Stop Wasting Time with These Money-Saving Habits

by Ashley Eneriz · 8 comments

wasting time saving money
You have probably heard the age-old cliché, “time is money,” a few times in your life. That saying could not be any truer for money-saving habits. There are so many great money-saving tips out there, but not all of them are worth your time. Here are a few serious time-suckers you should avoid.

Clipping Physical Coupons

I used to play the “grocery game” and used to get a lot of food and utilities for free through coupons. The problem was that I was also compulsively looking at deal matching sites, as well as driving to many different stores each week. While I scored a lot of great deals, I also ended up not using the majority of my free shampoo and toothpaste stash.

I have found that digital coupons are much faster, though I will only look up deal matching sites a few times a month, rather than daily. I prefer to save money by shopping Von’s clearance items (today I scored 50% off frozen organic vegetables and petite sirloin steaks just because the store is clearing them out). I also will look at the front page of Slickdeals daily and order any Amazon deal that is at an amazing point and that I know I will use.

Using Budget Apps

Get rid of any money-saving app that takes too long to use daily. It’s not worth the frustration or wasted time. For budgeting to truly work for individuals, it must be simple and a daily habit. For example, you will stay on budget if you can easily look at how much you planned to spend in a certain area, and how much you have already spent in that area. So if I know I have budgeted $350 for groceries for the month, I should be able to look quickly at my phone to see how I am sticking to that particular goal.

Making Your Own

A few years ago, there was a huge boom of money-saving homemaker blogs. These popular blogs seemed to make everything from scratch and the owners boasted a frugal lifestyle. I wanted to be frugal, so I naturally followed in their footsteps. But guess what? It took me almost 30 minutes each to make homemade tortillas and bagels, and I only saved about $1 for both items.

In some cases, making your own food or craft items from scratch just make sense. Calculate the savings versus time spent to see if your DIY project is really worth it. If something saves you $5 but takes you over an hour to do it, is it really worth it? Of course, if you love doing the DIY project, then the time was worth it. Know yourself and do what works for you here.

Over Researching Everything

Don’t get me wrong. Research is valuable and you can save a lot of money with knowledge. However, don’t research something to death or waste time trying to save a few dollars. The other day my husband spent almost 30 minutes looking for a $5 Home Depot coupon code and trying to get posted codes to work. The kids were melting down, and he apologized for being occupied trying to find the coupon. I told him, “You make $5 doing nothing while sitting at work, don’t waste an hour of home time trying to save $5.” If he had found a money-saving coupon code right away, then great. However, since the process was taking much longer than expected, it was better for him to just order the item and spend the rest of his time wisely.

What money-saving habits are you giving up to save time? I would love to hear your personal experiences with the time vs money scenario we all face daily.

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  • jennifer says:

    Stop using budget apps? Are you kidding me? Removing this blog from my favorites now!!!

  • Jonathan Dyer says:

    On the whole I agree about clipping coupons but I do think that sometimes a quick scan of those weekly circulars that come in your mailbox can be worth it. While I don’t eat much fast food I do find that those coupons can be great for road trips.

    As far as finance apps, I tend to prefer ones that do more than budgeting and that you can “set and forget” — to steal a phrase from Mr. Popeil — like Acorns.

    • David @ says:

      You are right – it often pays to just make a quick scan of the coupon flyers. Where the balance point lies depend on how much time it takes and how much you end up saving.

      Like we always say, do what works for you!

  • Ashli says:

    In regards to paper coupons, I do use them, but very sparingly. I used to spend hours cutting coupons, organizing them etc. Now, I just quickly skim over the brochure I get weekly in the mail and tear out the ones that I know I’ll use. In regards to apps, I always use Ibotta, but that’s the only one – I find it’s definitely worth the time!

  • Xyz says:

    I know, budget apps can get out of control! I prefer just checking up on my finances at the end of each month and consider each purchase I make

    • David @ says:

      You are extremely diligent by thinking about every purchase. I’m sure you have a great handle on your expenses by now!

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