When most people think of being frugal, they think of pinching pennies, looking for the best deals and clipping coupons. While these practices can all be very helpful when deciding to live a frugal lifestyle, there is far more to being frugal. Truly frugal people know that frugality should help free up all aspects of their life. It shouldn’t only help you save money, it should help you have more time and freedom.
Learning how to be frugal with their time is perhaps the hardest part of living a frugal life for most people. Wouldn’t you like to have more time to spend with your family? Perhaps you would love to have more time to spend by yourself or completing one of your favorite activities. Time wasters can doom you from the very beginning—trust me, I know.
I have to admit that I have a really hard time with this one. I’m a natural born procrastinator. I spend a lot of my time worrying about how and when I am going to get something done and then have to rush at the last minute—hoping I get it finished in time. This is not using my time wisely and it is something I have to continually work on.
People waste time on many different things and then wonder where those precious moments went. If we can harness the ability to take better control of our time, we can learn to have more freedom in our lives and take part in more activities that make us happy.
Below are some tips to help you be a little more frugal with your time. Let me just say that while these tips can work for anyone, they work wonderfully for work at home moms and dads, as we often have to balance several different aspects of our lives all at once.
1. Have a plan! Understand what has to be accomplished on a daily basis. If you don’t know exactly what you have on your plate each day, it can be difficult to attempt to get it all done. Having a good overview of your day, either in your head—but preferably on paper or your screen, can help you become more efficient and keep you from bouncing around during the day trying to complete your tasks.
2. Schedule your day! Now this isn’t possible for everyone, but some of us can add a schedule our daily tasks. Be honest, does it really take you three hours to write that article or report. Do you put off making certain phone calls just because you don’t really want to talk to that person? Have a certain amount of time for each task. Tell yourself, “I will call Mr. Important-businessman before 1pm”. Give yourself an hour and a half to finish your blog post or article, including editing and staring at the screen. This will free up time for other tasks and help you clear off your to-do list.
3. Become organized! This, of course, is for everyone; however, I want to talk to all my coupon cutting friends for a moment. A lot of people tell me that they can’t cut coupons or complete other couponing tasks because it takes up too much time. It doesn’t have to! Put some organizational skills to work. Have a set amount of time to cut your coupons; don’t spend every little minute looking through the paper and hunting for coupons you don’t use. I cut out my coupons while I am watching TV with my family. My middle child loves to sit and help me, so it becomes a fun activity instead of a daunting one. This practice also allows me to make my TV time productive—but then again, I am a multitask-er.
4. Minimize distractions! I am placing this one here because not everyone can multitask. If I am honest with you and myself—I can’t multitask on everything, just certain activities. While you (And I) may be able to watch television while cutting coupons, you may not be able to do so while you are writing a report or a blog post. Know your limitations and block out unneeded distractions. Don’t have your favorite messenger program up while you are completing important work on your computer. Too many times I have found myself deep in conversation instead of working on the task at hand.
5. Put priorities first! A lot of people are not frugal with their time because they fail to prioritize. You, most likely, know which tasks are most important each day—so complete those tasks first. It can be easy to jump in and do the more unimportant tasks first, especially when those tasks don’t take up as much time. If you continue your day in this fashion, you will never finish the most important tasks. Start with your priorities and work your way down.
And my last frugal time tip…….wait for it…….
6. Make a list! This one is something I had to learn to do to keep myself on track. When I kept all of my daily tasks in my head, I jumped from one thing to another all day long and didn’t really finish what I needed to finish. It is a simple thing, but not nearly enough people do it. Write down all of your tasks that you need to complete throughout the day and then check each one off as you complete it. It can be really fulfilling to see those tasks disappear off your list and can even give you needed energy to finish the next one.
I hope that some of these tips have helped you in your quest to be more frual with your time—I have more, but I won’t clutter your day with all of my tips at once. Now stop reading and get started on your own list!