4 Money-Saving Tricks That Free Up Your Time

Would you drive an extra 20 minutes to save 8 cents per gallon of gas? Or spend an entire Saturday trying to set up your new flat-screen TV? Not every task is worth your precious time, especially when summer, with its late-setting sun and tank top–ready temps, is beckoning. Time, after all, is a currency, just like cash: There’s only so much, so it deserves to be safeguarded. These labor-saving tricks will let you stay on the beach longer—and may even put a little money back in your wallet.

1. Calculate and Delegate

Is it worth it to pay someone to clean your house? To find your personal hourly wage, take your annual income, erase the last three digits, and divide that number by 2. So if you earn $50,000 a year, one hour of your precious time is worth $25. If it costs less to outsource a mundane task that would take you an hour or more, hire someone. A single mom I know paid the teen next door $10 an hour to fold her laundry. Don’t have a willing neighbor? On TaskRabbit.com, you can find and schedule prescreened workers.

American adults who do house work spend an average of 11 hours per week tidying up.

2. Set Staples on Autopilot

Toilet paper, dish soap, diapers: How many times have you squandered valuable leisure time to make a dash for these household items? Stay stocked up with autorenewal services at Soap.com, Amazon, and Diapers.com. As a bonus, you’ll usually save between 5 and 15 percent when you sign up for recurring shipments on these sites.

3. Save on Fuel—and Time

Cruising around town to potentially find cheaper gas? Forget it. The apps Gas Guru and GasBuddy can help you locate the least expensive nearby place to fill up.

A 2014 analysis showed that 65% of states saw lower prices at the pump on weekends.

4. Let an App Balance Your Budget

Reviewing monthly expenses isn’t easy, and most of us would rather spend our spare time with a margarita in hand. Thanks to Level Money, we can. This financial management app creates a free, customized budget for you and shows how much you can safely spend in a day, a week, or a month based on your earnings, bills, and savings.

Farnoosh Torabi, personal finance expert and author of When She Makes More, hosts CNBC’s Follow the Leader and the podcast So Money.


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