Life is busy. With full time jobs, school, family, friends, pets, kids, appointments, and errands, we barely have enough time to relax, let alone keep our finances in order. Sometimes a hectic life is what really wreaks havoc on our finances; we become so busy that we forget about frugality and budgeting and just want to get things done without caring about the cost. Here are some tips to help you keep your finances in order when your life is anything but in order:
#1. Freeze Your Food
For me, cooking is one of the first things to go when life gets busy. When I’m working all day and studying all night, the last thing I want to do is slave away in the kitchen for a nice home-cooked meal. I want something fast and a frozen box meal usually doesn’t cut it. Fast-food is a good fix, but it hurts your wallet and your waistline.
My solution? I cook in bulk when I have time and freeze half the leftovers. Often, on weekends, I’ll cook a batch of chili, pasta, lasagna or some other dish that freezes well and put half on ice. During those busy weeks, I’ll pull out the frozen dish on Monday morning so it can thaw during the day. By evening, I’ll have a fresh, home-cooked meal that I can eat all week. It’s a pretty sweet deal for not even have to cook anything!
#2. Save the Date or Automate
When you get busy, it’s easy to forget your own birthday let alone when your water bill or rent is due. When you’ve got a million other things on your mind, how can you possibly remember that your water bill is due on the 12th, electricity on the 25th, and rent on the 1st? Even if you can remember the due dates, the first of the month may come and go before you even realize what day it is.
A simple solution is to set up your bills to be automatically paid every month. You can usually set up bill automation through the individual utility company, but you can also try to set up bill pay through your bank, too. If you can’t automate your recurring expenses, try setting up a reminder alert on your cell phone or a calendar on your computer.
#3. Stock your Car or Purse
Vending machines and office cafeterias can be a fiscally and physically fit person’s worst nightmare. To avoid these junk-food traps, try buying healthy snacks such as granola or protein bars, raw almonds, homemade trail mix (dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and chocolate chips), or crackers in bulk at the grocery store; then, stash individual serving sizes of the snacks in your purse, car, cubicle, or locker. Not only will you avoid vending machine prices, but you’ll save money in the long run by buying in bulk from the grocery store.
#4. Turn Things Off
Since many of us are so busy, we’re probably not at home as much of the time. It’s common sense to turn off the TV and lights in a room when you’re not using them. However, try unplugging unused kitchen appliances, electronics, lamps, and power strips when you’re not at home during the day. Simply plug them back in when you need to use them; you just won’t be draining energy while you’re at work or school all day.
#5. Do Less Laundry
Unless you’re full time job involves some sort of heavy lifting or outside work that leaves you sweating through your shirt every day, it’s pretty likely that your work attire doesn’t get too dirty. That said, if you have a desk job or any sort of office job, you could probably get away with not washing your dress pants, skirts, or dress shirts every time that you wear them.
This tip is really up to your personal discretion, but if you’re okay with it, it could end up saving you time and money in the long run. Less dirty clothing means less laundry time which means less water and electricity used by washing your clothes. Don’t forget about avoiding unnecessary wear and tear that washing machines can cause to your clothes if they are being washed every week. Remember: there is a very fine-line between dirty clothes and clean clothes, so make sure to really consider the choice before wearing a shirt ten times without washing it.
#6. Move Weekly Errands to Bi-Weekly
Grocery shopping and other errands can be time-consuming and frustrating, especially when your free time is limited. Try buying in bulk at the grocery store so that you only have to go grocery shopping every other week. Like I mentioned earlier, buying large bulk items will save you money since bulk items are usually cheaper by volume.
For the male readers, try getting your hair trimmed shorter so you won’t have to get a haircut every two weeks. For the female readers, opt out of professional hair and salon services every month and see if you can stretch the length of time in between visits. Better yet, choose do-it-yourself hair and nail services which are cheaper and less time-consuming. If you use a personal trainer, forgo weekly visits for monthly visits or even no visits at all.
The options are endless when it comes to your shortening your errands list, but review your personal schedule and see which tasks you can move to every other week or even monthly. You could end up saving yourself tons of time and money.
Plan It Out
Nowadays, life is so busy that it’s easy to forget about frugal ideas in favor of just getting things done. Sit down and plan out your week to see where you can save on time and money. There are still ways to get everything done without breaking the bank; you just have to get a little creative. Use these tips to brain-storm about how they can work for you in your own life so you can get control of your time and your money all at once!
What About You? How do you save money when your life gets harried? Or are you guilty of letting your spending slip in frantic times?