How to Spend Less Money and Time on Monthly Expenses
Even with all the technology that helps us do more in less time, it can still seem like there’s never quite enough time to get everything done. When you feel overwhelmed with work and life, it’s easy to spend without thinking because you are under so much pressure.
For example, assuming your job has returned to an office or other workspace outside of home, a typical 12-hour workday full of meetings and errands might involve picking up coffee on the way in to the office, ordering lunch from GrubHub, and then hitting the drive-thru on the way home. Now, multiply the money you’ve spent on takeout and delivery by five, because the rest of the week will most likely run at the same hectic pace.
Leverage online grocery shopping and delivery service
Online grocery shopping for pickup and delivery provides an efficient way to take care of this weekly task and seems to be gaining in popularity as a result. More grocery retailers throughout the country now offer a way to sign in to a website, place a grocery order, and then choose between driving to the store to pick up the order and having it delivered to the shopper’s home. Moreover, grocery delivery helps you maintain social distancing and stay healthy.
This strategy is convenient because it saves you considerable time and may stop you from making impulse buys. After all, if you don't know it exists, you don't buy it. Instead, your online grocery shopping helps you stick to your well-planned list of needs, not wants. You also save on gas.
Grocery delivery services can yield significant time savings. You not only avoid traveling to and from the store, as well as standing in line, but with most online grocery sites you can also save prior purchases so you can quickly place future orders.
Many grocery retailers with shopper loyalty clubs provide the same pricing online as in the store. You will likely pay a service fee to the store for pulling your order from the shelves, but it’s usually small. When it comes to delivery, look for options that discount or waive the delivery fee as well as special offers and coupons. Together, these offers make grocery delivery a good way to spend money on necessary items while still saving time.
"Insource" everything to eliminate service costs
At some point in the past, and in our haste to keep up with work deadlines and our kids’ activities, we decided that the best approach for house cleaning, gardening and pool maintenance was to hire service providers — in other words, to outsource. This approach might take the stress off to a certain degree, but the costs quickly add up.
To understand how you can save money and time by firing your service providers, add up the time that it takes to clean the house, mow the lawn and take care of the swimming pool. Although houses and yards vary, perhaps you might not actually spend more than five to 10 hours a week on these activities.
Now, think about how those hours could be divided among family members, including your kids or your roommates. Remember the old saying: “Many hands make light work.”
By turning these household chores into a family activity, you can get them done quickly and save money. At the same time, your kids will learn important life skills so they can do those chores when they have their own homes instead of simply hiring service professionals themselves. They might even gain a better understanding of the true value of money, assuming you opt to give them an allowance for helping out.
Stop buying excess stuff
When you look around, you’ll find most people are fixated on tiny screens. They aren’t just checking email or their social channels. Many are also using mobile devices to browse all types of merchandise.
It’s hard not to do the same when there are so many websites and individuals in our social circles who are sharing information about the latest and greatest products. All you have to do is click on a link or two and suddenly more stuff is on its way to you. It’s so ubiquitous that we’ve developed cute nicknames for this new shopping behavior — like “Wine and Prime.”
However, beyond the humorous side of it, profound consequences can flow from a serious shopping habit that drains your excess money or even creates a mountain of debt. Instead, “buy” back the time you spend shopping for stuff you actually don't need. In addition to getting your time under control and saving more money, you'll be able to help the environment by not overbuying.
Try meal prep
Given your hectic weekly schedule, it’s understandable if you don’t feel like cooking meals and washing up. However, those restaurant meals, pizza deliveries and fast food pit stops add fat to your budget — and maybe your waistline!
Meal prep sounds like a lot of work, but once you get used to the process, it actually isn’t. It’s also an activity that can involve the whole family. You can prepare meals for lunch and dinner — and even breakfast — in advance. Reusable containers provide a way to portion, store and reheat each meal. Alternatively, you can make and store dishes in sealable bags and freeze them. Plenty of websites offer menu plans, grocery lists, recipes and instructional videos for meal prepping to guide you through the process efficiently.
Re-evaluate Your time and money decisions
It’s also important to reflect on what you do with the time you’re given. It’s easy to keep busy, but it’s challenging to be productive. Wasting time and money often go hand-in-hand.
Look at your schedule and find where you can carve out the time to leverage the simple changes shared here. Maybe with all the money you save, you can reduce your work time and enjoy life more!