Time is money
How much money is your time worth? Sometimes I feel that since I am a stay-at-home mother that I have a lot of time (when compared to my friends who are working moms) and that therefor my time is pretty cheap. Meaning, I can do things that take more time to save money. We are not going to calculate how much my hourly wage could be, but it is important to consider how we each use our time.
I do not like to put things off until the last minute and it makes me uneasy when my family members do. As they have grown I have tried to instill the “plan ahead” idea with them and had them learn from real world consequenses what happens when they do not. This is particularly true now that 2 in college and have numerous deadlines.
One method of saving money is planning ahead, so that you are not forced into purchasing something at a premuim price. There are numerous examples, but let’s consider Christmas gifts as an example.
We have a rather small extended family, but do give gifts to our parents, brothers and their families. All live out of state, so the gifts must be mailed. Worst case scenarouo would be waiting until the week before Christmas, rushing to the mall, buying expensive gifts and paying for express shipping.$$$$
A better scenerio would be to make a list of potential gifts, or current intersts and likes in the fall. When shopping, be on the lookout for appropriate gifts. Consider making something. When I find a great deal or just the right gift, purchase it. In early December, evaluate the list and finish purchases. Wrap and mail gifts by 12/10, using parcel post which is significantly less expensive. And the stress level is much lower, because I have done this shopping gradually and with a lot of thought. Plus the gifts are out of the house before the Christmas rush begins here.
In this case, I saved some money and actually purchased gifts that I think our family really liked. The satifisaction level for me is quite high, because I have not felt much stress and have enjoyed this gift giving process. Hopefully they liked the gifts too.
This same principal can be applied to school supplies and personal hygene needs. Having a supply of items that my family regularly uses helps greatly reduce the stress level. And usually I have purchased these items at a reduced price, saving me money. I also try to shop ahead for clothing needs. There are certain types of clothes that we need each year, and we try to pick them up at the end of the season or at thrift stores.
Planning ahead is a way to save money in the kitchen too. By having a weekly menu I know what items I need to use each day. If I am making chili on Wed. I know I need to put the kidney beans to soak Tuesday night. Using dry beans is cheaper than using canned beans. Grinding wheat berries for using whole wheat for baking. It takes some time to do, although it is not terribly difficult.
Generally, I just do not like to have to do things at the last minute, so planning ahead just makes me feel more in control, much less stressed, and hopefully saved some money too.