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Have you heard the old adage “time is money?” While this is true, I often remind myself that time is so much more than that. Time is the great equalizer for all people.
For example, Mark Cuban is a billionaire, and you’re most likely not, yet you both only have 24 hours in each day. What counts is how well you utilize your time to live your best life. And with so many things competing for your attention in the noise of life, developing time saving routines can be critical to maximizing your life satisfaction.
As a full-time teacher, realtor, and blogger, I have learned to build time saving routines into each day. They are the reason I am able to pursue three career avenues while also maintaining time for family, friends, and recreation.
To be fully transparent, I haven’t always been so efficient with my time. I developed my routines through trial and error, and from time to time, even extreme efficiency cannot help me to juggle it all.
11 Life-Changing Money and Time Saving Routines
If you’re overwhelmed by life and feel that there just isn’t enough time to do it all, the following time saving routines may be the tricks you need to make the most of your time and boost your happiness! Pick a few to implement this week after reading the tips below.
1. Start Your Day the Same Way Every Day
If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then it also stands to reason that the first half hour of your day is the most important. I strongly believe that the first 30 minutes of my day can set the tone for the rest of my day. After coming to this understanding, I decided to structure my waking moments as follows:
- Press “Snooze” on my alarm clock (not my iPhone – more on that below!) and spend five minutes in quiet to pray and run through the events of the day in my mind.
- Get out of bed, shower, and get dressed for the day.
- Let our dogs out and pour myself a cup of coffee (set to brew on a timer from the previous night) while standing at the island in our kitchen.
On the surface these steps may not seem like time saving routines, but if you look a second time, you’ll notice that I don’t do what nearly every person does upon waking up: check my iPhone.
In the past, I used to spend an easy 30 minutes (or more!) reading the news, scrolling through Facebook and Twitter, checking e-mail, and more before even getting out of bed. One day, it dawned on me that this is a huge time vacuum! And the worst part is that it often led me to start my day out grumpy and stressed out about everything I needed to do that day.
My time number one money and time saving tip is simple: find time saving routines that work for you and implement them to start your day off in a positive way.
2. Choose Your Clothing the Night Before
At the risk of having my man card revoked, I’ll be honest: I like clothes. A lot.
In the past, it wasn’t uncommon for me to stand in our closet and decide on outfits for several minutes each morning.
By choosing my clothes the night before when I am far more alert, I save myself an estimated 30 minutes each week.
3. Set-up Automatic Payments on Everything
Have you ever sat down to pay bills and realized you didn’t have any envelopes? Cue a trip to Office Max. You resume the process and discover you don’t have any stamps? Off to the post office you go.
Today, there is no reason to waste so much time paying bills when you can automate payments through your various service providers or your bank. Make a list of your regular bills and set up auto pay as soon as possible.
Related Tip: It’s a wise move to review your bills for unused subscriptions every few months to make sure you’re not just throwing money down the drain for services you don’t use.
Trim Financial Manager can help you with this task – and it’s free! $5 Meal Plan, help you find unused subscriptions and even help you cancel them!
4. Handle Mail and Other Documents Only Once
When my wife and I got married, we quickly developed the dreaded pile of mail on our kitchen table. Maybe we thought the other person would just take care of it, or if we just ignored it maybe it would go away. Even today, it rears its ugly head when we both are unusually busy.
Of all the time saving routines I have implemented, handling mail and other documents only once may be the easiest to apply consistently. When I open mail, I quickly choose a course of action: recycle it, shred it, act upon it, or file it.
5. Make the Most of Idle and Busy Work Time
Call me weird – you know you want to – but I enjoy menial tasks even when they’re simple “busy work.” Mowing the lawn, folding laundry, cleaning the house, and running errands are my jam.
Why? I make the most of this time by listening to podcasts, audio books, and even writing articles for this site via voice dictation. For a driven, type A personality, accomplishing two things at once is practically euphoric.
While I caution anyone against multi-tasking – it doesn’t really work – making the most of your time by engaging your mind during mindless activities is one of my favorite time saving routines.
6. Set Limits Using Timers
I don’t know if this is true for everyone, but I have a rare ability to make even the quickest tasks take a ridiculous amount of time if I know I have time to burn. For example, I once spent an hour writing a simple thank you note that should have taken only five minutes. My face should probably be plastered all over posters for Parkinson’s Law (work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion).
Setting timers to keep yourself on task is one of my favorite time saving routines because it provides the simplest form of accountability. Do your best to set realistic time limits for all tasks and your productivity will soar.
7. Maintain an Electronic Family Calendar
Whether you are newly-married or have a large family of several children, saving time is all about being organized. My wife and I do not have children, but our electronic family calendar is often the only thing keeping us on top of everything that we have going on.
You can use any number of apps to share an electronic calendar with members of your family. We keep all of our important events, birthdays, bill due dates, vet appoints for our dogs, and much more on our shared Google calendar. It only takes a few minutes to update each week and even less time to check each day, and it is one of the easiest time saving routines you can implement.
8. Tidy Up Often
Have you even gotten to the end of a busy week only to realize that you had let dishes, clutter, and dirty laundry slide for five days? I have, and it’s awful.
One of my least favorite but most impactful time saving routines helps us fight back against the weekly build up of clutter: we take five minutes each day to tidy up our house.
I like to use a small basket or box and collect items that haven’t been put away, round them up all at once, and then put them away. Even if you do this every other day, it will make a big difference and help you save weekend time for more important and fun things.
9. Cook With Your Crock Pot
If you haven’t embraced the mighty power of the Crock Pot, let me say this: it’s time, and you’re going to love it! I estimate that Crock Pot cooking saves us a minimum of 2-3 hours each week.
And if you’re one of those people (like us) who sometimes struggles to pull together a weekly plan for dinners, $5 Meal Plan can save you some serious time.
Related: Get started with our 10 favorite money-saving Crock Pot meals.
10. Batch Meal Prep and Cooking
On a related note, batch meal prep and cooking saves us time when we aren’t using our Crock Pot. It uses fewer dishes, knives, cutting boards, and also cuts down on prep and clean-up time.
11. Carry a Water Bottle
How does carrying a water bottle count as one of our time saving routines? Your efficiency in any task is greatly diminished when you are dehydrated. By carrying a water bottle regularly, you will help your body work closer to its peak efficiency and you’ll avoid having to drop several dollars on bottled water each day.
Start Implementing These Tips
Let’s be honest: you only have so many hours and minutes in each day. Implementing time saving routines and making them a consistent part of your week can greatly help your efficiency and improve your overall life satisfaction.
If you’re looking for even more tips to save money, be sure to check out the articles below – they are full of money saving tips that may help you save hundreds or thousands each year!
- Five Tips to Save $1,000 Fast
- How to Cut the Cord on Cable or Satellite and Save Money While Still Watching Your Shows
- Cleaning Your Kitchen Without Expensive Chemicals and Tools
- Smart Items to Buy at the Dollar Store
- 11 Must-Try Grocery Budget Hacks
What time saving routines do you recommend? Do they also help you save money?
Mrs. Picky Pincher saysJune 5, 2017 at 8:16 AM
Well looky here! I do most of these things. 🙂 I should be better about crockpot cooking, but oh well. Since I started working remotely, I’ve been able to have a significantly more structured schedule. It’s been a wonderful way to feel motivated, get some exercise, and make sure all my ducks are in a row when the day begins.
Hero saysJune 5, 2017 at 9:22 AM
I have heard mixed reports on time efficiency from friends who work remotely. Some love it, and others feel it makes them less productive. Having time saving routines in place is a huge part of the battle, I’m sure.
Crock Pot cooking is a ho-hum idea for a lot of people, and I get that to some extent. Certain meals just aren’t going to work well, but a surprisingly high number of our go-to meals actually taste better in our Crock Pot.
Thanks for sharing your experiences, Mrs. PP!
Mike saysJune 5, 2017 at 1:17 PM
I’m a little wary of using automatica payments…i normally set up the payment to be paid the day it’s due…no need to give them my money early…since i got married i have been more consistent in making the most out of my mornings and not ryshing to get ready for work…
Ryan @ Just Another Dollar saysJune 6, 2017 at 8:26 AM
We’ve gotten pretty good at a few of these, but I can definitely see where I could improve to make a dramatic difference. We’ve got the meal-prep, crock pot cooking, and food/diet related ones down to a science; we order groceries online & pick them up Sunday, then spend a couple hours cooking for the entire week. My biggest downfall is not focusing on a single task instead of trying to multitask. Even right now I’ve got 4 Chrome tabs, an Excel workbook, and my phone open; it ends up wasting a ton of time. Thanks for the great list!