Time is the only currency in life that truly matters. Think about it. Many people work 40+ hours a week, have babies, try to buy the house with the white picket fence, and do all of this for 40-50 years. Then, when the end of their life is nearing, they start regretting life choices and wishing they had more time to do what they truly love and want to do. When you think about it, your every day question shouldn’t be, “How can I get that thing?” But it should instead be, “What will save me time?”
8 Investments That Save Me Time (Over 20 Hours a Week!)
This post has been written by our staff writer, Kimberly Studdard.
I’m sorry, but I refuse to live my life for senseless things…things that eventually whither up, rust away, or eventually become forgotten.
Money and “things” can be renewed, but time can’t be. So I choose to live my life a little differently. Because of that, I have found ways to save me time so I can then do the things that I really want to do. Here are the 8 investments that save me time.
1) Grocery Shopping Online
I hate grocery shopping.
As much as I love getting fresh produce and vegan treats from my local stores, I hate actually going to said stores. I live in a highly populated area where stores are always busy. And, because I love shopping at four different stores (I’m difficult, okay?) it takes me forever to finish my shopping.
If I’m alone, I can get it done in about 2 hours. But when I have my child or husband with me it can turn into 4 hours easily. And I just don’t want to spend my time-fighting traffic and dealing with crowded aisles. So, I started grocery shopping online. Why? Because it saves me time of course!!
I personally use:
…since the two of them have the stores I shop at (Costco, Aldi, Sprouts, and my local Asian market).
I pay for the premium service of Instacart which is $10 a month, and it’s been worth every penny. When I first started, I thought using an online service would increase my grocery bill, due to taxes, tips, and delivery fees, but I’ve actually been under budget every single week since February. So the $10 a month is totally worth it for me to save at least 8 hours a month.
2) Automated Pet Tasks
My family and I live in a second story apartment, and with a dog, that means finding time to let him out 2-3x a day. While I don’t mind taking him for walks, he’s a stubborn old dog that makes me drag him to go anywhere. This means that our walks are typically 20-25 minutes longer than they have to be.
So, I bought him a reusable pee pad for our balcony, and let him out on that a few times a day. He gets to take his time and do his business, and I just let him in and pick up any solids he left behind.
Time on my part?
…30 seconds to open the door… 😉
I also have automated pet food bowls and water bowls for my pets (we have one dog and two cats). The water refills and filters itself, and the food bowls hold food for the week, dispensing the correct amount every morning and night.
This has saved around 15 minutes a day for me, or about an hour and a half for the week.
3) Meal Prep + Convenience Meals
I work and take care of my preschooler, so I don’t have a lot of time during the week to spend in the kitchen.
Cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner used to take me around 5 hours or more a week. So instead, I take about an hour and a half to prep meals and foods that will get my family through the week.
I don’t like meal prepping all of my meals, because we all get bored easily and have a wide array of taste buds. For example, we are obsessed with Thai, Cuban, and soul food. That’s hard to prep in less than two hours.
So instead, I prep what I know what we eat on a regular basis…
- baked tofu,
- greens and spinach, and
- fresh fruit are prepared almost every single week.
We then add these ingredients when preparing meals to cut down on time (and dishes).
Something else I do is keep some easy convenience meals on hand. We have prepared brown rice, frozen mashed cauliflower, and prepared lentils in our cupboards and freezer. If I’m ever running low on time or don’t want to cook, I know I can use these ingredients to make a meal in minutes.
I don’t know about you, but I love reading. And while nothing beats a good book in my hands, audiobooks are a great alternative. I have a goal to read around 100 books a year, and audiobooks make that goal a lot easier to obtain.
I’ll listen while…
- working out,
- meal prepping,
- working, and more.
I can easily “read” 2 or more books a week by listening to audiobooks.
This is one of those investments that save me time but also increases my happiness and enjoyment. Of course, if you aren’t the biggest fan of books, listening to audiobooks won’t make a difference. But for me, I get to listen to just about anything and still walk away with some knowledge.
5) Automated Bill Pay
I only recommend this if you know you’ll have money in your account to pay each bill through auto-pay and if your bills don’t fluctuate very often. But for me, automated bill pay is one of the best investments that save me time.
Because I run a business as well as have personal bills to pay, I could easily spend hours trying to pay them all. Instead, I have every single one (besides my light bill) on autopay. That way, I don’t have to constantly check to see if anything was or wasn’t paid.
I also set up email notifications in case my card expires before I have the time to switch it. This ensures that I’m not penalized or hit with a late fee just because my card wasn’t working.
I get a lot of emails. From clients, to potential clients, to personal emails, I have to sort through at least 100 a day. And, because I am a Type-A person, I’m easily bothered when I can’t hit inbox zero. So, to save me time and frustration, I set up two different systems to help me manage my inbox.
The first is Boomerang, which helps me draft and schedule emails without sending emails late at night. It also allows me to “boomerang” an email back to me if I haven’t gotten a response, or if I want to remember something that I needed to do in the future.
The second app is Shift, which I use to organize all of my emails from multiple inboxes, apps on my computer, and easily book calls or appointments.
These two apps have saved me at least 30 minutes every day sifting through my inboxes. Now, this may not apply to you if you don’t receive a lot of emails, but these apps have been essential and are two of the best investments that save me time in my professional life. I highly recommend them if you need help with emails.
7) Deep Cleaning
Once a month, I have a cleaning lady come in and give my apartment a deep scrub. When I first started doing this, I felt guilty. If I stayed at home all day, why couldn’t I deep clean? Why would I pay $100 a month for someone else to do it?
Then I realized that I work hard…
- I run two businesses,
- help my husband with his business, and
- I also homeschool my daughter…
As much as I’d love to clean the windowsills and scrub the walls, I just don’t want to spend hours doing it. I’d rather spend $100, employ someone else who knows what they’re doing and get 4 hours back in my weekend once a month.
Plus, my cleaning crew is a working mom, so I am contributing to her business and helping her make a living for her family.
And I don’t care if people don’t like that I spend $100 for cleaning, I feel happy knowing I’m supporting a local and small business! And of course, I still clean my house on a regular basis. I just don’t do all of the time consuming and icky tasks like cleaning the oven or scrubbing the windowsills.
It’s a win-win for everyone.
Speaking of cleaning, I hate doing laundry. I don’t mind washing and drying, but folding? Ha! Forget it!
So instead, I barter with a friend. She does my laundry, and I watch her kid one day a week. It’s a simple trade-off, and it means our kids (both only children) have someone to play with once a week.
In fact, my friend loved the barter so much that she started doing laundry for other people. While most of these people pay her (she charges for laundry by the pound), she says it’s nice to have a few people to barter with when she just needs to work or get out of the house and spend some time alone.
Investments That Save Me Time: Which Will You Choose?
Overall, these investments save me time and a lot of it. And, they’re proof that you can outsource and get time back into your day without spending a fortune.
I spend less than $200 a month on these investments, but I’ve gained so much more.
- That time that I can get back can be spent with family,
- money generating activities in my business, or even
- just getting some “me” time in.
And you know what? They all are totally worth it!
Are you ready to make investments to save yourself some time? What option will you choose?
AUTHOR Kimberly Studdard
Kim Studdard is a strategy consultant, product launch expert, and mastermind behind the www.theentrepremomer.com. When she isn't spending time with her daughter and husband, or crying over This Is Us, you'll find her teaching other mompreneurs how to scale their business without scaling their workload.