you're spending most of your time, as well as any costs associated with each task you write down. Once you know where your time and money are going, consider these remedies that can help you save both.
1. Prep Meals
With a meal out costing an average of $12.75 versus $2-4 at home, cooking can save you a significant amount of cash. Finding the time to cook is another story. Start by choosing each meal for the week ahead of time. Consider what you can make with what you already have, and account for leftovers. Then, make a smart grocery list with only the items you need so that you can get in and out of the store.
Armed with ingredients, set aside a time to prep. Chop, slice, dice, and assemble so that all you have to do is heat or reheat your meals when you need them.
Recurring costs? Set up automatic online payments. While you should always keep an eye on your finances to make sure bills are accurate, automatic payments can give you peace of mind without having to worry about late fees.
If your bills vary from month to month, and you're worried about overdraft fees, consider leaving these off an autopay cycle. For subscription-based services, like food or clothing boxes, consider opting out of autopay, too, otherwise, you run the risk of forgetting what you signed up for.
3. Schedule Maintenance
Car and home repairs are a pain, but you can save in the long run with routine maintenance. As HouseLogic explains, a $4 tube of caulk can fix chipped caulking around windows — before rot and mold turn it into a $5,000 problem. Regular maintenance can also help increase your home's value.
The same goes for cars. Many maintenance tasks, like changing a car's cabin air filter, are easy DIY projects that can save you major money and the time in scheduling an appointment, taking your car to the shop, and waiting for work to get done. A cabin air filter costs around $15 to $25, but auto shops may charge you double, triple, or more. Order the part based on your car model online or at an auto shop, and YouTube videos will help you take care of the rest.
4. Brew it Yourself
Brewing a cup of coffee at home costs about $0.18. Compare that to an average of $2.70 at a coffee shop. And if you get a latte with two pumps of caramel and soy milk, that price can quickly increase.
If you're not a morning person, waking up ten minutes earlier to brew a cup doesn't sound appealing. However, many coffeepots allow you to program a start time. Prep it the night before and have your cup waiting in the morning. Or, consider investing in a coffee maker for your office. And if you have to buy on the go, get yourself a reusable cup; many shops give you a discount for bringing your own.
In the go-go-go of life, it's hard to slow down and consider where our time is being spent. But improving time management not only saves you cash, but it also saves your most important non-renewable resource: time.