I recently got involved in a discussion on another blog on how to find time to save money when you work full-time outside the home. WOW – that is right up my alley! I do work full-time outside the home at least 40 hours per week plus I have about an hour commute each way! I often leave the house by 6:30 am and do not return until 6 pm. I also travel for my job, sometimes day trips, but at least once a month I have to do a 2 – 4 night trip away from the husband and kids. We recently made some changes in our household, which I will be discussing in the months to come to ease the stress in our house. In the meantime, here are some on my tips on how find time to save money:
1. Meal Planning – This is essential, you have to know what if for dinner each night before you come home. This eliminates the stops on the way home to “grab” something for dinner. I do a meal plan on my blog once a week, it hold me accountable!
2. Eat at Home – I strive to eat at home 6 of the 7 nights each week. We normally only eat out once on the weekends. Huge money saver!
3. Use the Crock Pot – I love my Crock Pot. I usually prepare everything the night before and throw it in the Crock Pot. I then take it out of the refrigerator and turn it on in the morning!
4. Pack Lunches – I rarely eat lunch out at work unless it is a working lunch with my boss or direct reports. Normally I pack leftovers from the night before to re-heat and eat.
5. Use my Lunch Hour – I normally use my lunch hour at work to clip coupons, plan my shopping trips, search deals, and do quick runs to Walgreens and CVS.
6. Freezer Cooking – I do have some meals on hand in the freezer ready to go. I would love to do more of this in the future, but I would have to find the time. I usually have Meatballs and Fajita Kits in the freezer ready to go!
7. Convenience Meals – I will have a few of these on hand such as frozen pizzas or skillet meals. It is still a lot cheaper than eating out and once you get home you can still have dinner on the table within 20 minutes.
8. Clipping Coupons – I normally do not clip all my coupons. I leave my coupon inserts whole and put them in folders by the dates. I then use websites such as Money Saving Mom and Saving In Akron, which match deals with coupons. I only clip the coupons I need for my trip!
9. Stocking Up on Sales – Stock up when items are on sale and create a stock pile. This eliminates a lot of the mid week running around for one or two items. If I decide to have spaghetti for dinner, I know I can go to my basement and grab a box of noodles and jar of sauce. Same goes for toiletries. I never run out of toothpaste, I always have about 5 tubes I got for free.
10. Eating Out – We normally only eat out once a week, but when we do we almost always have a coupon or a gift card when we do eat out. Saves money in the end! My son sells the Enjoy the City book through school and it has tons of high value restaurant coupons in it.
11. Keep a Budget – Write everything down that you spend. Trust me you will think twice about your purchases. We just started this in August, check out my post here.
Finally, you cannot do it all, all the time. Sometimes you have to take a break and let things slide. That is acceptable! Sometimes I get frustrated when I force myself to buy milk for $2.49/gallon when I know I can run to another store for $1.98. However I have to consider my time and is it really worth it to make another trip just for milk? If you find that something is taking up a lot of your time and you are not getting a lot back in terms of rewards, stop wasting your time! My family is my number one priority and the steps I take above all help me being able to spend more time with them. To me that is what life is all about!