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Budgeting time and money — a finite resource

Both time and money are finite. Our lives are constantly changing. This means our lifestyle and our priorities are always changing, too. This means that how we approach budgeting time and money changes with it!

3 levels of financial budgets

  1. Everyone has their normal “Go-To” budget… you know, the one you learned about in finance class. It usually dictates you have 3-6 months of savings, shelter, food, and so on.
  2. But what about if one of the primary income earners in your household quits (or loses) their job? You can do things like having more meals at home, limiting your extra spending or free activities, such as being outside with friends. This is the “tightening up” budget. It’s manageable, but makes you look closely at every dollar leaving the bank account.
  3. Then, there’s the “code red” emergency button budget… if you both are out of work, there’s a leak in the ceiling and suddenly the air conditioner stops working…

These are the things we need to consider in major life changes, but the same thing applies with time!

3 levels of time budgets

  1. For example, let’s say I have X amount of time scheduled for work, going to the gym and spending time with my spouse. It’s just the two of us.
  2. What if we adopt a new puppy we need to take care of? Don’t be fooled, this is a big adjustment!
  3. And even more… a newborn baby? Uh oh — seems we have entered a time vacuum and won’t be seeing much of our friends or family for a few months. Now we really need to consider “Time Management Plan C.” Originally, I spent 60% of my time working during the week and 40% doing other things. I had plenty of time to get in workouts I need, get the meals I need to get in and selfishly focus on myself. Now that we are adding another mouth to the table (plus a puppy) our priorities change and time and money management changes with it.

Tips for budgeting time and money during life changes

So, here are a few tips to help you adjust that I’ve found helpful in my own life. Remember that both time and money are finite, as much as we’d like them not to be!

  1. Prioritize your time and money. Know what’s a priority… and what can wait. Split up your time and money into things that need to be taken care of immediately, those that can get done during the week, and then long-term priorities.
  2. Think ahead and be proactive. Look for ways to delete steps from a task. Or, something as simple as cutting the amount of time you spend getting ready during the day. Get your gym bag together the night before or put your running gear next to the bed. You’d be amazed at how these little things add up to a lot of time saved.
  3. Start a family calendar. Have a family calendar up to keep track of everything from appointments, gym time, baby duties, to debt payoff goals. Some people get an erasable white board and hang it in the kitchen to post lists and reminders, others prefer to do this digitally. There are many tools online that can help with this – try Google Docs or Microsoft Office.
  4. Use the Internet. Apps are simply AMAZING. We order groceries, pay bills, buy birthday gifts and so much more from our tiny phones. This can save both time AND money!

Time is Money, as they say — and we only have so much of each. Determining the best way to use those limited resources is wholly in your control. Regardless of where you are on your life’s journey, remember a financial advisor can help!

March 2019


Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

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