If you’re like me, you thrive on to-do lists and a carefully planned schedule.
I find that having a few things each day on my to-do list at the start of the week helps me to keep moving forward on the things I want to achieve.
In that spirit, here’s a list of fourteen things worth taking care of this week that will save you money. I’ve split them up into a pair of tasks per day so each day isn’t overwhelmed with tasks, but by the end of the week you can be really proud of what you’ve accomplished.
Monday – Start of the Work Week
The start of a fresh work week is full of opportunity – but also full of getting back in the routine after a weekend off.
Check up on your benefits. Take a quick peek at your company’s HR website or your employee’s handbook and make sure there aren’t any benefits you might want to sign up for. Most employers have programs of some kind for their employees, but it’s usually up to the active employees to find out about them.
Do some household maintenance. Clean out the dust behind the fridge. Make sure you have a fresh filter in your home heating and cooling system. Clean out the trap on your dishwasher. Every little thing like this that you handle means that your major home appliances will live a little longer.
Tuesday – In the Groove
The week is bumping along and so are you. I find that Tuesdays are often my most productive day.
Examine your retirement savings. Are you in a 401(k) plan or a Roth IRA? If not, now’s the time to sign up. If you are, make sure you’re saving enough by using a retirement calculator and make sure your investments are sensibly balanced.
Go on a long walk. It’s free. It’s a good way to get more familiar with your neighborhood and your neighbors. It’s exercise that will help improve your health. If you turn off your lights before you go, you’ll probably save some money, too.
Wednesday – Hump Day
Halfway between the weekends, Wednesday can feel like the part of the week where the work week will never end.
Review your budget. If you don’t have one, get a budgeting program like You Need a Budget and get started. If you do, go through the line items and make sure they’re actually in line with reality and that the overall budget is moving you toward your goals.
Write a passionate note to your spouse. A healthy marriage is a huge money saver, and doing little things like putting a passionate note in your spouse’s work bag is a great way to keep that marriage healthy and exciting for both of you. A little bit of love makes you both feel better and it also helps keep the divorce lawyers far away.
Thursday – Anticipation
Thursday is often the day where I make plans for the coming weekend: inviting friends over, planning activities, and so on. It’s an exciting day.
Brown bag your lunch. Take a lunch to work today instead of eating out or getting delivery. Use whatever you have on hand – leftovers make a great brown bag, as do sandwiches. If you turn a $10 lunch into a $2 one, that’s money in your pocket.
Plan a potluck dinner. Make a main course for several people, then invite some people over and have them bring side dishes. Thursday is a great day to plan such an event for Saturday evening. If it goes well, maybe this will launch a routine where you’ll all save money by making collective meals.
Friday – The End of the Work Week
The work week’s end is in sight! Make it count by taking care of a few important things!
Check your car’s maintenance schedule. It’s in your owner’s manual. Sticking to a car’s maintenance schedule will do wonders for lowering your repair bill. It’s far better to spend $50 now than $500 later on.
Clean out your closet. Go through your storage spaces and see if there are any items that ought to be listed on Craigslist. Not only will this free up some space in your home, it can put some cash in your pocket.
Saturday – The Day of Fun
Saturday is usually the day that our family fills with fun activities.
Make some meals in advance. If you can spend a couple hours making a quadruple batch of, say, homemade lasagna, not only have you taken care of dinner for the evening, you’ve also got incredibly simple and delicious dinners that can be used throughout the next month or two. Plus, you can then buy the ingredients you need in bulk, saving you some money.
Check out your town’s parks and rec services. Most towns have a parks and recreation service that provides a lot of facilities and activities that many people in the community rarely take advantage of. Look up what they have on offer and see what’s worth doing.
Sunday – The Day of Rest
We usually end the week by taking care of household chores and preparation for the week to come.
Plan meals for the coming week. Pull out your grocery store’s flyer, make a meal plan involving the items on sale at the store, then make a grocery list from that meal plan. You’ll go to the store and your list will not only be loaded with sale items, but it will already have the specific things you need for meals for the week and you’ll get out of the store way faster because you have a list.
Read a book. If you don’t have one on hand to read, now’s the perfect time to visit your local library. Pick up a book on a topic that’s always interested you but you’ve never known much about and dig in. If you got it from the library, the book is essentially free – if you’re sitting in a room with the lights on, it’s free to read, too, since no extra electricity is needed.
Frugality isn’t something you jam into one day. It’s something that pops up again in drips and drops throughout your week.