Creating habits and routines that save you money
It’s funny that we tend to think of habits as bad things. There is such a thing as a good habit, and they are created the same way. Repetition, until the action becomes an automatic response and does not require conscious thought creates habits..
Routines become habits, and can save or cost you money
If you get into a habit, like say buying a coffee and doughnut every day on the way to work, it is not the one time purchase that impacts your life. It is the automatic response of pulling in and handing over your dough without a second thought. That is one primary goal of marketing and advertising – to make your response to purchase automatic – like Pavlov’s Dogs. Lunchtime = fast food, morning drive =coffee and a bagel, doughnut or breakfast sandwich. These things add up over time, and darn it, they add to your waistline too.
If you desperately need that “in the car fix” get yourself a good travel mug, and a reasonable coffee pot. (I recommend a thrift shop, Craigslist or Freecycle.com — they always seem to have coffeemakers). Buy a bag of bagels and fixins. It’s not really the habit that costs you, but where you buy the goods.
One habit I changed that saves me a bunch of money
I get circulars from the 4 major supermarkets in my area (I am fortunate to be within a mile or two of major chains, who are competing viciously for my dollars.)
My old habit was to take the whole pack of circulars and heave it into my recycling box, immediately upon arrival. My thinking was that I don’t want to read them, and they would just clutter up my apartment.
My new habit is to take the circulars on my weekly Sunday trip to the restaurant parking lot where I meet my Dad for lunch – every Sunday. He’s almost always late coming from church, ( he talks almost as much as me…. but anyway… ) I have a few minutes to a half an hour to wait.
I bring along a marker and I go quickly through each circular, circling each sale item that I already buy regularly. It takes me about 10 minutes. When I am done, I stack the circulars in the order in which I pass them on the way home. After lunch, I drive home and stop at each store, and pick up the items I circled at the store with the best deal on the item. (I stick to the circled items, knowing that the circulars usually have the biggest “loss-leaders” to get me into the store.)
If I am feeling really ambitious that week, before I get in the car to go to lunch, I will check my coupon sites online to see of they have any coupons available that can be combined with the sales on the brands I buy.
The point is, repetition can create a habit that can save you a ton of money. By this little routine, I save gas – not going on a special trip for food shopping, I save the time that I would be wasting sitting in the car waiting at the restaurant, and I know which stores have the items I want before I get there.
Do you have any habits that can be modified, or routines developed that can save you time and money? Take a few minutes during the day, and ask yourself if there is a way to maximize your time and money while going about your daily routine. With a little effort, I am sure you will find minor adjustments that can yield great gains.