Your bank account can grow. The amount of time doesn’t change; there will always be only 24 hours per day. However, managing money and time involve the same discipline and general principles. Planning and lifestyle habits can help you make the most efficient use of your time and money.
Identify the necessities and discretionary items. In money management, necessities typically include your mortgage or rent, car payment, student loan payments and other debts. These monthly expenses are fixed. Other essentials, such as utilities, food and gasoline, typically vary. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s All Your Worth suggests that you set aside 50 cents of every dollar for these items.
As to time management, you might group tasks into a matrix that consists of “urgent,” “not urgent,” “important” and “not important.” You likely should complete first those tasks that are important and urgent, then move to items which are important but not urgent. For those pursuing masters degree programs, a deadline to complete a paper would fall in the urgent and important category. Those items that may have some “urgency,” but are not important can be put aside.
Track Your Behavior
Record how you spend money and time as a way to identify where to halt. Group expenses into categories such as gas, dining out, entertainment, utilities, phone and entertainment. You’ll notice how much you devote to extras or luxuries and where you can reduce spending. The cuts may include dining out, fewer trips to save gasoline or better habits in using electricity and water.
To reduce your cable or satellite bill, track the shows or channels you view regularly. This approach may reveal to you that you’re paying for channels or packages that you don’t watch or use. Try this when you contemplate a sports package that may offer all games each Sunday or each evening. If you primarily follow just your favorite teams, the complete package may not be a wise use of money.
Journaling the use of your time can help you realize where you can find more time for the important and especially urgent/important tasks. Note how long it takes you to perform tasks such as cooking, mowing or cleaning the kitchen.
Don’t Be Lost
Lack of organization manifests itself in lost items and lost time searching for them. It also creates often unnecessary leaks in your finances.
Lost money from lost items can take the form of late fees for not returning books or rentals or tardy payments from lost bills. If you’re late on utilities, you face re-connection fees.
Organization generally starts with dedicating a place for everything. Have somewhere to always place keys, bills to be paid and notices that require responses. Group your foods, drinks and spices by type or brand. Arrange clothes by season and then by color. Regularly wash, dry, iron and put up clothes so you don’t mistakenly believe they need replacement.
Rid yourself of unused or outdated items. Taking these to charities may yield tax breaks, while you might find some extra money in selling them online or through a local consignment shop. Also, with less clutter means less of a need to buy more real estate for storage or pay for storage rental. If you already have a garage, basement or storage building, you may not need the storage rental bill.
Before you trek to the grocery store, list those items you already have so you won’t buy them again. Lack of awareness of your refrigerator or cupboard leads, not only to unneeded repetition, but what you have may spoil or go stale for lack of use.
Avoid the impulse and perhaps even the national brand. A Consumer Reports shopping study revealed that the bill for exclusively store-branded items registered $85.60 versus $208.54 for impulse buying. This was even some $20 less than the $106.87 spent on national brands with coupons and other specials. Making and following a shopping list can place you in a mindset of planning and executing a shopping budget.
Save the debt for items that may increase in value, especially real property. Debt leads to interest. Thus, you might find yourself paying multiple times for a single item, especially one that depreciates. Resorting to credit cards to meet monthly living expenses may be a sign of major problems.
The word “no” should be part of your time management strategy. Determine those tasks you can or should delegate to employees, co-workers or others. Ask your family members, coworkers or housemates, as able, to share in tasks. Resist the urge to take on all tasks.
Volunteering to the point most evenings are filled with a function or meeting takes away home cooked meals, which generally cost less than dining out. If you can’t cook, bring dinner home so you don’t have tip. Should you dine out, ordering sodas rather than ice water can mean — for a family of four — between $8.00 and $9.00. In some establishments, this may equate to the cost of an entree.
With these techniques and concepts in mind, you can manage and alleviate the pressure presented by time and reduce concerns over scarce resources.