Many of us have heard the phrase, time is money, and yes this is true. Our time is precious and we have limited amounts of it so we don’t want to waste it just like we don’t want to waste our money.
The sad fact today is that many people are short on time and often running around stressed and panicked. They are bouncing from one commitment to the next which leads to exhaustion and poor decision making. It is not uncommon for busy, tired people to make impulse decisions including spending money on impulsive buys. The object provides temporary satisfaction but the root of the problem is still there…too many things going on at once with little organization.
Today I want to share with you some of the things that we do that helps keep us organized and on time so we don’t feel like we are rushing and stressed which in turn keeps us from making impulsive decisions.
1. Meal plan and grocery plan. My husband and I meal plan every two weeks for the next two weeks. We sit down and pick the different meals we want to cook for the next two weeks. We make sure that the ones scheduled on week nights when we are working, are 30 minutes or less to prepare. This helps keep our evenings on track. We also grocery plan every two weeks. After choosing the recipes we make sure we have all of the ingredients that we need. If we are missing anything we add them to the list. Then we go shopping.
By doing this we save time and money in a few ways. We save time by keeping our weeknight meals to 30 minutes or less and by only going grocery shopping once every two weeks. We also save ourselves money because we have a plan. We aren’t coming home after a long day’s work and thinking about going out to eat because we don’t know what we can make for dinner. We also save money by the infrequency that we shop. By only going every two weeks, we are less likely to make quick stops for one or two things we need that then turns into 10 things, 8 of which are impulsive buys.
2. Get breakfast and tea ready the night before. Every night before bed we get the kitchen ready to go with our travel mugs, tea bags, vitamines, and ingredients for breakfast. That way when we get up we just make the stuff and head out. This stops us from not having time to make it at home and then stopping at a drive thru on the way to work for a sub-optimal breakfast and tea which only costs money, plus it’s unhealthy.
3. Save our Leftovers. Most recipes serve 4-6 people. Since there are just the two of us, we often have food left over after dinner. We take these left overs and portion them out into ziploc containers and freeze them. Over time, our freezer gets filled with a variety of healthy and quick meals that are easy to reheat in the microwave. This is what we use for our lunches and for quick dinners when we have appointments. This saves us money because we don’t have to buy lunch (you would be amazed at how fast it adds up) as well as time because making the lunches is quick. I just grab a container from the freezer, throw in some fruit, some veggie sticks, and a few nuts and we are both good to go.
4. Work out at home. Earlier this week I blogged about how easy it is to work out at home. We have found this saves us time since we don’t have to drive to and from the gym as well as money since we don’t have to pay for extra gas or gym fees. It is a lot easier to fit in a half hour work out at home than a half hour workout that takes 1.5 hours because of travel.
5. Get your clothes ready the night before. Every night before bed, once the kitchen is set, I get my clothes ready for the next day. I pick out an outfit that I feel looks good and is comfortable. That way, when I wake up in the morning, I don’t have to spend time trying to find an outfit. Plus, I get to go to work confident in my appearance which makes me more confident in my job. With this feeling of confidence, I don’t have the urge to go to the store to buy new outfits that I feel like I need to do a good job.
6. Have a cleaning schedule. About a year ago we implemented a cleaning schedule. Basically, we divided up the different chores and spread them out throughout the week. This saves us time because we are never committed to more than 30-40 minutes of cleaning on any given day. It makes the whole process more manageable. We work in pairs too so often the chores get done in less than half an hour. This feeling of a clean house with limited effort is awesome. I am not tempted to spend money on housecleaning services because I never have to give up a whole day cleaning.
These are just a few of the things we have tried that have been found to make a HUGE difference in our management of time. Not only have we saved money, we are also less stressed and often in better moods. All in all, I think that being organized and coming up with a plan is a great investment of your time.