Money

5 Ways To Save Both Time AND Money

With working hours increasing and disposable income decreasing (at least for young people), eking out a healthy lifestyle has become one of the great challenges of 21st century living. Well, that and global warming – but one thing at a time, folks.

Here we’ve gathered a few choice tips for improving your margins – both financial and temporal.

Only use cold wash cycles

Have you ever looked at your clothing labels and found yourself struggling to decipher symbols like you’re in The Da Vinci Code? Warm wash, cold wash, thirty degrees – it all gets a bit much when you’re trying to fit twenty essential items into a single load.

Best to skip the labelling altogether and just throw everything in a cold, gentle cycle.

Not only will this save you time and reduce your electricity bill, but cold water preserves fabric and dyes better than warm water, extending the lives of your clothes. And you won’t have to worry about shrinking your woollens, to boot.

Unsubscribe from mailing lists

The reason companies are so eager to sign you up to marketing emails things is that they work; email marketing generates millions of dollars in sales revenue each year. Thankfully, there’s an “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of most marketing emails – clicking it will save you time and temptation.

Swap those crisps for celery

Having a packet of chips handy might be a mainstay of most Australian households, but those bags of salty succour are actually tiny money-pits; even plain potato chips can cost as much as $2 per 100 grams.

Celery, on the other hand, averages out at around 60c per 100 grams when bought as a whole bunch. Chopping it up into snack-size sticks and keeping them in a resealable bag will provide you with a convenient source of crunch, and the sticks can be dressed up with hummus, peanut butter, or whatever topping takes your fancy.

Side benefits of eating celery can include less time feeling bloated, lower chance of weight gain, and improved blood pressure. That means less time and money spent on your health!

Invest in a coffee machine

When you buy a latte at your local café, you’re not just paying for coffee. The wages of the staff, the cost of the furniture, the primacy of the real estate – all these things must be accounted for, which is why you end up paying 3 to 5 dollars for a drink that costs around 35 cents to make. If you’re getting several coffees a week, that’s a lot of excess to be spending on bean-water.

If you can’t go without your daily brew, I suggest investing in an espresso machine. Quality machines can be had for less than $200, and while that’s a significant upfront expense, the cost difference per cup means that the machine will pay for itself in a matter of months. And depending on how much java you drink, it could save you hundreds by the end of the year.

Does this save you time? It depends on how long it takes you to get to your regular coffee shop – but even if it’s no time at all, you’re at least breaking even. By the time you’ve walked to the counter, ordered, paid, waited for and collected your coffee, you may as well have made it yourself – meanwhile, the cost of your drink has been jacked up a thousand percent.

Plan meals

Going to a supermarket without knowing exactly what you need is a recipe for inefficiency. Not only will you spend excess time contemplating purchases, you’re likely to buy more food in an attempt to cover all your culinary bases. And then, if you were over-optimistic about that super-healthy meal you were definitely going to cook at some unspecified point during the week, a lot of that food is going to go to waste.

The bottom line is, the supermarket is not a good place to make decisions. Instead, make your purchase decisions at home. Using a shopping list is a good start, but knowing exactly what to put on that list is even better. And this is where meal planning comes in.

The idea of planning your meals might be intimidating, but remember, your home isn’t a restaurant; you don’t have to plan out 21 unique gourmet dishes every week. Most of us have the same thing for breakfast every day, and you really only need 2 or 3 options for lunch and dinner that you can rotate to avoid boredom. The trick is to identify staple dishes that you won’t mind having often (bonus points if they’re freezer-friendly).

This way, when you go to make your shopping list, you really just need to include ingredients for 5 or 6 meals, albeit in greater quantities. But whatever you do, don’t shop when you’re hungry!