My aim for this blog is to help you find ways to save money. By spending less on things that don’t really matter to you, you’ll have more to spend on things that do. This also applies to something equally important: your time. The way you spend your time is a reflection of what is important to you.
With this in mind, I’ve come up with six ways to help you save time so you’ll have more to spend doing things you love.
1. Watch Less TV. We’ve all heard the statistics about how much TV Americans watch. My wife and I got rid of pay cable last summer and I haven’t missed it a day. Simply put, watching TV is a time drain. It’s so easy to sit on the couch and channel surf that before you know it, an hour has gone by and you have nothing to show for it. In addition, watching commercials could lead to greater temptation to spend.
If you really enjoy watching TV, set a limit for yourself and subscribe to Netflix or Hulu Plus to see programming on-demand with far fewer commercials.
2. Plan Ahead. For so many areas of life, we would benefit enormously from a little advance planning. When you have several errands to run in the same area of town, try combining them into one trip. If you know you won’t have much energy after work, plan a week’s worth of easy meals so you won’t have to put much thought into it each night. You can even lay out your clothes the night before if you’re not a morning person. The idea is to make it easier on yourself by planning for upcoming needs and activities.
3. Make a To-Do List. This is a great example of planning ahead. A To-Do list helps you focus on things you need to get done. I have a running To-Do list on my desk at work and constantly add to it as things come up. Then, if I have some free time during my lunch hour or after work, I can take care of things from the list. I get a sense of accomplishment as I cross off each item knowing I took care of something important.
You may want to divide your list into things that can be done quickly and those that take more time.
4. Stay Organized. The more clutter you have lying around, the more time it will take you to find something. I’ve always considered myself an organized person. In college, I stayed on top of assignments and always had them done early. Since moving out on my own I’ve developed a system to organize incoming mail, important papers and various other things around the house. Recycling has its own container. Keys go in the basket on the bookshelf. Shoes go in the closet. In other words, everything has its place.
Develop your own organization system and you’ll find yourself wasting less time looking for things.
5. Use Online and Mobile Banking. Mobile banking has made my life much, much better. To deposit a check, I used to have to drive to the bank during lunch, wait in line, and deal with deposit slips. Now I simply sign the back and deposit it using my smartphone without leaving the house.
Online bill pay has had a similar effect. Instead of trying to remember to mail a check each time the electric bill was due, I set it up to be paid automatically each month. My car loan is also paid this way. This prevents me from the burden of remembering when bills are due and possibly missing a payment.
6. Make Waiting More Productive. How much of your week is spent waiting? At the doctor’s office. At the bus stop. At the pharmacy. Is there a task on your To-Do list that could be done during this time? Filling in gaps in your day with things you have to get done is one of the best ways to save time.
Are there any other time-saving tips that work for you?