Time and Money

by Nancy Hernandez

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There are two things that women always tend to need more of: money and time. It amazes me, however, how differently many women budget the two. In organizing my life, I have found that the way to organize my time to the full effectiveness is to treat it like I would money.

Money - Track your spending

Time - The only way to know where your time is going is to really evaluate what you are doing with it. Many experts say to keep a log. In my opinion, a log is too time-consuming and not very realistic for the woman who is looking for more time! But an honest evaluation is always in order.

Money - Create a spending budget

Time - This is where you would determine the essential things that must get done at a certain time every day or every week. You have to take a shower every day; when are you going to allow for that time? You have to do laundry; when is the best time to get that done?

Money - Start a savings account

Time - When translated to time, a savings account is doing things ahead of time, so that you have a safety net. It could mean putting dinner in the crock pot before work. It could mean sewing on a button when you find it loose, instead of ten minutes before that important meeting.

Money - Invest

Time - Investing time is much like saving time, but think of it more in the long term. Teaching a three-year-old to clean up after herself might mean sacrificing now, but you will benefit from the time spent when your teenager doesn't leave her hair care products all over the bathroom!

Money - Avoid late charges

Time - Letting the wet clothes sit in the washer may save time while your trying to get dinner on the table, but if left too long, you have to repeat the wash. Waiting until the last minute to research the presentation might mean that you have to spend your children's bedtime routine time to get it done.

Money - Have an emergency fund

Time - With money, an emergency fund is where you hold money for a broken refrigerator, or an airplane ticket to visit a dying parent. With time, you are allowing for the same type of emergencies. You spend a little time every day keeping things taken care of, so that you can run at the drop of a hat. Imagine trying to leave to see your Mother who is ill, only to find that you literally have nothing clean to wear, there's no gas in the car, and the house is a mess. Sure, you'll find a way to get there anyway, but how much easier would it be to have these things done?

Money - Make every penny count

Time - Make every minute count. Whether on work, special time with family, or just plain fun, make your time count. Don't sit around wondering where last week went. Live every moment to the fullest, and you'll never have to wonder.

Money - Use coupons

Time - Coupons are time-savers. Time how long it normally takes you to vacuum the living room. Now set the timer for a few minutes less each time you vacuum, and see how much time you can save. As with coupons, it will be only a small amount. But if you re-invest that small amount of time into something else, you will begin to see results. For example, if you save three minutes on the vacuuming and two minutes on unloading the dishwasher, that is five minutes of cleaning out your junk drawer. If you focus on this one drawer with every few saved minutes, the drawer will get done with saved time!

Money - Be willing to make sacrifices in one area to help another

Time - This is true with anything in your life. You can only extend yourself so far. What sacrifices are you willing to make to add richness to another area of your life? I have reduced TV to almost none, because I spend one and a half hours on bedtime routines for my three children. In order to give them each thirty minutes of undivided attention, I had to give up something else. If you know your priorities, giving up the lowest priorities comes easily.

Whether you are trying to save time or money, the saying goes that a penny saved is a penny earned. This is always true with money, but it applies to time as well. When you save a minute, reinvest that minute into something that enriches your life. Whether you clean out a drawer or read a book to your toddler, you've earned your minute. Spend it wisely.

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