Time management Monday: How your planner can help you save money

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Your planner is a powerful tool to help you save money. It’s more than mere planning ahead: it’s strategizing for efficiency and making thoughtful choices in how you spend your time and money. Here are some ways I save money with my planner:

Save money with meals:  One of the most obvious ways to save money is by meal planning. Meal planning requires some discipline, but it can make a huge difference in how much money you spend on food. The basics are: plan ahead for when you will have time to do your grocery shopping and prepare meals so you can eat out less (or if you are working really hard to save, not at all). Plan which meals you will make so you only buy the ingredients you need, which minimizes food (and therefore money) waste. Bring your lunch, and plan to cook on evenings when you have time so you have leftovers on evenings when you don’t have time to cook. I wrote a detailed post on meal planning here.

Save money on transportation: Minimize the amount of money you spend on transportation by planning ahead. Batch your errands and get them done all at once so that you don’t have to make multiple trips throughout the week. Better yet, do errands on the way to or from someplace you are going anyway, like on the way to/ from work. If you take public transportation, check if the rates are lower at different times and plan your trips accordingly. Similarly, if you drive, see if parking prices are lower at different times. Don’t wait until your gas tank is on empty and you have to fill up wherever’s nearest; plan ahead so you can top up at a station where the gas is cheaper.

Save money on events: By looking ahead in your planner and thinking about what is coming up later, you can save money on things you need to buy for events. If you need to buy clothes, shoes or supplies for an event, give yourself extra time to shop for bargains. Better yet, if you know far in advance when an event is happening, you could shop during the off season when prices are much lower. If you have the storage space, buy holiday decorations and cards immediately after the holiday has passed when they are hugely discounted.

What are some ways your planner helps you save money? Please post a comment!

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