Over the last few months, I noticed that on an average day, I spend somewhere around forty minutes engaged in some sort of activity intended to cut costs. I hang clothes out on the line to dry, clip coupons, and so forth, and at the end of the month I see the results of that effort when I add up my assets and calculate my net worth. That time spent day in and day out really does save money.
However, many people blow off the concept of frugality because it’s “time consuming.” I argue that all it takes is fifteen minutes a day to start seeing some serious benefits from frugality – big enough benefits that they start making a real impact on your monthly budget.
What can I possibly do in fifteen minutes that would save money? Here are twenty simple money-saving tasks anyone can do in fifteen minutes that can save you money – and it really adds up over time.
1. Clip coupons from the Sunday newspaper or trawl the internet for more
2. Write a grocery list (and stick to it when you shop)
3. Check the air pressure in all of your car tires and fill appropriately
4. Hang clothes up to dry instead of using the dryer
5. Go through the house and turn off all electrical devices you’re not using
6. Make your own meal instead of buying take-out or eating out
7. Do routine maintenance tasks around your home (change the furnace filter, etc.)
8. Make your own laundry detergent
9. Replace light bulbs with CFLs
10. Install a programmable thermostat
11. Plant and maintain a small vegetable garden
12. Sell off clutter that you don’t need and don’t use any more
13. Read through your community calendar for activities of interest
14. Drive at 65 or under, even on the interstate
15. Basic hygiene and health: wash your hands, drink lots of water, etc.
16. Prepare a meal (or a few meals) to stick in the freezer for easy cooking later
17. Take care of small financial tasks that you’ve been putting off (protesting fees, requesting a lower rate on your credit card, switching checking accounts, setting up a 401(k), setting up a Roth IRA, etc.)
18. Clean your car’s air filter
19. Learn how to sew and mend things like buttons, extending the life of clothing
20. Attend a garage sale instead of flying off to the mall
Here’s the challenge: for the next thirty days, spend fifteen minutes each day doing the things on this list and see how your money is doing at the end of the month. If nothing else, you’ll find yourself with more spending money – if you’re really swift, though, you’ll find better things to do with your newfound cash.