Frugal Living For Those With No Extra Time
No matter what we do, there will always only be 24 hours in a day and only 7 days in a week. I don't know about you, but many days I need more than that to get everything on my "to do" list done. So many people say they don't have time for frugal living. They complain that they don't have the time to save money. Well, they aren't alone. Everyone would love more time in the day, but yet there are many, many people that do live frugal lives - even though they are pressed for time too. That being said - I do get it. So let's talk about ways to still live a frugal life, even when life is crazy and you have no extra time.
First, the chances are good that every single day of your life is not crazy. So cut yourself some slack on the truly crazy days and on the calmer ones do what you can to get ahead of the game. For me that means that some days I hang my laundry up to dry and some days I use my dryer. Some days I cook a large dinner completely from scratch and some days we have frozen pizza or leftovers. On your calmer days cook ahead so you will have something quick and easy on the crazy days. Peel and chop veggies and package in individual bags to grab and go when you are hungry rather than hitting the drive through. Keep water bottles handy as well and you will avoid soda or juice box purchases.
Second, figure out a way to overcome the inevitable. This will vary from person to person, but you know your weaknesses. Do you hit the snooze button three times most mornings and run out of time to make coffee so end up stopping at the drive through on your way to work? Invest in a coffee pot with a timer. The coffee will be ready for you when you walk downstairs. Do you get home from work late every Tuesday night and end up stopping for take-out on your way home so you don't have to cook? Plan for leftovers or come up with super easy and quick meals and keep the ingredients on hand. I always keep a frozen pizza on hand. It isn't as cheap as making my own, but it is much cheaper than ordering pizza. On crazy nights when I don't have time to cook and ordering pizza tempts me, I pop one in the oven and that is dinner. Think about your weak areas of frugality and come up with a plan to overcome them.
Third, use little snippets of time to be frugal. I don't schedule a three hour block of time each day for frugal activities. I do small things throughout the day as I have time. When I am in the kitchen waiting on the kids to get their shoes and coats on, I wash some plastic bags to dry during the day. When my youngest child is taking a bath, I use that time to hang the laundry so I can keep an eye on her at the same time. When I have dinner in the oven, I spend five minutes making a quick batch of muffins for our breakfast the next day. Use the little bits of time you have for frugal things.
Fourth, living a frugal life is frequently more about what you don't do, rather than what you do. I don't spend a lot of time shopping. We don't eat out (just a few times a year at most). I don't get my nails manicured. We don't go on expensive vacations. We don't get snacks from the vending machines. You get the idea. You can be very frugal just by not doing expensive things.
Fifth, figure out how much time something takes and how much money it will save you. We determined that hanging our laundry up to dry was not a huge money saver (we still try to do it for environmental reasons), so when we have no time it is one of the first frugal activities to go. Packing lunches from home has the potential to save lots of money, so we keep doing that. Once you know the things that save the most money you can make a better decision on what to keep doing and what to let go. Once you realize how long something actually takes (it is frequently a lot less than people originally think) you can better squeeze it into your day.
Whenever you try something new it will take longer in the beginning. But once you get good at it and it becomes a habit, things can be done pretty quickly. For instance, when I first started making muffins from scratch I had to carefully read the instructions, hunt for ingredients, etc. Now that I have a basic muffin recipe memorized I can whip up a batch of almost any flavor in about five minutes. I can squeeze it in almost any time of day and we have a homemade, frugal breakfast or snack. Use these tips to help you live a more frugal life - even when you don't really have the time to.