5 Ways to Budget Your Time … and Your Money

They say that “time is money”. And for good reason, both are generally things we want more of.

But unlike money, if time is lost there isn’t a way (yet…. I’m looking at you Doc Brown) to earn it again. That makes our time extremely valuable and, like money, worth saving.  Luckily, there are some easy ways to budget both.

So, what’s the simplest way to budget time on a particular task? Have someone else do it for you! That applies to doing the dishes, filing TPS reports, and yes, even saving money.

The tips below are five ways to delegate the process of budgeting your money. Embrace them, and you can free up your time to spend those saved hours thinking about how to spend your saved money.

Delegate Saving to… your boss!

In terms of savings, I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve been advised to “pay yourself first”. That saying is a cliché because it works. If you truly want to make saving a priority, then you should be contributing to your savings account before other expenses get in the way.

Luckily, it’s simple and easy to set up a direct deposit from your paycheck to your savings account. In fact, most employers allow you to direct your salary to multiple accounts, meaning you could have your paycheck divided up and sent automatically to your checking, saving, and investment accounts. It’s likely that you divide up your earnings this way already, so why not automate the process?

Invest five minutes of your time to change your direct deposit now, and boom.  You’ve not only saved yourself some money, but you’ve also saved yourself the time you spent transferring that money every two weeks.

Delegate Saving to … your bank!

If you trust your bank to house your money, why not trust it to save your money as well? Several banks have savings programs, but two of the most notable are from Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

BofA’s “Keep the Change” program takes all of your debit card purchases, rounds them up to the nearest dollar, and deposits that amount into your savings account.  Here’s the explanatory chart from their website:

Banf of America keep the change budget

Yes, you are only saving pennies with this program (literally), but they can certainly add up over time.  While perhaps not robust enough to be your primary savings medium, contributing even the smallest amounts will still help you reach your savings goals.

Wells Fargo’s “Way2Save” program operates with basically the same principles in mind.  Way2Save users sign up to have $1 (from cents to dollars, really in the big leagues now) transferred from their checking to their savings account each time they make a debit card purchase or pay a bill online.  

The great thing about both of these programs is that they make saving an everyday habit.  An everyday habit for your bank, that is!  This type of saving requires zero time investment from you.

Delegate Saving to … your phone!

In case you feel more comfortable asking an app to help you save (after all, we use them for everything else), why not have the app Savedplus do the legwork for you?

Like Way2Save, Savedplus automatically transfers an amount (that you choose, of course) to your savings account every time you make a purchase or submit a payment.  But what’s nice about this handy over-the-top application is that it works by linking all of your existing accounts and cards, even if they are with different banks or lenders.  For example, it would transfer money for you from your BofA checking account to a Fidelity savings account.  Pretty helpful if you choose to use different banks for different accounts.

Delegate Saving to … your favorite stores!

Coupon clipping can certainly yield great success, just ask these folks.  But it isn’t necessarily the most efficient process in the world.  Researching great deals takes time, energy, and effort.. three things that (although noble) we are trying to avoid in this particular post.

If deals are what you’re after, sites like Shopittome, Living Social, and Rue La La can be customized to send you discounts specifically on brands or experiences that you request.  Don’t let it tempt you, of course! Buying something on sale is only a good deal if you were already planning to buy it in the first place, after all. But if you’re looking for something specific these sites can be a great resource.

And don’t be afraid to ask the stores you frequent to send you deals as well. I, personally, have trained Banana Republic to send me 40% coupons nearly every twelve hours. Annoying? Yes. But I haven’t paid full price there in years, so I suppose the juice is worth the squeeze.

Delegate Saving to … your 401K!

We all know that increasing your 401K contribution as a great saving technique. But did you know that you can ask your 401K account to increase your contribution for youUsually it is as easy as check marking the box offering to automatically raise your contribution by 1% each year. (Some companies call this the “Annual Increase Election.”)

The process takes less than a couple of minutes, so it’s not a heavy investment in your time.  But it is a heavy investment in your future; you’ll be saving more money for years to come. It’s a perfect way to save time AND money with just one click.

As you can see, integrating saving into your daily routine doesn’t necessarily have to take time out of your day. Your boss, your banks, and even your apps are all willing to spend their time on your savings so that you don’t have to. Why not ask for their help? After all, time is money. Save it! 

Now that you’ve got your savings automated, get a better handle on your spending with the The Complete Guide to Timing Your Spending.

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