Friday, October 5, 2012

31 Days:: Time is Money

We've nailed down the basics:  sales, coupons, and menu-planning.  We have a whole lot more to talk about.  But before we move on, I want to remind you that (almost) every suggestion I give you, every idea I have, every tip I share...will take time. 

I don't say that to discourage you.  Because you know what?  Time is money.  Every minute you spend planning your meals or reading through the sale/coupon match-up is worth something.  You might not be making money...but you're saving money.
If you're a stay-at-home mom, you might feel that you can't contribute to the family income.  But if you're finding ways to save money (in the kitchen, or in other areas), it's just as good as making money.  (I can't take credit for that logic...a friend shared that piece of wisdom with me years ago, and it's stuck with me.)  

You've all heard it:  "A penny saved is a penny earned."   But have you thought about it in terms of coupons and grocery receipts?  How about "$30.97 saved is $30.97 earned"?  (Most grocery stores will calculate how much you saved by buying sale items and using coupons, and they'll print it on the top or bottom of your receipt.  Check it out sometime, if you haven't already!)

Now let's get to the heart of the matter:  How much time are you willing to devote to saving money?  Saving money is important, but there are definitely even more important things that we can (and should) be doing.  Reading Scripture, spending time with our kids, helping out a friend...the list goes on.  It's all about finding a balance

That balance is going to look different for everyone.  The amount of time you are willing to spend (or that you can spend) is different from the amount of time that your friend, or your mom, or myself can or will spend.  And that's OK.  We all have different circumstances that dicate how much time we can set aside for tracking down the deals.  No one's life looks the same as anyone else's. 

So, those ideas I'm going to share throughout this series?  I've tried all of them at one time or another.  Just not all at the same time.  If I did every single one of the things I'm going to suggest, I'd probably spend all day, every day, working on money-saving activities. 

If you're new at this, start with the basics.  In all honesty, the first few times you make your grocery list, plan your menu around sale items, figure out what coupons you're going to use, and then make it all happen at the grocery store...well, let's just say that it's not going to be quick.  But you'll get better and faster at it.  You'll figure out a good system, and pretty soon it will be second nature.  When you've got those basics nailed down, start looking for other ways to save money (subtle hint:  there will be some good ideas waiting for you in this series!).  Pick one or two more things to try, and work them into your routine.  Repeat if desired. 

As you follow along with me during these 31 Days, keep in mind that (full disclosure here!) I don't do it all.  I can't.  None of us can.  Unless maybe you're one of those people who doesn't need that thing we call "sleep".  For as many things as I do to save money in the kitchen, there are just as many other things that I could do, and that I know how to do, but that I don't do. 

Not every one of the ideas in this series will be worth the time for every one of you. It's up to you to pick and choose which ones are right for you. 

Remember:  time spent = money saved = money earned.  Do what you can, when you can.  Something is better than nothing.

How much time do you spend on money-saving activities?  Can you put a "dollars-saved-per-hour" amount on the time you spend?

Looking for more reading material?  Check out the previous articles in this series, and come back tomorrow for TWO new articles.

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