This is going to be short and sweet today, I generally have Monday’s off but I have to go into work today so I’m a little short on time.
Mornings are an odd time of the day. They are either really inexpensive or they cost a ton. Here are some habits that we have been practicing to help us cut the cost of our morning routines.
- Eat at home. Even if you just pack a breakfast to go, you will save a ton. I get breakfast from a drive-thru on mornings I have to work particularly early as a pick-me-up and it’s generally around $7 for a meal. That’s not a lot, but if I were to do that each day that I work it’s an additional $35 a week. I can get a loaf of bread, a bunch of bananas, a carton of eggs, a box of clif bars, milk, and a box of cereal for under $25 and have a variety of healthier options for breakfasts and mid-morning snacks. Even doing that and treating myself once a week I would still come in under $35 and would have more breakfast foods at the house than I could consume in a week.
My husband and I had a long-standing tradition that was born the week we were married that we would make breakfast together on the weekend. Once our income grew we left that behind to eat breakfast out as a treat. Now that we are trying to cut back we are reinstating that tradition. This past weekend we had coffee and sweet potato pancakes. It was delicious! We stayed in, talked and laughed, and enjoyed a slow morning in our pjs. We used a box mix that I had purchased a couple of weeks ago and I even got the dishwasher loaded and set to run between flipping them. We saved money on gas, on purchasing food from a restaurant, and lowered the stress of the day by just having a slow morning at home.
- Coffee. I love coffee. I have at least a cup or two a day. It’s easy to justify the need for caffeine during a busy work week but is it just as easy to justify the cost? Last week $30 of my $100 cash budget went to Starbucks, and I used up the last of Christmas gift cards and I used one of my free coffee rewards. Yikes. I have a Keurig at home and several boxes of k-cups. I have travel mugs and I even have paper cups with wraps to keep you from burning your hand. I just need to start using it all regularly. I have always made coffee to take to work once or twice in a week and the rest of the time I just bought it. This week I only have $4 left on my Starbucks card, so I’m challenging myself to satiate my caffeine needs at home. One of the things that I purchased with the gift card I received for signing up for card 6 was a set of coffee syrups. I have found over the past year that I love coffee from home when I use a splash of coffee syrup and then top up with milk. I also end up using my milk that way instead of letting it spoil in the fridge.
- Lunch. Obviously if you are going to save some money by packing lunch then that has to start at home and probably in the morning. I find this to be a great way to practice money-saving time management in the mornings so that you don’t feel too over whelmed. Let’s say you are making toast and coffee with a side of fruit for breakfast. When you get in the fridge to get out your milk and butter, also get your lunch meat and cheese. Drop your milk off at the coffee pot and take the rest to the toaster. Pull bread out for toast and your sandwich. Pop your toast in and while it toasts make your sandwich. Then start your coffee and while that is brewing fill up your lunch drinks and pick your sides. Yes, it will probably run making breakfast a couple of minutes longer but it will save several minutes on getting stuff back out that you just had out to make breakfast. Plus, once you are done you can just sit and enjoy your breakfast knowing that your lunch is ready to go.
- Save your PJs. Instead of tossing them in the hamper in the morning, set them aside and wear them again. You will save anywhere from a load of laundry per month to 3 or 4 depending on how many times you re-wear them. Even just once will save you laundry and thus save time, water, soap, and electricity.
- Towels. If you are comfortable re-using your towel once you save all those things again. I understand if you aren’t, just be aware that the option is there. For anyone with longer hair that may use 2 towels to shower, I challenge you to properly hang your hair towel to dry and re-use it. I personally don’t want to re-use my body towel so it goes in the hamper post shower, but I do re-use my hair towel for most of the week. Also, if something spills in the house reach for your “dirty” towels to clean it up. Does your shower door leak in one spot? Re-use your last shower towel to collect the water instead of using a fresh towel. Knock over a glass of water? Reach for a dirty towel to sop it up.
- Kitchen towels. While we are on the subject of towels, I recently found myself reaching over a kitchen towel to grab a paper towel to clean up a spill in the kitchen. What?! As soon as I realized what I was doing I stopped and grabbed the kitchen towel and used it for the mess. That’s what they are there for, and using them in such ways will save you a ton on paper towels. Even a two pack of generic paper towels is around $4! Plus they are small enough that you can put a small hamper in your pantry or laundry room and just toss them in with a regular load of towels or whites.
Well, I’m off to finish getting ready for work, but I hope that you have found at least one way to help you save either time or money in the mornings. Tips? Feel free to share them below!
As Always, I’ll see you tomorrow.