24 Hours of Saving Money: This is an around-the-clock look at some of the financial decisions we make – and how those decisions affect our pocketbook, our family, and our future. My wife and I have three kids, we live busy lives, and we are work hard. Here’s a typical day for our family – broken down by how we save money – and when.
5:00 AM – Enjoy a brisk walk or an at-home workout.
Savings = $300 in annual gym-membership fees – and lower long-term health care costs
6:00 AM – Skip the coffee shop and brew at home.
Savings = $3-5 a day – and $800-1500 a year
7:00 AM – Check the thermostat.
Savings = Heating and cooling costs represent a tremendous expense. For my house, I’ve calculated that wise thermostat-management saves %15 off of my electric bill.
8:00 AM – Drive carefully and below the speed limit.
Savings = Avoid speeding tickets, accidents (which increase insurance costs), protect yourself (and others) and save gasoline.
9:00 AM – Turn off phone data and take advantage of wi-fi.
I recently underwent the dreaded transition from an unlimited to a limited plan. I quickly learned to take advantage of wi-fi, both at home and at work.
10:00 AM – Pass on the sugary, mid-morning snack and opt for some protein.
I’m convinced, on days when I consume a mid-morning, sugary snack – I stay hungry. When I choose protein, I’m less apt to snack, which saves money and holes on the belt.
10:15 AM – Open the blinds and turn off any unnecessary lights.
This saves energy and the natural light is good for the soul.
12:00 Noon – Order water with lunch.
If you can brown-bag it, that’s awesome. For me, when I eat out for lunch, I try to be reasonable, and I’ll skip appetizers and soda. Savings = $1.50 to $3.50 per meal
1:00 PM – Make a transfer to a savings account.
Even if it is a small amount, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of initiating transfers to a savings account. I do this two or three times a week. A sgrowing savings account balance keeps me motivated.
2:00 PM – Go with the sweater.
If you work at home and have control of the thermostat, a sweater is a great way to stay warm – and save a little money.
3:00 PM – Know what’s for supper.
I know it’s only 3 in the afternoon – but if you wait until much later to think about supper – you’ll probably opt for convenience foods or take-out. I’ll usually text my wife around this time and we’ll make sure we’re both on the same page.
3:30 PM – Be ready with a plan for the kids and their activities.
We have three kids – ranging from 6 to 15 – and they each have after-school activities. It’s important – very important – that my wife and I know which kid is going where, with whom, how much money they’ll need, when they need to be picked up, and when we’ll all be back at home. This can become an expensive time for families! Snacks, drinks, t-shirts, fees – these add up. Be ready with a plan and a budget for these activities.
5:00 PM – Check online for gas prices and fuel up.
There are several websites – my favorite is Gas Buddy – for checking the lowest cost for fuel. I’ll take my automobile or my wife’s and fill up at the cheapest station.
6:00 PM – Cook and clean up – together.
I’m the primary cook in our family, but at meal time, we all pitch in. I’ll cook the main course, the kids will help with setting the table, and my wife will handle most of the clean up. We skip the high-cost of restaurants – and since the kids have a hand in the cooking, they’re more apt to eat and not waste food.
6:30 PM – Talk with the kids about the upcoming week.
With our oldest, we’ll ask about any club-related or sports-related dues. With our youngest, we’ll find out if the book-mo-bile is coming to school. It’s important that we know about any upcoming expenses – so that we can have these in our budget.
7:00 PM – Read the Bible.
For us, reading the Bible, as a family, is incredibly important. It reminds us of the kindness of our Savior – and the importance of giving to others. How does this save money? Many of the principals that guide our financial lives our found in the pages of scripture.
8:00 PM – Check out personal finance blogs.
I cannot begin to calculate the amount of money I have saved, simply by reading and following the information I’ve found from my fellow personal finance bloggers. Check out the list at the bottom of this page for some of my favorites – and pfblogs.org for an aggregator of great personal finance information.
8:30 PM – Hang up those clothes.
We have an electric clothes dryer – but we have taken to hanging up almost all of our clothes. They seem to last longer, and air-drying saves money. So, just before bed, I’ll hang up a load of clothing. In the morning, my wife will hang place them in our closets.
9:30 PM – Skip the television and read a book.
I’ll keep the television turned off – and instead choose a good book. This saves money – and hopefully – expands the mind.
10: PM – Bundle up.
In the winter, save money by turning down the heat a bit and using a good blanket. We live in the South – and the temptation here is turn on the heat when the temperature dips below 70!
1:00 AM – Change that diaper and enjoy the kiddo.
When our kids were little, this was the time when they generally woke up, in need of a diaper change. While you’re up, you may as well check out the savings from Amazon Mom. You’ll receive up to 20% off the cost of diapers – and you’ll enjoy the additional benefits of Amazon Prime. Click the link for a free 30-day trial! Also, if you have little ones – cherish these late nights. I know you are exhausted, but these times will soon be gone. Ours are all big-kids, and while we are thankful for where they are now, we miss those nights of rocking.
2:00 AM – Wash those clothes and those dishes.
Did you know that certain power companies charge less for power, depending on the time of day? Our washing machine has a timer, so we’ll set it for early in the morning, thus avoiding the more energy-expensive time of day. We’ll also run our dish washer at night – and put the dishes away in the morning.
All day long, we have opportunities to save money. Here and there, we save a few dollars, until, at the end of the day, we’ve saved several. Obviously, each day presents its own challenges – and opportunities. Take the time to analyze your daily routine – and look for opportunities to save. Blessings.