We all know the old adage — time is money.
It often seems that to save money, you have to give more of your time. And to save time you end up spending more money. Just think back to the last time you opted for that fast food joint because you didn’t have time to pack a lunch.
It’s a tradeoff we face almost every day and these time vs. money decisions make a significant impact on our wallets. Luckily, there are some easy ways to maximize your time while you save money simultaneously.
Below are ten simple life hacks that will help both save time and save money:
The average cost of owning a car costs almost $8,558 a year. Not only is driving an expensive form of transportation, it can also be the least productive. Try biking or taking the bus. Bikers get to their destination quickly while also reaping the benefits of a cardio workout. Public transportation can be far slower than driving, but you can read, listen to podcasts, knit or do a slew of other activities in the meantime.
Workout at home.
The average gym membership is $60 a month. For that amount, you can buy a workout DVD, a yoga mat or a set of hand weights. Plus, you don’t have to drive to the gym, wait for the equipment you want or pack a gym bag. You can also find an accountability partner who will keep you in check, even without the lure of a gym.
Drop the cable.
Consider cutting the cord if you’re one of the few left who still has cable tv. The average monthly cable bill was $99 in 2016. For that price, you can buy a subscription to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and have money left over. You won’t miss your favorite shows, but you could cut back on mindless channel surfing and find more productive ways to spend your evenings and weekends.
Prep and batch meals.
Cooking has the reputation of being time-intensive, even if it’s cheaper than buying pre-made meals or eating out. But if you consider the time it takes to eat at a restaurant, it doesn’t seem so bad. You can save time on cooking by batching your meals when you make one meal that can last several days. Lots of people choose one day a week to meal prep for the week ahead, storing individual meal portions in tupperware or freezer bags. A slow cooker can also help if you want to prepare a meal in the morning — let it cook while you’re at work and come home to a finished meal.
Buy non-dry clean clothes.
Buying dry-clean only clothes is not only often more expensive, it’s also more time-consuming. You could buy a full jug of laundry detergent for what you’d pay to dry clean one dress or pair of pants. Dry cleaning also takes time, since you have to drop off your clothes and pick them up separately a few days later. Instead, look for business-appropriate clothes that are laundry safe and presentable for the office.
Learn to fix things.
When you break something, what do you typically do? Do you Google how to fix it or do you toss it away and buy a replacement? The more you learn how to fix things, the less money you’ll spend purchasing new items. For example, learning how to sew can save you hundreds on new clothes. You can also learn how to do more complicated repairs like hemming in order to avoid using a pricey tailor. You’ll save time by not working around someone else’s schedule or giving up hours of your day for those annoying 10am-2pm time windows.
Paying your bills only takes a few minutes, but if you miss a payment you could face late fees and interest charges. Set up autopay for all your bills so you don’t have to think about when your water bill is due or when your credit card statement closes. Plus, autopay is much faster than writing multiple checks every month. Online banks, like Chime, also offer financial automation tools such as an Automatic Savings account that helps you save when you spend and Automatic Transfers which enables you to automatically stash away a percentage of every paycheck each month.
Spending time and money at the bars can be unfulfilling and expensive, especially if you go out several times a week. Consider volunteering as a way to maintain your lifestyle while enjoying the culture your city or town has to offer. For example, if you volunteer at a local art festival, you can enjoy the atmosphere without paying pricey admission. Plus, you’ll meet new people, feel better about yourself and maybe even score some free swag.
Use internet plugins to save money.
Plugins like Honey, Ebates and Invisible Hand search for coupons, deals, and savings while you’re shopping online. Instead of spending hours looking for discount codes manually, use these plugins to do the work for you. Apps like Paribus track your receipts for any price drops and refund you the difference if an item you bought is cheaper now than when you purchased it.
Shopping online is convenient, but it can also lead to mindless decisions that you don’t think about until the package has reached your doorstep. Instead of wasting time and money by browsing through Amazon, make a plan for what you need and only buy that specific item. If you feel compelled to purchase something impromptu, consider waiting a few days to see if the urge wears off.
Each of these money and time-saving tips can go a long way to grow your wealth and make your days more efficient.
While money can be infinite, time certainly isn’t. So, let’s make the most of both!