Save Money, Spend Time

28 February 2011, by A. Cedilla

It’s very easy to take advantage of all the many conveniences that modern technology and services offer. Drive-through’s and delivery services, fast food, concierge services, convenience stores, on-line banking and shopping …you don’t even have to leave your house. And if you’re going on vacation, you can even get house-sitting services, and pet-sitters for your fanged, feathered or furry darlings.

Now, if you’re the type who thinks nothing of using services like these because you’re on a level of financial security where you can afford not to think about it, that’s cool.

But if you’re burdened by a nagging feeling that you’re working to pay for the life you have yet to live — being so busy working you have no time to spare to enjoy the life you’re working for — then you need to take some time to think about what you’re doing.

A few hours of study and preparation can save you money, time and stressing out.

It’s in the research and preparation. Old sayings bear this out: “A stitch in time saves nine,” and “For want of a nail, the kingdom was lost,” or the more modern “Prior preparation prevents piss-poor performance.”

In other words, thinking things through works. Paying attention pays off.

Maybe you had a bad experience in school, and anything that smacks faintly of homework make your hackles rise. The hard truth is, past a certain age, there aren’t any teachers to ride herd on you to do what you have to do. You rise and fall on your own merits.

And if you refuse to do something hard because your inner kid is yelling, “No, and you can’t make me!” (Na-na-naahh!), your Inner Grown-Up has to put on the boots and kick the brat out of the driver’s seat.

Time spent on activities you can do yourself can save you money.

  • Protecting your computer and your online identity, for example. Someone filches your credit cards, or fishes financial papers from your garbage — and goes on a spending spree, or does things under your name. Does your credit card company offer protection against identity theft and unauthorized credit card usage, and to what level or limit? How long will it take and what do you have to do? Go and find out. And you can start with this article, “Check Your Credit Report Quarterly to Catch Identity Theft Early.”
  • What about safer browsing? People fish for data on-line as well. Using secured browsing on social sites like Facebook, and read up on articles like Lifehacker’s “Secure Your Online Life the Easy Way.”

It’s about time and spending it where it means the most to you.

Obviously, we all have things we’d rather not have to do: boring, hard, reading-the-fine-print work, but those are just activities. It’s your attitude that determines the experience. Dealing with the hard stuff now saves you from having to deal with it later, and can help prevent having to wade through red-tape and automated phone-support.

  • For example, researching the best rates and combinations of financial services in a bank can help streamline your paperwork enormously. Automated on-line banking can help with savings, bill-paying, and setting money aside in financial instruments like IRA’s and 401(k)’s.
  • Another few hours researching and trying out stuff like couponing for example, can save you loads in the long run. If you like it but really don’t have the time, why not team up at Groupon?

The Simple Dollar also has some very helpful posts on the pros, cons and benefits of couponing:

Bonus: a post on extreme couponing at Zombie Squad.

And there are other activities you can do that can give more returns than money alone can. Cooking together, eating together, spending family time…that’s where companionship can grow and be nourished. “Companion”, from the Latin, companis, someone “to break bread with,” hah!

As an additional zinger: do you know that time has two flavors in the Greek language? Chronos is chronological, sequential time, kairos is “a moment of undetermined period of time in which something special happens.

Take the time to think about the time you’re taking. The whole point of saving money and spending time is to be aware of where you elect to spend both, because that shows and proves where your priorities really are. By spending time thinking about the choices you’re making, you can create space in your life for something special to happen.

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