9 Effortless Hacks To Save You Time & Money
Ever feel like you’re short on time and cash? What am I saying, of course you do! Just about everyone would agree with you on that. Below I’ve listed several effortless (or nearly effortless) life hacks that have saved me time and money! You’ll have some extra cash in your pocket so you won’t have to feel guilty about the extra time you’ll spend binge-watching Netflix!
Wash Your Hair Less
I used to wash my hair every single day. The result? It would get oily quickly, and I was spending at least $10 monthly on shampoo and conditioner. With thick, long hair like mine, I was also spending long added minutes in the shower trying to rinse the darned conditioner out.
To preserve a new dye job, I decided to start shampooing my hair only every other day as opposed to every day. My annual costs of shampoo and conditioner dropped from $120 per year to $60 per year just like that. Let’s say I was spending another 10 minutes a day washing my hair (which is probably true). Ten minutes daily that you get back from half your days – over the year that comes to 30 hours!
Think about that! If you wash your hair half as much, you are saving yourself about 30 hours and $60 over the course of the year.
Of course, many of you probably already do this. Try stretching it to another day. Don’t worry, your scalp should adjust over time, and after a few weeks it should not be so oily.
Make a Grocery List
Yes, the shopping list takes a little bit of time to create. However, think about the amount of time you will save by having a set list that you commit to instead of wandering aimlessly (and hungry!) around the grocery store! I typically go with a list or several basic meals in mind, and am in and out of the grocery store in 15 minutes, no-fail. In my case, it also helps to also hate every aspect of grocery shopping.
While making your list, number the items by category. For example: 1.) Produce, 2.) Meats, 3.) Dairy/Cheese, 4.) Frozen, 5.) Canned.
Why would you do such a thing? Every grocery store is planned out a certain way. Most people walk counter-clockwise, and typically start in produce. This is so that you enter the store with the impression of “freshness.” They also put milk at the back of the store because it is such a popular item and it forces everyone to walk past the rest of the items. Marketing psychology, people – use it to your advantage.
If you number your items by category, you won’t have to be pin-balling all around the store because you forgot to grab an onion, or you walked right past the canned tomatoes. Just grab your items in each category and move on.
Keep Your Meals Simple
This is one of those hacks that I learned last year that I will be eternally grateful for. When I first started learning how to cook, I was making elaborate Pinterest meals. I made things like lasagnas and stews, or meals where you had to sear the food first before baking it, performing a sacrificial ritual and sending it to the moon on a NASA space-shuttle. Okay, maybe that’s a little much – but that’s what it felt like.
Now on most nights, I keep my meals simple. I make some delicious chicken with roasted veggies. Not only has this helped me lose about 25 pounds, but it takes anywhere from 30-60 minutes off my time cooking!
Not only am I eating healthier than ever before, and saving tons of time for being lazy on the couch, but I’m saving a substantial amount of money. I don’t have to buy 20 ingredients for a meal, for instance. My grocery bill has been cut by about $100 monthly in large part just from simplifying my meals!
This doesn’t have to make your food boring, I promise! My meals are always delicious and filling, and I feel better than ever before!
Embrace Leftovers – in fact, aim for them!
Every time we cook, we try to double (or triple) the recipe for the sake of having leftovers. This saves me time from having to either cook another meal or go out and by another meal, whether it be takeout or more groceries. I typically bring leftovers to work for lunch for the next day or so.
What you save by doing this will vary based on what you cook and what you would typically spend on that meal. For example, if I don’t have a lunch to bring to work I go out and buy either a $4 sub from Subway or an $8 meal from Chipotle. Over the course of the week this adds easily up to $20-40, and in one month I’m looking at $80-$160. Think about that savings!
Shop on a Weeknight
Save your weekends for fun, not errands! If you feel like you have less time available to you, chances are you’re going to hurry to get through whatever you have to.
On the weekends, people mosey about in the stores and take their sweet time (unless they’re rushing to get chips and dip for the game). On a weeknight, everyone is trying to get home to finish their routine of the day. If you save your errands-shopping for the week, you’ll be glad you won’t have to do them on the weekend!
Use Google “Shopping” Search
Okay, so technically this isn’t effortless. I’ll admit it up-front. However, if you typically like to compare prices using various websites (I sure hope you do!), then you need to use this trick to save you a ridiculous amount of time.
The almighty Google has a “shopping” tab for when you search an item, right at the top. Just type in the item you are looking for, click that tab, and voila! Google shows you the prices that item is listed for on all of the websites that have that item. I just saved $30 on hiking shoes thanks to this search option. You use Google for everything else, why not this?
It’s no secret that Ebates is one of my all-time favorite websites, for obvious reasons. But did you know that you can also search for a particular item on Ebates, and it will show you a list of the coupons any website is having on that item, as well as the prices of the products from each location. This takes all of the effort out of couponing and cost-comparison! This is one of those hacks that will show you where the best deal will be!
Check Your Receipts
And no – I don’t just mean the prices (though that’s a great idea)! Many receipts of major stores will have little freebies on them! For example, I have a receipt from Subway for free cookies sitting in my wallet because I filled out a 2 minute survey regarding my last visit.
Typically you will see things like sweepstakes entries on receipts, but every so often there will be free items involved. I don’t bother with sweepstakes, but those cookies from Subway are fantastic! So technically, yes, this would take a slight amount of effort. However, the rewards are generally proportional to the means. This is one of those hacks that I only recently started using and it’s already paying off!
This isn’t going to save you extra time, per say, but it will only take the blink of an eye to see if you have anything good on your receipt.
Get in Touch With Your Library
Alright, so this won’t apply to everyone. If you’re a big reader or audiobook listener, however, listen up! I have a Kindle, but I never pay for books. As a Massachusetts resident, I have a free library card through Boston Public Library, which means that I can read almost any book I want for free on my Kindle. It works just as any library card would, except I don’t have to pay late fees! The best part is, I never have to leave my house from start to finish. And you don’t even need a Kindle – there’s a free Kindle app that you can put on an iPad, a phone, etc.
Yes, it will take a little time and research on your end to see what is available to you, but it’s worth it. It will save you money on books, and it will save you the time you might take to run to the bookstore or price-shopping online. This is just one of the many benefits of having a library card.
I can’t have a post that doesn’t touch on budgeting, right? This is one of the easiest budgeting hacks you could use! The most foolproof and easy way to build a savings is to have money automatically withdrawn from your checking and deposited into a savings account. This is a surefire way to build a savings when you have to do essentially nothing ever again after initial setup. Chances are you won’t even notice the difference.
This will save you money because you will most likely adjust to the perceived decrease in your funds. I believe that people adapt subconsciously to their means, so if you think you’re making less money, you’ll spend less. This might not be true for everyone, but it’s true for me and several others. You’ll also free up a little bit of time because your savings will grow with no effort at all. Any of that time you otherwise would have spent using an envelope system, or tracking your spending is freed up, letting you enjoy the rest of your life.
What did you think of these tips? Did you learn anything new at all? Will you be trying any of these tips or are some of them just not for you? Let me know in the comments below & thanks for reading!