With two kids and my own business, I always have about 50 things on my to-do list. It means my mind is always on the next task or errand. To be honest, it’s not a great way to get through life. By not taking time to live in the present, you miss things. And you’re also more prone to accidents — which is what happened to me last Christmas. It was the week before the holidays and I was trying to get a million and one things done. As I quickly pulled in front of the toy store, I was already thinking of the grocery list in my pocket. Which is when I hit a parked car and, in the space of five seconds, created a big fat $2,000 problem. I had been so distracted and stressed by everything on my list that I wasn’t being careful or aware of my surroundings. It cost me big time.
Being in a rush all the time is bad for your psyche – and it’s also really hard on your wallet, whether you’re shelling out money to save time or, like me, paying for accidents and mistakes made while rushing around.
I think we all need to slow down a bit – sure, we might end up getting less done, but it could also help us to spend less money and, as an added benefit, enjoy our lives more. Taking extra time in your week to do even one of these things could just help you start living slow – and saving money:
- Walk or take public transit. Driving or taking a cab is a big time saver – but between gas, fares and parking costs these are huge money wasters. Instead, save the $10 or $20 you would have spent driving and buy yourself 15 or 20 extra minutes to catch the bus or walk to your destination. You will probably enjoy it more.
- Toss your takeout menus. After running around all day, you’re too tired or have too much to do to prepare a meal. So you dial in dinner – it’s easy to do and it’s really expensive. Taking time during the day or at the beginning of the week to plan your meals and make sure you have what you need to prepare them can help you avoid the takeout trap and save money.
- Prepare meals from scratch. Frozen pizzas and canned soups are a quick and easy way to get a meal on the table. Try taking the time to buy fresh ingredients and plan meals that use them. Making your food from scratch will not only cost you less (a frozen pizza can set you back $8!) you’ll also skip the sodium and extra calories that tend to come in prepared food. Involve your family in the food prep and shopping and make it a part of your day you enjoy.
- Stop procrastinating. When work is busy and kids are demanding, it’s the little things that drop to the bottom of the list. Things like that leaky faucet or that tooth that’s been bugging you. They don’t become a priority until they reach a crisis point, like a costly flood or root canal. So take the time to deal with small repairs or minor health concerns before they become a big expensive problem.
- Savour your splurges. I enjoy dining out and shopping, but doing them in a rush takes all the joy out of the experience for me. Instead, take the time to savour your splurges when you make them. Slow down and enjoy every bite of that restaurant meal or take extra time to choose the perfect pair of shoes. You might find yourself hitting shops and restaurants bit less and enjoying your experiences more.
What about you – do you find yourself spending more money when you’re in a hurry? And what do you wish you had more time to do?