Morning Madness

Related Articles

Fast and Nutritious Breakfast Ideas

And, They're Off!

We recently became a one-income family when I got laid off from the company where we both have been working for several years. I am now learning how to be valuable as the stay-at-home partner. My husband asked me this morning to be more supportive getting him to work on time in the morning, something that has been a trial for both of us all our lives, even before we met each other or started 10-to-6 jobs. I need ideas to help him, which led me to your newsletter. Do any of your readers have suggestions?
Economizing in Oakland

Years of Experience

I have found one of the best things I could do to be on time in the morning is to have as much done the night before as I could. Things like:

  1. Having a couple of nutritious, quick, breakfast items on hand and ready to go (grits, oatmeal, cream of rice & wheat are all great in the microwave)
  2. Having lunch prepared and ready to be packed in my lunchbox which will also save big time on $$$. I purchase the "blue ice" packets and put them in my lunchbox to keep everything nice and cold until lunchtime.
  3. Having clothes and shoes ready for the next day (I found having 2 possible outfits worked well in case my mood changed, or there was something wrong with a shirt or pants)
  4. Gathering all the things that were to be taken to work (briefcase, papers, keys, etc.)
  5. Having my workout clothes and shoes all ready to go in a bag

Also, I took note of my habits and how I felt in the morning to see what I could change or modify. I knew I stretched in the morning, and had a habit of going back to sleep for 15 - 20 minutes. So, I set my alarm earlier to help with that. I also put my alarm clock on the other side of the room so I had to get up to turn it off. When I realized I was always so sleepy, I tried to figure out the reason (not enough hours of sleep, not really resting due to stress or not being comfortable, bad diet, etc). Once I realized the reasons I wasn't resting comfortably, I took steps to cure that as well. That led me to being more alert in the morning and as a result, I got ready and out the door faster.

My morning schedule went under the microscope as well. I rearranged the order that I did some things and saved quite a bit of time. If traffic is a problem, look at when it's a little better and see about changing your work schedule. I used to start work at 7 a.m., but found that a lot of other folks did too and traffic was a bear. I changed my start time to 7:15, but still woke up in the morning at the same time. In just those few minutes, I found myself in the middle of traffic "waves" in the morning and got to work faster (saved $$$ on gas) and the extra 15 minutes in the morning was a huge blessing.

Teamwork is the Key

I've been a stay-at-home wife and mom for 4 years now. With only one income to live on, getting my husband out the door for work is my most important job each morning. These may seem like no-brainer ideas, but it works for us.

  1. I get out of bed first, no exceptions. He really likes to sleep until the last minute and I'm a morning person so this works for us. When his alarm goes off, I get up. No exceptions.
  2. I make coffee before anything else, so his is ready to take with him. He's learned to add just the right amount of chocolate syrup, creamer, etc., so there's no more money spent on expensive mochas at the drive through.
  3. My 4-year-old gets breakfast next so she's not bothering us while he's getting ready
  4. I make my husband's lunch almost simultaneously with her breakfast. He gets a sandwich, chips, home canned fruit and store-brand soda (cheaper than PEPSI!)
  5. If I haven't heard the shower before now I go check on him, or better yet, I send my daughter in to see if he's up. Nothing like a 4-year-old's endless chatter to get you moving!
  6. Finally, and most importantly, I am at the door when he leaves to remember what he needs: cell phone, lunch, coffee, clipboard, and any stops he needs to make on the way? Car full of gas? Phone calls to return ASAP? etc. He relies on me to be his memory, so I work hard to listen to what he tells me the night before in case it's something he needs to do the next day.

Again these are pretty simple, but it does require teamwork.

Early to Bed, Early to Rise

It took me 45 years to find out that the problem is not "getting up" in time, it's going to bed the night before. It takes more discipline to force yourself to bed at a decent time than it does to start an exercise habit, but both will give you tremendous results. It's still a nightly battle, but the discipline success feeds other areas of my life. Best of luck.


One of the things that helped us simplify things in the morning was setting a Bedtime Routine. Taking care of several things in the evening, before going to bed, can make getting ready in the morning a pleasant experience. Laying out clothing, packing lunches, even setting the breakfast table can save time in the morning. And when things go smoothly, everybody has a better day.

Try for good information on planning routines. Flylady offers help for those who are in C.H.A.O.S. (can't have anybody over syndrome) but even if you aren't in chaos, she can help!
A Flybaby

Share your thoughts about this article with the editor

Stay Connected with TDS

Little Luxuries

to the Dollar Stretcher newsletter and get a copy
of our ebook
Little Luxuries:
130 Ways to Live Better...For Less
for FREE!

Your Email:

View the TDS Privacy Policy.

Debt Book