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There are lots of ways to use money to save time throughout the day. Check out the best ways to buy back your time for some helpful ideas.
There’s not enough time in the day. Many of us have felt that way at one point or another. When you have work, errands to run, and a family to take care of, it can start to feel like you have no time left for yourself.
If you’re in this situation, and you’re doing well with your finances, one of the best things you can do for yourself is finding ways to buy back your time. You could free up hours every week to use however you want, whether that’s starting a new hobby, working on a business, or getting some well-earned rest and relaxation. Here are a few options to consider.
1. Get groceries or meals delivered
Grocery shopping usually takes at least an hour or two per week, and more if you go to the store multiple times. To save yourself a trip to the store, try a grocery delivery service, such as Instacart or Amazon Fresh. They’re easy to use — just add the items you want and choose a delivery time slot.
If you want to save time on shopping for ingredients and cooking, look into meal delivery services. There are lots of companies, including Home Chef, Blue Apron, and Gobble, that offer regular meal kit deliveries.
Some of these meal kits still involve a bit of cooking, but all the ingredients are prepared for you. Others you can just pop in the oven and heat up. And there are always food delivery apps, if you want to swap out a couple of dinners each week with deliveries from a local restaurant.
2. Hire help for house cleaning, laundry, and other chores
Doing chores around the house can eat up a lot of your free time. Depending on the size of your home, cleaning can easily be a two-to-three-hour job, or more. Professional house cleaning for a two-bedroom home costs an average of $100 to $180, according to Angi.
Laundry is another one of those chores that everyone has to do and very few enjoy doing. Instead of spending an hour or more every week on this, look for wash-and-fold services in your area. They’re not that expensive — the average cost is $1.50 to $3.00 per pound of laundry. For less than $20 or $30, you could have all your clothes washed and folded for you, without lifting a finger.
Think about other regular chores that you could outsource, too. For example, if you have a house, you could hire a landscaper to take care of your yard for you.
3. Set up an at-home gym
Going to the gym takes up a lot of time, and not all of it is spent pumping iron. If it takes you 20 to 30 minutes each way to drive to your gym, that’s 40 minutes to an hour per day. If you go four or five days per week, that could be five hours you spend sitting in your car driving there and back.
That’s why an at-home gym could make a huge difference in how much free time you have. You won’t have all the equipment of a commercial gym, but you can buy what you need and add to it as you go.
HomeAdvisor reports that the average home gym costs about $2,000. They generally range from as low as $300 to as high as $15,000, so there’s something to fit almost every budget. Remember that in addition to saving time, you’re also saving on monthly gym dues and gas costs.
4. Book flights with the fewest connections
Flight connections usually add at least an hour to your trip, and it’s often much more than that. More flights to take also increases the likelihood of problems occurring, such as a delay or a cancellation.
It’s well worth booking direct flights when possible. If there isn’t a direct flight, go with the one that has the fewest connections. You’ll spend a little more, but you’ll arrive earlier and you won’t be as worn out from traveling. If you’re trying to keep your flight costs down, look into travel credit cards so you can fly direct and pay with points.
5. Hire an accountant to file your taxes
If filing your taxes doesn’t take too long, you may not need an accountant. But if you’re spending the entire weekend plugging numbers into a tax software, it’s probably better to just hire a professional.
This is especially true if you’re self-employed or have a small business, both of which can make tax filing much more complicated. You may come out ahead financially — a good tax accountant could find deductions that you would have missed. You’ll also have the peace of mind that comes with knowing your taxes are mistake-free.
If you have a to-do list a mile long, you could be taking on too much. Pick out a few tasks you wouldn’t mind outsourcing, and see how you like having them off your plate. You’ll probably enjoy having more time available, and if so, you can continue buying back your time instead of feeling as if you need to do everything.
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