How Being Frugal With Your Time Can Save You Money


How much is your time worth? Do you work for minimum wage? If so, an hour of your time is worth minimum wage. Do you make $500 an hour working? If so, your time is worth $500 an hour. When you are not working, you are not making that money. You are actually spending it not working, and you’re not gaining anything from it. The simple and honest truth is that your time is worth a great deal of money, and if you’re not using your time frugally, you are actually harming your finances. Frugality is something that many people feel only applies to shopping and spending money, but it is not necessarily the case. Frugality can be applied in life to your time and your habits, and you might find that not being very frugal with your time is actually more dangerous than you ever imagined. What does that mean? It means that you have to think very long and hard about how you spend your time and whether or not the way in which you do spend your time is worth it, or if it’s not worth it. We can help you with that if you just take the time to understand what it means and how to go about determining your own worth. We’ll try to make this simple; you have to make sure your time means something to you.

A Typical Day

We all have typical days. It’s our habit, our responsibility and it’s how we live. Not all days are the same, but they are generally the same. The average weekday for me looks like this:

6 am – wake up and shower

6:30 am – 7 am – drink coffee, peruse internet

7-7:30 – blow dry and straighten hair and apply makeup

7:30 – 8 – work a bit in my office/kids wake up

8-9 get kids fed, dressed and ready for school/load car

9-10 – drop kids off and come home

10-11 – try to work and play with infant twins at the same time

11-2 – babies nap, mommy gets done bulk of her work

2-3:30 – entertain babies and try to work, leave to pick up kids

3:30-4:30- pick up kids and come home

4:30-5:30 – try not to lose my mind while unloading 4 kids and school stuff from car, helping with homework, spending time with the kids and either getting ready to leave for extracurricular activities or make dinner

5:30 – 6:30 – husband is home so we cook or we take kids to practice/church stuff/social life/spend time with the kids

6:30 – put babies to bed and bathe big girls

7-7:30 – get kids to bed

7:30 – whenever – clean house, do laundry, catch up on work, try to relax, try to spend time with husband, try to get things ready for school the next day

10 – 10:30 – go to bed dead tired and completely exhausted

As you can see, there is little time for anything in my daily life except for what I’m already doing. Our kids are very active in sports, we as coaches, and we are very active in church, we travel a lot and we are just plain busy. We are not actually home most evenings until bedtime, and our schedules are a bit killer. We try to cram everything we can into moments that are free, and there aren’t many of those.

But what, you ask, do you care about my day? Well, you don’t. But I’m making a point so it does matter how I spend my time. As you can see, there is little time in my day to spend with my kids, to do anything fun or to enjoy myself relaxing. So I do what most people do; I find moments of spare time that are all for me and I try to cram in things that I think make me feel better. What would I love to do in my free time? I’d like to actually have free time, for one. I’d like to bake with my kids, play games and Barbies and dance around the house to Taylor Swift songs I loved the first 100 times I heard them. I also love to read, but I haven’t picked up a book in ages because there are more important things to do.

So what do I do? I waste my time. I have 10 minutes in the car line at school so I either answer emails and spend time doing things that make me feel productive, or I shop online. Oooh, I feel guilty that I didn’t help with bath time last night so I’m going to buy my husband a new sport coat or golf clubs. I feel bad that I snapped at the kids this morning for not listening so I’m going to buy them something. Ooh, I feel guilty that I never take time for me, so let’s just see if those Manolos are available in a 38. I shop online because it’s quick and it’s easy, and it’s something I can do for me. I don’t frugally manage my time. I could use that time to research a new article, or I could use it to email my grandmother or to update my list of things to do. I could do so many more productive things, but I allow myself to think that spending money is a better use of my time. That’s not to say that it’s a bad use of my time – we all like to shop and deserve a chance to have nice things and indulge, but probably not as often as some of us make habitual.

How can we be more frugal with our time? It’s not so easy for just one person to say; but we can make some simple changes. Here’s the first step – find out who much your time is worth and then outsource anything not worth your time. Does washing your car take an hour of your time, but cost you $100 that hour because you’re not working? If so, hire it out to someone who will do it for $20. When you save time by using it frugally, you have more time to use to do the things that are most important to you, and that will actually save you money in the long run. When you have time to stop and smell the roses, do what you enjoy and not stress, you spend less time trying to make yourself feel better with tangible material items that only work for a moment. When you take time to have experiences and make memories, that’s when you actually live for the moment and enjoy your life. That’s how you save money by being frugal with your time.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


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