I often hear people say that they “don’t have time” to save money or make more money. After doing some observation, I’ve decided that this is rarely completely true. Sure, most of us are busy, but most of us also waste phenomenal amounts of time doing things that aren’t providing value to ourselves, or families, or our wallets.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m completely in favor of “down time” and relaxation. My concern is when doing something turns from relaxation to mindless time-wasting. Consider these time-swaps:
In the time it takes to watch a re-run of The Big Bang Theory, you could inventory your pantry, fridge and freezer, make a menu, and create a grocery list. People who use menus and grocery lists spend less money on food, eat better, have lower meal-related stress, and typically free up even more time in the long run.
Three Games of Bejeweled
Three games of the popular Bejeweled takes around 20 minutes (depending on how good you are!) In 20 minutes, you can iron 4 shirts, sew on or tighten up several buttons, or turn up the hem on those trousers that are always dragging.
Going to the Mall
I am a big hater when it comes to recreational shopping. Even if you stick to your plans to “just look,” it still creates an inner disatisfaction with your existing life. It doesn’t matter if it is a slick model bathroom at Lowe’s or a beautiful outfit in the window at Old Navy…the more you expose yourself to products, the more you want them.
How long does it take to “go shopping?” A couple of hours? In that time, you could prepare a week’s worth of meals, breakfasts, lunches and dinners, or at least prep the ingredients for meals you’re going prepare later.
I can’t even put a time on Pinterest. I personally have lost hours of my life to it. For sake of this conversation, let’s imagine that you spent 2 unnecessary hours a week on Pinterest. In that time, you could tidy, iron, hang up, and take your unused clothes to the consignment store.
Don’t like any of these suggestions? Here are some other things you could do:
- Brush up on your foreign language skills at Duolingo,
- Clear out your bookshelves and make a little cash using BookScouter,
- Do some surveys at Swagbucks,
- Write a letter to a loved one,
- Review last month’s credit card bills for errors, or track last month’s overall spending,
- Call your cell phone and internet companies and see if you can find better deals, or search for a new company altogether,
- Stretch or exercise,
- Call your credit card companies and ask them to reduce your interest rate,
None of this is rocket science, but sometimes the hardest part is figuring out WHAT to do. So now you have some ideas.
Happy improving your life.
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