Aside from actively shelling out money for your regular bills like rent, utilities, groceries and gas, etc., there are other costs that we don’t always notice. In addition to consciously paying, there are times when our money is interwoven with how we choose to spend our time that isn’t as obvious. Here are some tips to guard against doing so.
1. Avoid jumping in head first with fitness
If you find that you tend to hop on the latest fitness craze only to quit shortly after, break the cycle of being a repeat offender. Though you might find out that a certain program isn’t right for you, quitting might come with a hefty price tag if you signed a contract that you’re tied to paying or lose money by breaking it. Next time, look for a free trial at your area gym. It also couldn’t hurt to try a current exercise program for free online first to see if it’s for you. Youtube offers many exercise routines to get a feel for what a class would be like. Also, many recreation centers offer programs for 8-12 weeks at a cheaper rate. This way you can stick your toe in before overcommitting or signing a costly contract when you’re not sure if it’s a total fit.
While many people would like to make it a habit to exercise regularly, Behavior Scientist, BJ Fogg wants you to keep in mind that habit formation is a skill. Once people see it that way, then they can approach a new hobby or interest differently – with less pressure to perform right away. You can be gentler to yourself and realize that you’re not going to be perfect in the beginning. Practice does come into play and Fogg explains that setbacks are normal when you’re learning a new skill. He adds that “It’s a liberating idea. It’s not obvious to people that it’s a skill. Once they realize that, they get it.” He also emphasizes that starting small is key.
2.Too much back and forth on email
No matter the nature of the email, try to wrap up as many details as possible all at once. While sometimes it’s necessary to check in little by little, try to keep everything in one email. I know when I’m working to book guests on podcasts, I try to get all of the needed information right from the start in a document. I even include procedures regarding what to do if things go wrong.This way people don’t have to hunt me down for details last minute.
While at times we all might misplace information, I like to have everything all together so if I do need to look up someone’s Skype address or website, the information is all there. I find it easier to house it in a document versus having bits of important details sandwiched in a chain of messages that run 10 or 20 emails deep. Even if some of the information trickles in, I make sure I cut and paste it into the document. When I work this way, I spend more time making money than just attending to email. Also, this maximizes my working hours and allows me to efficiently work with more clients in less time.
3. Time really is money
Many times doing things efficiently also helps us financially. For example, if you can scale back on the amount of time used to process emails, it can free you up to finish more paid work. One way to minimize the number of emails sent is to work with a proposed timeline. Many people use these in contracts to outline services that will take place.
Dates and action steps are outlined in a chronological order to let clients know what will happen in the time frame allotted. I recently hired a person to do some copywriting for me. Since I’ve never hired anyone to do this type of work before, I needed to be educated about the process. A quick phone call and a proposed timeline in the contract clearly mapped out how the project would unfold by my requested deadline and what needed to happen in between to get everything completed. If I got off track with any step outlined, I didn’t have to email the freelancer, I could always reference the contract.
President and Wealth Advisor, Peter Huminski of ThoriumWealth.com uses a proposed timeline when working with his clients as well. While drawing up a planning agreement, Huminski creates deadlines each month to keep people on track and engaged in the process. He adds, “A shorter window keeps urgency up for the clients and sets the expectations that this is an important endeavor.” He finds that creating manageable tasks for the client to complete these short term goals allows everything to be finished on time. Think of ways you can infuse this idea into other areas of your life to allow things to flow smoothly and so all parties can get a sense of what they’ll have to do and what potential costs may be involved.
4. Just say no to giving free advice
While it’s great to help a friend out with a tip or two, if they ask multiple questions while out at coffee for services you offer, you might want to have a mental script handy to set a boundary. We can all rehearse what to say or do in awkward situations. But if you still feel tongue tied in the moment, consider a ready-made script by online entrepreneur, Marie Forleo. Search for her video entitled “How to Say No to People Who Want to Pick Your Brain” on Youtube. This video drops major knowledge bombs about what to do when you feel that someone is overly asking for tips or insight.
She tells you exactly what to say in different situations when people just want free advice. While email can be the easiest way to respond because you don’t have to think on your feet, there are times when you have to address this in person. You can take time to prepare your answer and word it the best way possible. For example, if someone asks you to go to coffee to bounce ideas off of you, Forleo’s first script leaves two options to choose from and asks for clarification upfront. “My work schedule is full, so coffee is not doable these days. Are you interested in becoming a client or do you just have a quick question?”
This response is direct and shows that you don’t have time to meet in a nice way. She also highlights what to say in other uncomfortable scenarios like this. Use these scripts as canned responses so you don’t have to constantly remember the perfect thing to say.
5. Schedule time for besties
Many times we have to attend events out of obligation. Random invitations can take a toll on your wallet. A baby shower for a colleague or a stag for your neighbor’s son can really add up. While we all have these types of obligations, saying no from time to time is fine. Also remember to actively make plans with people that are more important to you, especially you’re old buddies. Connecting doesn’t have to be costly. A coffee shop or a restaurant that doesn’t require you to pay a tip can keep you socializing more often for less.
If you have the same interests, purchase items that you can use over and over like bikes, sporting equipment or even an inflatable movie screen. Since heading to the movies for a family of 4 is now roughly over $80 (with popcorn and soda), consider an inflatable movie screen as a budget-friendly option for movie buffs. Gemmy is the industry leaders for such backyard entertainment. An initial investment of $100 and up can be recouped just by skipping a few theater showings. It can also shared by family and friends or you can be the coolest neighbor on the block.
6. Lack of tracking is to blame
Award-Winning Personal Finance Blogger & Podcaster, Jessica Moorhouse explains that people can be losing money by simply not paying attention. She believes that checking bank and credit card statements is key to make sure you aren’t being wrongfully charged. Sometimes, items can mistakenly ring up twice while checking out. “If something looks out of the ordinary like a weird banking fee or a charge for something I don’t remember buying, I look into it and dispute it to get my money back.” Moorhouse adds that it doesn’t take that much time out of her day to do so but it’s definitely helped her save some money over the years.
7. Travel wisely
In order to save time and money while traveling, try to fly on non-peak days. Planning your trip on Tuesday and Wednesday can work to your advantage and potentially cost less. The airport tends not to be as busy during those times. This tip alone could speed up your travel experience by not getting hung up in so many long lines.
Also, whether for work or pleasure, keep germs at bay while traveling. Consider bringing Klean Upz antibacterial wipes to help combat germs that may be present. Tuck them in your carry-on bag with small packets of individually wrapped wipes from SavvyTravelers.com. They carry also No Sweat antiperspirant deodorant wipes and the Speak Eazy mouth cleansing wipes to freshen up in a pinch. After watching a recent tv program about how dirty the trays can be on airplanes, I’ll admit that I will wipe down any dirty space I can while traveling. The last thing you need is to get sick on a business trip or vacation. That can lose you money as well.
8. Continue to save after you grocery shop
While planning in advance works to your advantage at the grocery store to save money, Southern Californian couponing expert, Josie Kapetsonis explains that you can continue to make your grocery bill shrink once you leave by looking into cash back apps that will pay you back for purchases made. Be sure to show proof of purchase within 24 hours to score deeper discounts.
The Bottom Line
Spending money is a part of life. Before you spend, consider whether or not your purchase is really worthwhile to you. Think about the true cost in terms of money and time. After careful consideration, figure out whether or not a purchase is worth it. Moreover, this may cause you to really examine how time and money affect each other and how to avoid wasting both in the future.